Jump to content

Making images 'pop' in flat light


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

I spent several days shooting in York recently, very picturesque city. But weather was pretty much overcast the whole time, so very flat light, not much contrast in the images, shadows and highligthts subdued. Basically very flat. Thinking of trying to make up a Lightroom preset for once and apply it to all images.

 

Anyway, struggling to make the images look decent, had anyone got any tips? A bias towards Lightroom would help.

 

Currently trying reducing the overall exposure and highlights, then upping the whites. Has produced more contrast...

 

Thanks in advance,

Steve

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not in LR but in PS I have an action which sometimes helps to add contrast and "depth":

1. Duplicate the image to a new layer.

2. Apply to the new layer: Filters -> Sharpness -> Unsharp Mask at Amopunt: 12, Radius: 66.0, Threshold: 0.

3. Create a layer mask.

This is the end of action, and now you can filter your adjusted layer to the background via the layer mask as desired.

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Here's an example:

 

Raw file

Screenshot-2024-05-05-170313.png

 

Edited

Screenshot-2024-05-05-170537.png

 

I'm probably ok with a slightly painterly look or something a bit different as I'm competing against sunlit images. I took the blue out of the sky, such as there was, reducing the number of colours.

Edited by Steve F
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Replace the sky with a blue sky with some white clouds? Select foreground, shift the colour balance to suit sky, boost contrast, use clarity (or USM with large radius) and possibly a little dehaze. End result may not look totally natural, but might be more saleable?

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Steve, I agree with Mark about Sky Replacement in Ps Edit. The last change I do in PhotoShop is open Adjustments in Image and play around with Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation.

 

Have you been to Chester, another Roman walled city? It's smaller and easier to walk around and has some great subjects. 

  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know this doesn't answer your question, but if I take a photo of a well-known place that can't compete for brightness with similar images already on Alamy, it just stays on my computer. Unless it has some unique feature, obviously.

 

Alan

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder why you didn't adjust the Blacks to the left. I usually start with the Blacks and Whites taking them to the limit without clipping. I'd do Clarity more than you have and and use Vibrance. A tiny bit of Dehaze could help.

 

Paulette

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg said:
my quickish attempt;
brighter, more contrast, more saturation;
I don't change skies but I do increase existing blue...
(yellow marker interfered)
StevieF.jpg

Thanks Jeff!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, NYCat said:

I wonder why you didn't adjust the Blacks to the left. I usually start with the Blacks and Whites taking them to the limit without clipping. I'd do Clarity more than you have and and use Vibrance. A tiny bit of Dehaze could help.

 

Paulette

Thanks Paulette. Looked too contrasty with blacks to the left, but I'm trying from scratch again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Inchiquin said:

I know this doesn't answer your question, but if I take a photo of a well-known place that can't compete for brightness with similar images already on Alamy, it just stays on my computer. Unless it has some unique feature, obviously.

 

Alan

 

 

Well... I largely agree, it's hard to make an image 3D with overcast lighting. But I have licensed images with no sun and flat light... By 'terrible lighting', I'm normally referring to a backlit subject that is not intended to be backlit, or the main subject in shadow, background in sunlight.

Edited by Steve F
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a preset with quite a bit of clarity, some vibrance and even less saturation. Something like 50-30-15. But I find you can usually turn up the clarity quite high.

4 hours ago, Inchiquin said:

I know this doesn't answer your question, but if I take a photo of a well-known place that can't compete for brightness with similar images already on Alamy, it just stays on my computer. Unless it has some unique feature, obviously.

 

Alan

 

I think it's worth having a dog in the fight if you have a reasonable ranking. Ordinary images do sometimes license.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 05/05/2024 at 20:08, Ed Rooney said:

 

Steve, I agree with Mark about Sky Replacement in Ps Edit. The last change I do in PhotoShop is open Adjustments in Image and play around with Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation.

 

Have you been to Chester, another Roman walled city? It's smaller and easier to walk around and has some great subjects. 

My local city, lovely place 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 06/05/2024 at 09:39, Inchiquin said:

I know this doesn't answer your question, but if I take a photo of a well-known place that can't compete for brightness with similar images already on Alamy, it just stays on my computer. Unless it has some unique feature, obviously.

 

Alan

 

The only thing is your poor image may pop up on page one, where as the image in better lighting with the blue sky may come on page 10, I tend to just take a chance with the best I can get.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 05/05/2024 at 16:49, Steve F said:

Hi everyone,

I spent several days shooting in York recently, very picturesque city. But weather was pretty much overcast the whole time, so very flat light, not much contrast in the images, shadows and highligthts subdued. Basically very flat. Thinking of trying to make up a Lightroom preset for once and apply it to all images.

 

Anyway, struggling to make the images look decent, had anyone got any tips? A bias towards Lightroom would help.

 

Currently trying reducing the overall exposure and highlights, then upping the whites. Has produced more contrast...

 

Thanks in advance,

Steve

 

 

Steve, Have you tried Luminar. It does work well in these situations. You can use it on a trial basis ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 05/05/2024 at 18:31, Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg said:
my quickish attempt;
brighter, more contrast, more saturation;
I don't change skies but I do increase existing blue...
(yellow marker interfered)
StevieF.jpg

 

The blues in the sky may deepen a little if you use a sky mask ... (?) Nice picture btw. 

Edited by BidC
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 13/05/2024 at 20:40, BidC said:

 

Steve, Have you tried Luminar. It does work well in these situations. You can use it on a trial basis ...

 

Hi Bridget. I already subscribe to the Adobe package, and with times being lean, not looking to get more software. But thanks for the tip.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 05/05/2024 at 20:08, Ed Rooney said:

Have you been to Chester, another Roman walled city? It's smaller and easier to walk around and has some great subjects. 

 

Ed, not yet, but I'll add it to my list. Also miles away friom Basingstoke, was a trek to get up to York!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Steve F said:

 

Hi Bridget. I already subscribe to the Adobe package, and with times being lean, not looking to get more software. But thanks for the tip.

 

No worries. I was thinking that you could use it on trial for this batch, and then remove from your computer/laptop.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve.. your image of York brings back happy memories! A special place for me as I spent 4 years there as a student and as such recognise that scene.

 

I like what Jef did with your image and would aim for similar. The latest version of Lightroom can do wonders. One of the newer features of Lightroom is that you can get it to recognise and apply a mask to the sky which then allows you to make changes to just the sky... and I use this a lot. With a sky like the one in your image, I often moving the "warmth" slide more to the blue to make it look/feel more like a blue sky and also changing highlights and shadows in the sky more aggressively than the rest of the image.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.