Sunday, May 16, 2010

rainy day photo manipulation

original - SOOC
those lines you can see are a reflection of the wall behind me in the window that's between me and the rain.
during the time without internet (of which we speak only at a whisper) i had some time to play around a bit more with Lightroom (i'm not so much a photoshop girl, you see, so LR is as close as i come). and although some part of me still feels there's a measure of dishonesty in manipulating the photos, i'll also admit i had a bit of fun. and i learned something about how applying presets (i haven't made my own yet, it's not gone that far) can give a photo a different mood, one which helps you express what you'd like to express with the photo.

this morning, we woke up, once again, to a steady, drizzling, cold rain. it's been cold and dreary for what feels like weeks now and it's just so depressing, even tho' the world is a brilliant green and the flowers are blooming their little hearts out. what i'd like more than anything is to spread a cheery tablecloth on that table out there, get out the chair pillows and serve some cold, refreshing homemade rhubarb fizz. but alas, it's far too cold and rainy for that.

SarahJiDriftwood preset
somehow, this photo treatment makes me feel a bit better about that rainy scene. it has an early 20th century feel to it, like looking out on another time and that somehow makes it better. tho' i still picture sitting out there at the table, with this one, i've got more of a flapper dress on and perhaps a smart beaded headband and i'm definitely smoking a cigarette in one of those elegant holders (and i'm not even a smoker) and sipping a martini. the preset changes the whole mood of the photo and opens a whole new realm of imagination.

Hoddo_blue/yellow preset
this one isn't that far off the original, but it's just far enough that to me it has more depth. the greens are a bit more blue and i feel just that much more longing for the weather to clear and let me sit outside. the darker tones make the table just that much more lonely without me out there. it's closer to what i wanted to express when i took the photo. should i have made these adjustments in camera when i took the shot? perhaps.

what do you think about photo manipulation? is it simply a part of finishing our photos and making them our own? or is it cheating?

kristina wrote about this recently(ish) and you should check her post, as she goes much more into the technical aspects of using Lightroom, as well as asking the "what is real?" question on a more philosophical plane.

15 comments:

inna said...

before I felt very much cheating when processing photos, and most of the time I still do, but nowadays I am trying to think it's part of finishing photos - making them look like you see the world and a way to express what you want to express. Plus, I am often so distracted when taking photos that I forget all about settings and sometimes even changing aperture and ISO, so making the adjustments in camera isn't often an option for me. And to be honest, I like it that way.. somehow I don't want photographing become only about making adjustments in camera and thinking about settings.

oh, and I have a question.. I have been thinking about getting lightroom, would you recommend it?

spudballoo said...

What a lovely scene, really fab composition. The lines are like a natural texture, works really well.

I adore the first preset manipulated one, it has a calm and elegant feeling to it.

I do like to 'fiddle' with my keeper shots, but how much depends on time/energy/motivation/creativity/what the composition is/how it looks SOOC etc etc. I don't see it as cheating, unless you're relying on post processing to constantly fix badly exposesed shots etc. And no amount of processing can lift a poor to shot in to a good one - your SOOC shot is a good shot anyway.

Is using presets cheating though?! Using someone else's creativity as a shortcut, cheating a bit I suppose? Meh, who cares!

Sorry have been rubbish at commenting on blogs of late but have been reading and enjoying the move!

xx

mrs mediocrity said...

I love what you did, I have been pondering this question myself as I use more and more textures and manipulation methods. I think it depends on the end purpose.
A news shot, a photojournalist shot that is meant to help report information, maybe shouldn't be too over-processed.
When it is for my own purposes, for my blogs, to hang on the wall, or even for a brochure to sell a product, I think of it more as creating an image than straight photography.
Even before digital, photographers manipulated in the darkroom.
I think it is about achieving a wonderful image. There will always be purists, and that is fine, but there will also always be artists that will push the medium. And that is fine, too.
Personally, if I am in love with an image, that is what matters most, not how many layers were used to create it.

Savitra said...

Every photo ever taken has been manipulated. There is no such thing as a "pure" photo.

The type of camera used, lens focal length and whether it is wide angle, normal or telephoto, whether it is sunny or cloudy and the distance from camera to ground or the subject - all will make the image look a certain way.

Photoshop is simply part of the process. Besides, suppose you come across a wonderful photo opportunity, maybe a photo of a beautiful sailboat in full sail ... but there is also floating debris in the water. Do you take the photo? Knowing you have Photoshop you snap the picture and then seamlessly remove the junk from the picture thus giving you a great photo.

Erin Wallace said...

I love what you have done with these photos. I used to feel like I wasn't a good photographer if I had to manipulate my photos; now I tak ephotos with what they will look like after I have manipulated them. I still try to take amazing photos, but layering them has just become part of perfecting them.

xo - Erin

Char said...

i used to be a purist and hated it until i realized how many professionals tweak in some ways. then i got over it because i was tired of beating myself over the head because my shots never looked good enough.

so i like a bit of it all.

dutchbaby said...

I think when I bring a photo to how I remembered the scene, it is not cheating. I'm only compensating for my, or my camera's, inability to capture the scene in the first go around. Post-processing is a great second chance to bring reality to the forefront.

I have not tried to use post-processing as an artistic impression of the moment only because I know I would be opening a Pandora's Box of possibilities.

Polly said...

ah, is that what lightroom can do? I've had it on my desktop for a month now but never used because I'm not sure how, I need to find some clever online manual for it, I'll make an effort now

M said...

Hi - I'm enjoying the results of the manipulations of your images. I "grew up" doing my own B&W processing and felt that changing the image was _wrong_ - my first photog teacher drove that idea into my head - "straight out of the camera" she said.

I was dissapointed and a latecomer to digital photography because I thought it was being "dumbed down", if you will. I thought that it used to take some skill and hard-earned experience to take a decent image, and I felt that digital photog was a cop-out. I guess you could call me a snob. But, as a late adopter, the COMMUNICATION benefits of digital photog outweigh the loss of the CRAFT of film photography.

Yes, that's it - I've come around to the idea that have more and more people sucessfully communicating with others through imagery is more important to me now than being snobby about preserving the craft of film photog.

Kristina said...

What Savitra said: 'Every photo ever taken has been manipulated. There is no such thing as a "pure" photo.'
I'd like to add that our vision too is subjective, it is coloured by our personality, our past experiences, in short: by how our brain works.
Sometimes when I take a picture a stranger will stop by and ask "What are you photographing? There's nothing there!" Obviously I see something they don't.
That's why I don't feel manipulation is cheating, the photo was never objective anyway.
That said, I thoroughly enjoy film photography as well, where the image is 'set' the moment you press the shutter. To me both digital and analogue photography are art forms, though the one doesn't have anything to do with the other in my head.

kristina said...

such a beautiful scene - I really like all versions of it. I'm still pondering this post-processing question. to me there are (at least) two different ways to go: trying to make the photo look its best while keeping in mind what the scene looked like to you, or altering it more radically (removing/adding things, completely altering the colours etc). I tend to go with the first option.
hope you've had a nice weekend (despite the dreary weather)!

Sammi said...

I don't know how to edit my pictures at all, to be honest, but I am with you on it feeling a bit dishonest. Altho I will admit yours look great. Cannot believe this weather... it's much the same here, I will post some pictures I took with my Blackberry later on.

beth said...

i'd love to have a perfect shot every time, but it doesn't happen....so manipulating is part of the game i play :)

Marilynne said...

Ansel Adams is famous for his black and white photos - particularly those of Yosemite National Park (in California)

I was surprised to discover that his photos are the result of not only the photo he took, but also the type of film, the processing, and careful artistic highlighting, and such. His artistry was in manipulating the photos to be the most they could be. We don't think anything less of him for doing it. We still admire the photos.

I would think that photo manipulation is only wrong when your object is to deceive - like the incredibly long legs of the lady in the UGGs commercials. (UGGs are Australian made sheepskin boots and such).

Eliane Zimmermann said...

though i am more kind of a photoshop girl (or rather oldie) i love your manipulations! cheers from very rainy, very stormy, very cold vienna