Why do some images capture and hold our attention while others merit hardly a glance? We all want to create images that connect with our viewers, that draw them in and let them see what it was that made us pick up the camera. It’s important, but often difficult, to describe for ourselves what it is about an image that makes us want to capture it in the first place. Is it the light, a line, a pattern, or something else? Sometimes the real subject isn’t a physical thing… a mood can also be the subject. Forcing ourselves to consider these questions before the click may result in changing your framing or camera settings from your initial impulse. Thinking about this “before the click” is important because all you can do later in post is refine what is already there: you must get right in camera. When we sit down to edit an image, we need to keep those ideas in mind since ideally, they will guide our editing approach.
Ansel Adams compared each of his negatives to a composer’s score, and said his prints represented the performance of that score. As in music, where each performance may differ in subtle ways, so too could each print differ in subtle ways from the ones before or after. Each print could represent a different interpretation of the same negative. In our current photographic world, the raw file from your camera is your digital negative. It forms the raw material which you can mold and shape, polishing it to produce the final expression of your image.
Beyond basic editing of tone and colour, post processing adjustments can be used to strengthen the important visual elements in your images. These visual elements fall into a natural hierarchy determined by how strongly they draw the viewer’s eye. Learning to recognize these visual weight relationships, and how to refine them in post, as well as creating an appropriate mood can greatly strengthen the impact of an image by clarifying for the viewer what you are trying to say.
On the surface this course is a technical deep dive into the Develop module of Lightroom and Camera Raw. Beyond simply describing how each tool in Lightroom works, we focus as well on how they interact with one another. This, along with a small amount if discipline is all that is necessary to harness the power of this program in service of your vision.
So, what is included with this course?
- 140+ pages of fully illustrated course material
- 3+ hours of video instruction.
- Raw files used in the technical discussions in weeks 1 and 2
- Detailed discussion and walk through of multiple examples beginning with a description of the aesthetic goals for each image, and how these were realized in post.
- Style and Photographic Vision
- Understanding how we see; the concept of visual weight.
- A deeper look at Raw processing, White balance, Tone mapping and Presence controls Selective colour controls
- Global vs. Local adjustments
- Putting Raw processing to work
- Handling difficult contrast situations.
- Creative colour using curves
- Capture Sharpening and Noise Reduction
- Sharpening images with different levels of fine detail
- Sharpening high ISO images while controlling noise
- Sizing and Sharpening for output
Weeks 3 and 4:
- Using Craft to Realize Vision
- From Click to Completion – some examples.
Requirements for this course:
This course was originally written with those who have taken my other course, “The Art of Printing Your Art” in mind. However, it’s not necessary to have taken that course to enjoy and learn from this course. You should have at least a passing familiarity with the Develop module of Lightroom or of Adobe Camera Raw. You should also be shooting in the Raw format and be working with a calibrated and profiled monitor.
Recognizing that prospective students may have differing levels of knowledge when it comes to using Lightroom, a separate set of appendices is included as a separate download with the first lesson. Rather than embed large chunks of the main text with detailed descriptions of things with which some people may be already be familiar, I have moved these discussions to the appendices instead. If you wish, you will find discussions of the “Clipping Display” or the Adjustment Brush modifiers for example.
Instructor: Mark English
A photographer for more than thirty years, Mark is a former nationally accredited member of the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC). Known for his bold use of color and strong graphic elements in his image making, he now shoots primarily for personal projects. Most of his work is focused on editorial travel and landscape. His work has been published in a variety of media, and may be viewed at www.pacificlight.ca
“Thank you so very much for this course. It’s allowed me to take the blinders off and present my images for what I want them to be without being a slave to the “reality” of the camera. I would also add that in conjunction with your printing course, this has been the most useful course I’ve ever taken. Your notes are more than comprehensive and your comments and critiques are direct, clear, and always directed to the improvement of the art.” – Bill
“Thank you for this course. I am just loving everything about it!!! I know how much work it is to put courses together and you have done a fantastic job. Your materials are very good, and I love your critiques! Wonderful course!!!” – Eileen
“Thank you very much for a beautifully organized and presented course. Excellent written materials; videos; and your critiques were “spot-on”. I have exponentially increased my knowledge of Lightroom editing.” – Jay
“This course has been an invaluable learning experience on so many levels. Your instructive materials with detailed examples were excellent and worth reading and re-reading. I learned more about how to use LR effectively and don’t feel the need to go to PS to tweak my images as much now. Too, your critiques of my work and that of others were so very helpful. This class has really made a difference in how I will view and edit my photos in the future. Thank you!” – Anne
“Thank you very much for all the help. I have learnt so much about Lightroom in the last four weeks, and I will recommend your course to all my photo friends. You explained so many things that seemed impossible before, in a way that even Lightroom newcomers could understand them. Not all teachers can do that. I wish that all the BPSOP teachers had your qualities.” – Dianne