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Advanced Photography Tip

Shooting for Highlight, the best Advanced Photography Tip for Digital Photographers

“Digital Photography can be as easy as just “point and shoot”, then preview the image and if you don’t like it, delete the photo.”  Most people probably use their digital cameras (or Smartphones) like this. Digital cameras in general are very powerful tools. That is why there is more to digital photography rather than just “point and click”. One of the most important part of Digital Photography is “Post Processing”. This Advanced Photography Tip will change your photography workflow to better image capturing.

What is Post Processing?

The term Post Processing (or postproc for short) or editing is used in the video/film business for quality-improvement image processing (specifically digital image processing) methods used in digital photography or videography.

All digital cameras have some weaknesses and generally speaking post processing means to apply certain types of editing to enhance the image quality and/or to compensate for the camera or lens imperfection.

One of the most common flaws in almost all digital cameras is Highlight Clipping.

What is Highlight Clipping?

Digital cameras can not handle the strong highlights, therefore the bright part of the image usually is “Burnt Out”, which means there is not enough information (Data) on those area to bring back the details.

Clipped Highlight

IMG_6505

In above example it is next to impossible to restore any data from the clipped highlight. No editing software or techniques can save this type of photos.

Here it comes our Advanced Photography Tip for this week:

Shooting for Highlights and Adjust the Shadows

To compensate this flaw in digital photography, pro photographers set the exposure for the highlights and take the pictures. Then during the post processing they can easily adjust the shadows and bring out more details.

Photo looks dark when shooting for Highlight

advanced photography tip
In this photo I measured the exposure for the sky. Notice that there are lots of details on the leaves, but tree trunk is way too dark.

This picture looks way underexposed, and you would probably delete it! But after a little editing on shadows and and simple adjustment on Levels you can see the improvement.

After post processing

After a simple Shadows adjustment in Lightroom/Photoshop, the details are back!
After a simple Shadows adjustment in Lightroom/Photoshop, the details are back!

Can this improvement be done on a normal exposed photos?

As it was mentioned digital cameras can not handle data from the highlights of the scene, but they maintain data from shadows. Here is an example of a normal exposed photos that I tried to restore the details of the sky.

Normal Exposed photo before Post Processing

A normal exposure photo with a blown out sky.
A normal exposure photo with a blown out sky.

Normal Exposed photo after Post Processing

Even after post processing, still you can not see any details on the sky.
Even after post processing, still you can not see any details on the sky.

Advanced Photography Tip

Shoot for Highlight

Always adjust your exposure for the Highlight and take the photos, specially in landscape and cityscape photography. Then balance the tonality in post processing.

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Is Post Processing very difficult to Learn?

Not really provided that you find right instructor who teaches you how to use the tools in a software. In our Lightroom program Start to Finish, I will guide you through Lightroom tools and adjustments.

Post Processing is Lightroom/Photoshop

few adjustments in Lightroom, then you have a perfect pictures
few adjustments in Lightroom, then you have a perfect pictures

Lightroom Techniques - Start to Finish

Starts November 8th

Lightroom Techniques workshop is a 4 session class that covers everything you need learn in Lightroom from Start to Finish. This workshop is Lightroom users in Mac or Windows machines.

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