Just a few recent photos
Here are just a couple photos of mine from recently. I continue to struggle with post processing 😣 . I know how I want the image to look but even after hours of adjusting, my final products are never quite "right". Hoping that gets better with time and practice.
I am needing specific advice on the Skyline image. I edited out a few billboards/signs that were distracting, but I did not want to adjust the colorings/tones much because that was what the actual sunset looked like that night (and the entire reason I quickly grabbed my camera). Loading it, I noticed that the lightings in the windows of the buildings are blurry 😥 . I obviously moved when snapping the photo and didn't notice until now. Any suggestions on how to fix that?
I like the second image very much. Interesting shapes and tones.
I think we all encounter the challenge of finishing the image. Good advice I have seen is to leave it before you start to process and then leave it for a while after you think you are done. That separation of time also diminishes the emotional attachment to the moment.
Cute dog by the way.
Good to see you posting (this from someone who hasn't posted in a year or more)!
In addition to Ulana's comment about post processing, I'd also offer that you can spend too much time post processing. You are on a website where people obsess (in a good way) over post, but they have been photographing for years and years and years... and have become very accomplished in the fundamentals of camera craft, composition, and light management. Post-processing then becomes a way to further refine their artwork. You need not worry about being that intent in your post processing.
For all 3 of the images, and I do like #2 best, I'd be interested in seeing your camera settings, and to know whether you used a tripod. All 3 images could be sharper. In #1, though, it is camera movement that impacted the image more than sharpness. I'm guessing it was hand-held. You can't fix camera motion in post-processing, so chalk it up to a lesson learned (I know, that is hard because you invested time in the image, but c'est la vie), and then get yourself a small tripod that you can travel with.
Mila needs at least one of her eyes tack sharp. Her left eye (the one on the right of the image) is close, but not quite there. The blue eye treatment is fun!
Why do we like #2 best. Ulana says "Interesting shapes and tones". For me, that translates to "nice composition" with the radial lines from lower left. That introduces some motion in the image. For the tones, this is where you should experiment with post-processing. In the chair itself (I'm assuming this is the back of a chair?), there is a nice gradation of tones. Are the blacks near lower left absolutely black? Can you use the green and yellow color sliders in the black & white conversion to lighten the background even more? What if you increase the overall contrast? These suggestions may or may not improve over what you have, but they are the type of things I would play with if this were my image.
See, that didn't hurt.... 😀
To me all these images show that you have a latent eye - for color, for patterns.
Your first image no doubt drew you for the subtle colors in the sky. I can't begin to tell you how many such images I have made over the past many years. Often the eye-brain combination fixates on and emphasizes elements in the frame that we are drawn to. Later, you see the image on the computer and you don't quite see the same elements with the same weights the the brain previously assigned. This gets you into the whole "previsualize" sort of thing. If you recall what you originally saw, you could attempt to recreate that emphasis via post-processing. In your first image, most certainly the colors in the sky could be enhanced and brought out more. As you note, the camera shake is a bit problematic. It can be fixed to some extent with techniques like deconvolution and specialized tools but it's a lot easier to take another shot, this time with a tripod or with careful consideration of shutter speed. Also, I suggest you look you "String Tripod". It's a useful technique that costs pretty much nothing and can be used to stabilize the camera in situations where a tripod is not an option. Also, the way you stand, hold the camera and breath are all important. Feet shoulder width, elbows as close to the body as possible, breath gently, pause, gently depress the shutter, breathe out. No different from the rules followed by folks who are expert marksmen. Worth googling too. Also, notice that the building on the right seems to be tilting - that would require perspective correction. Again easily done in most tools for post today.
Your second image clearly shows your eye for patterns. Worth exploring further in terms of different compositions - placements of the elements in the frame. Important to remember that composition is not just arranging objects in the frame - the distribution of tones/color are also part of the composition.
Your third image has a very interesting composition, whether intentional or serendipitous. There is a dark triangle on the left that mimics the triangles formed by the ears. The out of focus leading line on the right brings the eye back to the dog. Various other elements that draw your eye in the frame but all bring the eye back to the dog, your subject.
Keep shooting and posting. Keep studying the works of interesting photographers and certainly the masters. There is much to be learned and absorbed from such study. Agree with Lloyd that one can take post processing too far. At the end of it all, as long as you're happy with your images, it's all good and nothing else matters. Ulana's point on post is very valuable. And finally, take most things on Youtube with a large pinch of salt. Most of the people there are well-intentioned but far from the authorities they claim to be.... :-D. I have a few books for you when we meet next.
Thanks Lloyd! None of the images were done with tri-pod. I have yet to purchase one of those to add to my arsenal of camera gear, but is probably the most important. I simply found a trail I wanted to walk and brought my camera with me and stumbled upon a small sitting area with, you guessed it, a chair. I will be honest that I did the least post processing with this photo. I was burnt out from the other two, haha
I will take into consideration you ideas and give them a try! 🙂
Thanks for the advice! I think I try to do it all at once and maybe giving my brain and eyes a break and coming back to it later may help
Thanks Raaj. I'm trying to find techniques or "tricks" to use when I have my camera with me, but don't intend to set up a tri-pod (which I actually still need to purchase). All of these photos were take "accidentally" - meaning I had my camera with me, but didn't intend to do any kind of calculated or planned "shooting session". First photo was taken quickly from a balcony before heading down to a waiting cab, second was on a nature walk with some friends, and the last one I happened to be repacking my bags to leave when my sister's go Mila kept staring at me (likely wondering if she was coming too 🤣). I'm noticing that this is when I tend to want to take photos and enjoy it the most - when they are unplanned. But this also likely means unprepared and these scenarios don't allow for many adjustments or time to take multiple shots to get "the one". Like I said, these are the ones I enjoy taking the most so trying to figure out ways to make the few shots I am able to get in these moments count. Is this too ambitious/unrealistic of a goal? haha, sometimes I feel like it is....
You can set the ISO on your camera to a higher value (1200, 1600, etc) or even use auto-ISO to limit how slow the shutter speed can be. That way you van make images without a tripod and avoid the blur. Depending on the conditions, and your camera, some images might be grainy but you can also use that as a creative effect. In any case, it's better than not getting the photo because the light is too low for a steady image.
Some cameras or lenses have vibration reduction which can also help.
Of course we all can work on improving our handholding technique. here are some good articles/videos that help:
Tripods are great for a variety of reasons beyond a steady shot, but you definitely can make great photographs without one.