Thursday, February 26, 2009

Peter 038 - Angela

Not my best work straight from the camera, but a good time to illustrate the benefits of careful processing.

Angela has been taking blood for a good few years, and she seemed completely bemused when I asked if I could take a photo or two as she jabbed me. It was a dead-set conversation killer I have to say, and she was of no-nonsense stock, which isn't a bad thing when it's your own arm being jabbed.

I asked her to jab my left arm so I could use the camera controls with it sitting on my lap. I set the focus manually and pretty much let the camera do it's thing, knowing I'd have to do some work on the shot afterwards, because there is no second chance to set stuff up.

So here's my workflow (I'll do a similar post later today for Julie's shot as a comparison): Note that a professional photographer would go broke with this much processing, and my aim is always to have a minimal amount to do. This is rather extreme I think:

The shot as it came out of the camera:

Now adjust the exposure by a stop to lighten it:

The lighting balance was out, the camera tricked by the fluorescent lights and all that blue paint, so I adjusted the "temperature".

I like to saturate my photos to a little more than a natural colour, but when doing this one has to be careful not to make skin tones too bright. I used to set my camera colour setting to "Vivid" and then tone it down ever so slightly for people shots, nothing drastic, I'm trying to get a natural but very bright tone. It's very much a personal thing. I like the sunny cheery results that gives mostly.

Now it's time to tweak the sharpening before cropping out that stuff on the wall on the right hand side. A bit of clutter is inevitable really when one is shooting from the lap with no idea where the camera is pointing - it does take a bit of practice!

And there you have it. The camera has faithfully recorded the detail, it's up to me to work out how to get it out of it if I haven't told it what to do correctly in the first place.


Julie said...

Such a good tutorial - taa.

From yesterday's query by Ann, I have set my focus to Servo. Now I am off to find the bit where I have the choice of "vivid".

Cant wait to see the process with Louis when you have time. Would having the camera-original help? I will see if I have it to upload.

This is so valuable Peter. Much appreciated.

Ann said...

Thanks. How long did it take you to do this? I think I really do need to get Elements. I'm pretty happy with the composition of some of my latest indoor shots but not the exposure or colour, can't get the white balance right - they seem in focus on the camera but I won't know until I download them.

bitingmidge said...

It took me a few seconds for each step no more than perhaps a minute the whole process. By far the longest part of the process was saving each step in the pictures as I went along.

I have been practising for a year though, and half the secret is getting the sequence in an order that suits your own style.

More later.

Back to sanding my garage door now!

bitingmidge said...

For all that, in the cold hard light of evening, I quite like that shot!

I have another I quite liked with her blurry hand when she's belting up my vein, but it was a bit "Lonniesque" I thought!

Maybe another day off tomorrow, we'll see if the postman can get past without me catching her! (Yes a deliberate twist applied to our wonderful language.)

Nancy said...


Thanksk for the lesson. One hundred strangers - not for the shy or introvert. It takes guts to ask a stranger for their phototo. Well done!

Joan Elizabeth said...

I can't believe you took a photo in this situation! I wouldn't have been able to for fear of seeing the blood. I think it is a very good shot and interesting post processing story. I can keep up with you on that when you talk f stops and apertures my eyes still glaze over.

bitingmidge said...

Well I did ask her to be careful, because I didn't want to drop the camera!