After-Before Friday Forum Week 22

Robin Kent Before Week 22 Giverny

Original Raw Image

Stacy Fischer’s blog VisualVenturing hosts the weekly After-Before Friday Forum that provides a unique opportunity for photographers to exchange ideas about post-processing their images.  There is always something new to learn from this exchange. This week’s Forum will be up later this morning and can be found here.

My submission for this week’s Forum was taken a few years ago in Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France.  It was a cloudy day which can be really helpful for photographing flowers. But, as usual, the gardens were crowded with visitors so the best strategy was to search for individual blooms.  This little fellow was seemingly calling out for a portrait so I gave it a try.  The “Before” image above is the original RAW file with no adjustments.

A quick inspection indicates that, unless some special effects are being considered, the image does not seem to require any heroic measures.  The standard workflow began with the Adobe Camera Raw dialog window.     It seemed that the image needed to be a little darker overall to capture the mood of the cloudy day and also could use some added contrast.  The contrast slider by itself was too harsh, so after experimenting with a combination of the Whites, Blacks, Shadows, Highlights, and Contrast controls the most appealing combination resulted in the settings shown in the screen capture below.

Robin Kent Before 02A Week 22 Giverny

Adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw

 The changes were as follows:  Exposure decreased to – 0.40;  Contrast increased to +35;  Highlights decreased to -28;  Shadows decreased to -3;  Whites decreased to -15;          Blacks increased to +11;  Clarity increased to +24;  Vibrance increased to +27.  The resulting image is shown below.

 Robin Kent Before 02 Week 22 GivernyImage After Adobe Raw Adjustments

The image was then opened in Photoshop.  The only step remaining was to create a vignette to help bring the viewer’s attention to the central subject and give the image a little more depth (3-D effect?) to separate the subject from the background.  There are many ways to create a vignette and these were the steps I followed (see image below).

Robin Kent Before 03 Week 22 Giverny

I used the Elliptical Marquee tool to select an oval shape around the central flower, making sure the “Feather” was set for a high number (usually above 50 pixels).  But since the area to be darkened is everything outside the oval selection, the next step was to click on SelectàInverse.  (See yellow arrow) I next opened a Curves Adjustment Layer, set the Blend Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 50%, and changed the layer name to “Vignette.”  (See red arrows).  The curves histogram was not changed from the default setting.  Depending on the effect you are looking for, there is a lot of flexibility by using the controls for feather in the selection and the amount of opacity in the layer.

The final result is shown in the image below.  As you can see, the difference with the vignette is quite subtle.  Thoughts from readers would be welcome.

Robin Kent After Week 22 Giverny

Final Image with Vignette Added

Once again thanks to Stacy Fisher for keeping the Forum on track.  The other submissions can be found at her Visual Venturing post here.  Please check them out.  And don’t miss this Forum next week; there will be a “twist” to the proceedings.   Stacy has sworn us all to secrecy, but it should be fun.

16 thoughts on “After-Before Friday Forum Week 22

  1. Pingback: After-Before Friday Week 22 | Visual Venturing

  2. Thank you, Robin, for all the inside scoop! I have discovered that basically I can do the exact thing as you explain here in Lightroom, which I have on my iPad. Not able to do the vinegrette, so I import back into Photo Shop to do that. Since I have been experimenting with several software programs, I am discovering that some overlap in what they do. Which is fine by me. And your image! I LOVE flowers and the way you have this captured and centered, just perfect. Thank you not only for the image but for all the show and tell as well. With your help, I am learning. Bless you! Love, Amy

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    • Thanks very much, Amy. Glad you liked the flowers. Giverny is definitely the place to go for that. I understand there are workshops that give the students access to the gardens in the morning before they open to the public at 10 AM. And yes, you’re right about Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. I recently learned from watching Stacy’s videos that her Lightroom steps were often doing the same thing as the tools I use in Adobe Camera RAW. Often the name of the tool is different, but as Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name…..” I didn’t know however, that Lightroom could do all that on an iPad, however. Very cool.

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      • It is very cool, Robin. I am slowly learning how to use Lightroom. My OS on my laptop does not support Lightroom so I am really thankful that I can use it on my iPad. It is a powerful program, and when I am finished with all I am doing with it I can then import it to PS on my iPad as well. PS is a different program then what I have on my laptop. I have much to choose from, but I am getting my favorites together to simplify things. Sometimes too many choices makes it all that harder to choose. (smile) Love, Amy

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  3. HI Robin, it continues to amaze me how in just a few steps you can take a photo and create the drama that is needed to make a special image. I am finding that a lot of what I did in Camera Raw I can do in Lightroom, these blog posts have helped a great deal. thanks

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    • Thanks so much, Janice. I’m glad the posts are helpful. By the way, at the Open Studio today someone was asking if I knew about this place in Bordeaux where the spray creates a fog effect and I told him about your blog and great pictures of the location. If not for you, I would not have had a clue what he was talking about.

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  4. I like the vignette at the end as it does work well in creating depth to the image. As others have been commenting about ACR and Lightroom I thought i would add; really the functionality in image editing is the same in both. Lightroom has the file organization element to it. Also there are updates to ACR that come before Lightroom because Lightroom is a standalone program that can still be bought separately, where as ACR is a bundled part of bridge and Lightroom.

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    • Thanks, Ben. Interesting point. Now I don’t feel so guilty about not having adopted Lightroom. The file organization in Bridge is good enough for my needs and I don’t have a big need for the Publish features of LR, at least not at the moment.

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  5. You’ve done justice to that shot. It really needed to be highlighted against the background, and your adjustments have done just that. With flowers, I find increasing detail or adding soft blur work equally effectively, depending on what you wish to convey.

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  6. We visited Giverny on a sunny/rainy day this August on our Silver Wedding anniversary. It was beautiful and I have a cupboard full of blooms from the trip! My favourites are probably the ‘damp’ ones. Thanks for the memory. 🙂

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  7. A great tutorial and easy to understand. And as I was poised to ask a question, I realized that I might have the answer. Does Adobe Camera Raw not have a vignette? I think I would be able to do everything in Lightroom that you have done here. Photoshop still intimidates me.

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    • Hi, Emilio: Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Yes, you are correct that Adobe Camera Raw has a vignette capability. It is under the “Effects” tab. However, I find that it is more cumbersome to apply than in Photoshop, especially when it comes to the shape and location of the vignette. But it is all a matter of personal preference. A skilled LR user (i.e., someone other than me) would probably have no trouble accomplishing what she/he wanted with a vignette in Lightroom. For example, I’ve seen Stacy Fischer do some nice Lightroom Vignettes in her ABFriday posts. I’m much more comfortable in Photoshop than LR so I inclined to stay with what I know.

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