Sheila, a regular reader of our blog, was at Londolozi recently and I asked her if she would mind me using a few of her photographs to talk about on the blog. The reason I wanted to do this is that more often than not, nice photographs can be greatly enhanced by a few simple tricks that will make them really stand out.
I have used three of Sheila’s photographs below, the first being the original and the second being my edited copy. Below each is a short explanation of what I have done to enhance the picture in photoshop through cropping, contrasting and color editing. With a bit of luck you will be able to begin to use these techniques to increase the presence of your photographs as well.
LEOPARD IN TREE
I cropped this image tighter as I wanted to give more space on the right for the leopard to look into. Although the green at the bottom of the original adds nice colour, I felt it was important for the leopard to take up much of the space of the picture, in particular because of the lovely S shape created from the leopard’s tail to his curved neck, as well as the interesting Y shape that the fork in the tree brought.
I enhanced the contrast to about 15% and added a bit of vibrancy to make the colour of the coat ‘pop’ out. The last thing I did was sharpen the photograph once to give it a crisp edge.
This male lion had such a smug look about him, however he was getting lost in the grass owing to their similar colours. This is a common problem for photoraphin animals at the end of the dry season. The key is to contrast the darks and the brights to make certain elements stand out. For instance, by increasing the contrast to about 10-15% the black of his nose & mane as well as the white of his beard began to stand out. This is great as we want these elements to be the focal points of the picture. A little bit of vibrancy & saturation boosted the colours and lastly a single sharpen make his crisp against the blurry backdrop. A nice effect for any portrait picture
I also cropped him tighter as the space above his head was unnecessary.
Sunsets can be fantastic if done correctly. By that I mean, a balance of a rich colourful backdrop against a dark & silhouetted foreground. If the foreground image is interesting, that makes it even better. I picked this sunset as it was one of Sheila’s most colorful photographs and I really liked the different African trees on the horizon line. This picture needed to cut out the majority of the black to leave just the bottom third instead of the bottom half black.
Furthermore, with the richness of oranges and yellows, a little bit of vibrancy and saturation (5-10%) really enhanced the color of the photograph.
What do you think of how I have enhanced these pictures? Is there anything that you would have done differently? Let us know if the comments section below…
Thanks to Sheila for allowing me to comment and crit her photographs on our blog.