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08-27-2009, 06:30 PM   #16
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A decent place to start "punching up" pictures is, using curves, slide the left (down) point toward the right along the bottom until the histogram touches the left side. then slide the right (upper) point left along the top until the histogram almost touches the right. It's not a bad start. To be honest, I find Pentax Photo Lab a little easier to use for this than UFRaw - it just starts out closer to what I will ultimately want.

That or just do whatever Jsherman does. Hot diggity!


Last edited by Nick Siebers; 08-27-2009 at 06:37 PM.
08-27-2009, 06:41 PM   #17
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Speaking of, JSherman - I know you use mostly older lenses, right? Have you tried any DA lenses? I find bright mode just a little too much with the DA's tendancy toward brighter images to begin with.
08-27-2009, 09:09 PM   #18
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I'd also like to point out something more basic, perhaps obvious, but still worth mentioning:

People don't tend to post their mediocre images - they post their favorites. I probably post only about the top 1-5% of my images to my Flickr or Zenfolio accounts, and then only a small fraction of those ever get posted here. So anything of mine that is seen here is like the very best of the best I've taken. And I imagine it's similar with others.

So it's kind of unfair to look at your own "average" picture and compare it to someone else's best of the best. Look at the best picture you've taken of the last 500, say, and see how it compares with what you see here, and maybe you'll feel a bit better.

OK, that said, sure, a lot of people will push contrast or color in camera JPEG settings or PP.
08-28-2009, 03:24 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
A decent place to start "punching up" pictures is, using curves, slide the left (down) point toward the right along the bottom until the histogram touches the left side. then slide the right (upper) point left along the top until the histogram almost touches the right. It's not a bad start. To be honest, I find Pentax Photo Lab a little easier to use for this than UFRaw - it just starts out closer to what I will ultimately want.

That or just do whatever Jsherman does. Hot diggity!
Indeed but what you describe is essentially the same as using levels. I prefer to use curves as wel but levels is probably a bit less daunting. A matter of preference I suppose but well worth bringing up an alternative way of doing it.

08-28-2009, 03:40 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I'd also like to point out something more basic, perhaps obvious, but still worth mentioning:

People don't tend to post their mediocre images - they post their favorites. I probably post only about the top 1-5% of my images to my Flickr or Zenfolio accounts, and then only a small fraction of those ever get posted here. So anything of mine that is seen here is like the very best of the best I've taken. And I imagine it's similar with others.

So it's kind of unfair to look at your own "average" picture and compare it to someone else's best of the best. Look at the best picture you've taken of the last 500, say, and see how it compares with what you see here, and maybe you'll feel a bit better.

OK, that said, sure, a lot of people will push contrast or color in camera JPEG settings or PP.
Hi Marc, you are absolutely right. I know Marc from "the other forum" where I hang out most of the time but I am starting to get a bit fed up with the constant bickering and bashing down there so I thought; I'll give it a whirl here

Marc is an outstanding photographer and knows his stuff and it is true that photos you see posted is most likely only a small percentage of what people shoot. Nobody shoots 100% keepers so what you see is only the best they've shot.

On the other hand, if you never get any results that you are happy with, you need to find out the cause. Whether it is the way you shoot or your PP-ing.

As I've said a few posts ago, I noticed that your WB is off in both and the images are clipped. All this doesn't help. It could have been caused in camera or during PP. Either way, this is what needs addressing first before you start delving in more advanced PP-ing.

There are plenty of people on this forum that can help you with this, I am sure.
08-28-2009, 05:23 AM   #21
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I have also started playing around with Picasa3 and have found it to be really good (I'm new at this).

There's an "I'm feeling lucky" button (owned by Google) that really has a nice effect on pictures I took in Natural mode. I suspect that once I start using Bright mode in camera the changes in Picasa will be less dramatic, but I'm getting nice results so far.
08-28-2009, 08:52 AM   #22
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With my previous comments in mind, the best way to increase one's confidence in one's abilities would be to habitually rate your pictures, then delete the low-rated ones and/or otherwise set things up in your image management software so you can look at just the highly rated ones. not only will this make you look better than you are, but it will give you an idea of what it *means* to look better than you are, and thus give you something to strive for. Learning from your own successes, in other words.
08-28-2009, 09:05 AM   #23
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Thanks Mark. I take the brute force / numbers approach and take lots of pictures and end up deleting most of them. I've had some pictures thus far where I really like the "moment" I've captured, but the technical successes of the picture are somewhat lacking (i.e. slightly out of focus). I've found that I can use PP (such as sepia, b&w, and/or the diffused"dreamy" look) to cover up for these deficiencies and salvage the picture, but I'd rather not have to hide behind PP for most of my images.

It's interesting how getting into photography changes my outlook on trips and vacations. Picture-taking was somewhat of an afterthought with my good old Canon Powershot A95 (which I've had for 5 years now and recently started going dead...love that swivel LCD). In a few weeks we'll be going to a mountain cabin for half a week. I think I'm looking forward to the photo opportunities almost as much as the relaxation.

08-28-2009, 11:04 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChooseAName Quote
Impact,

This might be part of what I was looking for. I had been wondering how a lot of the pro pics I've seen got that sort of high-contrast-y look to them, and that second picture of the armor suit has that quality. It's a bit more contrast than I would have in my baby's pictures, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Thanks!
You might want to look at this guy's flickr -

Flickr: Piero_HN's Photostream

He's a vietnamese photographer and he's very good at producing pictures that have what I like to call "the film look" - the high contrast and slight tint/vignetting. That makes his photos look "pro".

At least to my eyes it does.

I love his pictures.
08-28-2009, 11:07 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
Speaking of, JSherman - I know you use mostly older lenses, right? Have you tried any DA lenses? I find bright mode just a little too much with the DA's tendancy toward brighter images to begin with.
My only DA right now is the DA 35 ltd, and yes, I tend to down the contrast to 0 when shooting bright colors like flowers, or sometimes kick it into 'natural' or raw and deal with the colors later. The DA 35ltd just explodes with color.
08-28-2009, 11:10 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I'd also like to point out something more basic, perhaps obvious, but still worth mentioning:

People don't tend to post their mediocre images - they post their favorites. I probably post only about the top 1-5% of my images to my Flickr or Zenfolio accounts, and then only a small fraction of those ever get posted here. So anything of mine that is seen here is like the very best of the best I've taken. And I imagine it's similar with others.
....

Exactly correct. For example:






.
08-28-2009, 11:18 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by DennisH Quote
I have also started playing around with Picasa3 and have found it to be really good (I'm new at this).

There's an "I'm feeling lucky" button (owned by Google) that really has a nice effect on pictures I took in Natural mode. I suspect that once I start using Bright mode in camera the changes in Picasa will be less dramatic, but I'm getting nice results so far.

I'm feeling lucky!

Actually, when I use picasa I usually try a one-click 'contrast' adjustment and that's it, but sometimes do try IFL and it does get me nice results a lot of the time.

.
08-28-2009, 12:33 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I'm feeling lucky!

Actually, when I use picasa I usually try a one-click 'contrast' adjustment and that's it, but sometimes do try IFL and it does get me nice results a lot of the time.

.
You know, I did try that one-click contrast adjustment last night. It did help, but I guess it's only going to be part of the solution for me. (You must have better equipment than me...I'm a bit jealous that that's all you have to do )
08-28-2009, 01:31 PM   #29
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Well, I assume I'll outgrow Picasa the more I use it, but compared to what I was doing before (nothing), it works well.

BTW, I was surprised to read in that other thread that several people found IFL to be so bad and to produce such unnatural results; that happens only occasionally in my experience, in which case I just don't use it.
08-28-2009, 04:16 PM   #30
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It's a bit like "green auto". It will work most of the time, but you won't learn anything.
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