Tuesday, August 4, 2009

processing advice wanted

I've started to develop a taste for the kind of photography that I prefer. And I've come to realize that I'm not really a fan of over done HDR imaging, and over processed photos. Slight contrast and color treatment, ok. Cropping, ok. But not even the best photo editing can save a poorly composed photo. My distaste is also influenced by the fact that I've never really messed with editing, since my photos have been produced by a humble point and shoot. But, I figure if I'm going to start using a dslr, I should start trying my hand at it. That said, I tried messing around with iPhoto (advanced photo geeks don't judge), and tried editing one of my favorite pictures from this year.

The original

Edited version

Your feedback and constructive criticism, please.


  1. Take a class at a community college where you can work in a darkroom and develop your own film. Doesn't even have to be with a dslr or even a regular 35mm slr. A point and shoot will work just fine and it'll help you learn how to save poorly composed photos with clever cropping. But the stuff you learn in the darkroom transfers over well when you're using photoshop and whatnot. Every well known photographer crops their photos and you can see it in books. Take a look at Hunter S. Thompson's photo book "Gonzo" which was released postmortem. Lots of his stuff was shot under the influence of booze, narcotics and just plain eccentric outbursts but in the darkroom he made it all work. Warhol's "Screen Tests" shows how he came about getting the shot and look he desired with a lot of trial and error. Ansel Adams was almost OCD like with his photos making dozens, if not hundreds, of test prints and had these novel thick book of notes on how to develop just one photo by the end of the process.

    A lot of people pick up dslr's without any darkroom experience and I think that's why there's a lot of stuff that ends up looking like they should me magazine ads with lots of post editing and fancy effects and layers. Nothing wrong with it but it doesn't suit everyone's taste. The old school Life Magazine photographers were photojournalist, chronicling hum drum routines and extraordinary events with just some rolls of 35mm film, an enlarger and lots of hands experimentation. I think that's the look you're veering towards. Look them up.

    And stay away from sepia.

    As HST once wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

  2. words to thes lo habides. thes lohab ides? the slo ha bides?

    i also like skimming through the flickr commons sets to see what people were able to achieve.

    - gus

  3. Annie Leibovitz and Harry Benson. Look them up. You've probably seen Annie's work countless times but don't realize it. She did the iconic Rolling Stones cover of a nude John kissing Yoko. Harry Benson was the Beatles main photographer in the UK at the height of Beatlemania and has photographed every sitting president in the last four decades.