In this, the final chapter of this tutorial we get deeper into Silver Efex Pro to show how we can fine tune this high key black and white portrait. We teak the brightness and contrast with the highlights, midtones, shadows and dynamic brightness sliders. We also use amplify whites and blacks and tweak soft contrast to change the balance of tones in the image. We use a colour filter to bring out detail and finally do some spot editing with Silver Efex control points.
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black and white
I'm going to tell you to do something I think you all know in your hearts that you should do - "post the pictures you love". It sounds almost fatuous but it's harder to stick to than you might think. For example, I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with Welshot Imaging last weekend - normally I'm teaching workshops for Welshot so it's nice to attend one for a change and the teacher, Adrian Wilson, was excellent. We were there to learn about HDR photography and we'd made arrangements to visit Liverpool Cathedral for a few hours to shoot some material to process later.
I have a twisted streak that likes to subvert things so I'd been wondering how I could do something using HDR that didn't fit the stereotype of how HDRs usually look. I settled on two ideas and shot for them all day - black and white HDR and shallow depth of field HDR. I'm pretty happy with the results and you can see my complete collection of images from that day on Google+ and 500px but that's not what this article is about. I want to talk about selecting which images to show.
I've been posting the pictures one by one over a few days after spending some time with each and deciding if I really like it enough to post it. I came to the picture you see above of the staircase and I very nearly didn't post it. You see I'd been shooting HDRs inside a beautiful old cathedral all day surrounded by amazing stonework detail, high ceilings and stained glass windows. And this picture I was considering was just a wooden staircase - and a fairly modern one at that. I imagined that people would think the staircase mundane and out of place. So I vacillated for a while and eventually decided to post it. And to my surprise it gathered the most comments of any picture in the collection (on 500px).
The reason I shot that picture and the reason it was in contention for posting was simply that I find it visually pleasing with the lines that guide the eye and strong contrasts and detail. There are lots of diagonals to keep feeling dynamic and the contrast between the wooden stairs and the stonework is pleasing to me. It's one of my favourites from the day. But it's not really what you'd expect to see in a cathedral picture and I very nearly let that be my guide for what to post. So I have a simple call to action for you:
Find a picture you love but didn't post because you thought others might not appreciate it. Now post that sucker!
Today we finish Tutorial 22 with some split toning and finishing work that give this image a lot more character and interest using Adobe Lightroom 3.
In the second chapter of our free lightroom 3 video tutorial we spend some time evening up the light on our Tender Touch image doing what I call a hand-made tone mapping to bring out detail through the whole image and make it ready for our final split toning step next week.
Today we start a new tutorial working on a tricky image with strong shadows and highlights. We use Lightroom first to recover some detail on those areas and then we do a black and white mix to bring out interesting detail throughout. Add in some dodging and burning, vignette and an interesting split tone and we'll be all finished. This tutorial majors heavily on the decision making process with an image. I talk a lot about what I'm trying to achieve with the picture and how I'm going to get there.