The Rolling Hills of Pilansburg
Over the Christmas and New Year Holiday period here in the UK I decided to try and dedicate some time to Scott Kelby's "Kelby Training" website. It was pretty miserable outside and not in a way that I wanted to go out walking with the camera.
In particular I wanted to look at Matt Kloskowski's Adobe Lightroom 4 training video's. They're so in depth and educational it's unreal. I would strongly advise anyone of any ability level to take a look. I'm convinced that you'll learn at least a few things that will add some value to your current work flow. I never miss a chance to listen to what a pro of the field has to say. Even in 10 years time I'll be listening and looking for tips from people like Matt Kloskowski to ensure I know as much as I can to benefit my clients and the images I provide for them
Now, I consider myself to be quite good with LightRoom 4. I've edited more photo's than I can remember using the application and have arrived a style that I think suits me and the images I make. I find that I can stamp my style on any image whether it be a picture from a wedding or a landscape shot from a holiday. However, I always find the more I learn the less I know about it. After watching one of Matt's video's: 'Lightroom 4 In-Depth – Importing, Organizing and Exporting Your Photos ' I realised that I was doing so many manual and time-intensive things. Not necessarily doing it wrong, but I could be saving myself a whole load of time and getting images to my clients even faster.
I decided to put some of the tips from the video into play as I was watching and I must say I now have an extremely organised and library of images populated with keywords that I manage and maintain all within Lightroom itself. It's a far better way of working for me and one that allows me to find, sort and work images quicker than before.
'The Rework Collection'
Upon the released of LightRoom 4 I said to myself that I'd go back through my best 100 images (at least) and re-edit them using the new powers that LR 4 came with, but I just never got around to it. I edited 1 or 2 then gave up through frustration and lack of time. I now see that the frustration was somewhat self-caused!
Now that I've got this streamlined and nicely functioning library of images I went through and starred some and marked some to start with. Just creating a collection of images that I liked that I felt I could improve upon my first edit attempt. I then began re-working them. I setup a collection called 'The Rework Collection'. I consider it to be some of my favorite shots from my library that I'm basically retouching with some of the tips and tricks learnt from Matt's video. This was one of them:
This was a shot i took at the Pilansburg Game Reserve in South Africa. I went out in September and then again in November 2011. I actually didn't take my DSLR with me on my first trip out as I feared I'd get mugged for looking too much like a tourist. Fortunately for me however a colleague of mine had a Sony Alpha DLSR that he happily lent me for the day.
It may sound elementary to some, but I made much better use of the highlight and shadow clipping tools when turning this image black and white to get the black and white to appear just how I wanted. When I initially edited this image (Before the new knowledge from the Matt Kloskowski video) It always seemed washed out and never quite pleasing enough to the eye that I'd consider showing it. I'd therefore dismiss the image as not good enough. However, I hardly ever throw away an image that looks like it may have some potential for the very reason that one day the latest incarnation of Lightroom (or some other software) may have the ability to help me pull more of the image back and give me something that I want to make from the image. I'm quite pleased with this effort though.
I'm not one for huge amounts of photo-shopping I'm not a fan of moving heads, removing tree's or opening eyes or things like that. Nothing quite so mad-scientist. I like to keep my images real, artistic and not too far from the image as my eyes (and mind) see things. Not too far removed from reality. I hope you like?