Reflection of Week Four’s Lesson

This week, we focused on editing photographs and different techniques to enhance through Photoshop.

To begin, we were taught different ways to select images and rank them. Ranking images has been a practice across many years for photographers. I ranked my images through a ‘tagging system’ . My favourite images I tagged with a red marker. I then compiled these images in a separate folder and ranked them again with a purple marker. I then selected all the purple marked images and put them in a separate folder. I continued with this process until I was left with the best images. I found this technique works best for me because I get distracted or find it difficult to remove images and will compare them too much instead of going off what image is visually appealing automatically or has the most potential.

Other techniques could have included giving them a ‘star rating’ through Windows and organising the fodler based upon the star rating. Furthermore, I could have used photo ranking apps such as ‘Photo Feeler’ which gives unbiased feedback on your photographs and asks a third party to rank them. I did not use these applications as I feel that I understand my tasks more and need to develop skills such as choosing photographs, and I shouldn’t rely on a third party for this.

Once selecting my best images, I worked on them in Photoshop. One thing we spoke about in class was light and colour correction. The best way to edit photographs is to duplicate the layer of the original file. Once doing this, add an adjustment layer which essentially opens a dialogue with the image and enables you to step backwards if you’re not too keen on the editing technique you just used. It is a way to constantly develop, but not ruin your image. ‘A safety line’ in case you dive too deep with editing.

One of my favourite images is of an elderly lady (pictured below) at a newsagent market stall. I enjoyed editing the photograph as there was so much existing variety of colour, to enhance this only improved the image. My first adjustment was to change the ‘Levels’. Levels adjusts the brightness, tonal range and contrast. When doing so, I found that the hair of the elderly woman was still over-exposed. Ruth showed me that Levels has an inverse option, and when lowering the brightness through this method, although making the overall image darker, her hair was more visual. I then cropped the image and applied a grid to use the ‘Rule of Thirds’.

The rule of thirds is a crop to conform to ascetically pleasing rules. The subject model should be on one of the lines of the grid, as this enhances the focus on the subject. Ruth advised that in portrait styled images, similar to mine, she always places the eye on the line. When cropping the image, you should only crop to a standard ratio. Standard ratios come from analogue paper sizes. We still use them, even when publishing online to maintain consistency. The only reasons you should crop an image is as follows:

  • To remove things ethically. Ethically means that a photojournalist should not remove an item that changes the story or the perception of the overall image. Just as a photojournalist would not add an object to a photograph to deceive the audience.
  • To focus on the subject.
  • To make the image more ascetically pleasing.

I used the rule of thirds and aligned the gridline to her right eye which incorporated the rule of thirds in my image, as it previously didn’t confirm with this. I then cropped the image to remove the chewing gum stand as the bright colours of the stand took away from the subject.

The images below show a before and after:

Before:

An uneditted version of an elderly woman behind a newsagents in Kirkgate market. She is behind the counter so you can only see her from the wasit up.
The unedited image of Humans of Leeds: Elderly Woman

After:

An elderly woman who is an employee at a newsagents in Kirkgate Market. She is stoof behind the counter and smiling into the camera. You can see her body from the hips up as she is behind a counter.
F-Stop is 7.1 and Focal Length is 21mm.

 

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