Flight, Greens,

Histogram is Nothing

There are many articles out in the web which explains Histogram in detail and technically as well. But this article is intended to demonstrate histogram in a simple way without going into in-depth technical details.

I have chosen a simple Black & White image to demonstrate it, because that is what the Histogram is fundamentally. Yes – “the graphical representation of luminescence level of each pixel in an any given image”.

Mountain and a waterfalls engulfed by mist.

Mountain and a waterfalls engulfed by mist.

Have a detailed look at the image, the top right portion of the image is covered by fog and it is bright. The bottom left of the image is covered by rocks and it is dark. Draw an imaginary diagonal line across the image from top left to bottom right. Now look again, it would be easy now to understand. The fog portion comes under whites and the rock portion comes under Blacks. Look at the respective Histogram below.

Histogram

Histogram of the above photograph.

If you look at the photograph – almost the dark & light pixels are equal(quantity wise). Isn’t it.? Now look at the Histogram, isn’t the same data displayed here in the histogram clearly? The light pixels are on the right side of the histogram and the dark pixels are on the left side. That’s it. In between, the connecting pixels are mid tones, which you can again see it on the image as well. Across the diagonal line, the tones on both sides of the line will fall on mid tones except the top left of the image, where it will fall under blacks.

HistogramOne more thing we have to understand is, any white area on the image will fall on the right side of the histogram, whereas blacks will always fall on the left side. For example, turn the image 180° horizontally. Now the fog will appear on your left side and rock on the right side but the histogram would remain the same.

The same photograph but flipped.

The same photograph but flipped.

Hope this article clear your initial blocks towards understanding the histogram. For a detailed understanding of Histogram and why should one push the histogram towards right, I would recommend reading this article in dPS. In another article will discuss about types of Histogram.

Cheers and Happy photographing. 🙂

Advertisements

Ultraaaa wide

Recently I have been commissioned for to shoot for a dental hospital. It has surgical facility and all the associated laboratory facilities. Any person coming to the hospital with a dental problem can get all his needs attended to under a single roof.

To get on to the theme of this topic, this type of indoor shoot sessions need to be preplanned and made execution-ready with a certain thoroughness and seriousness. This would apply to all shoots that need to backed by a weighty commitment. I fixed an appointment with the client a week ahead, to firm up on the schedule and locations of the shoot. I also had a long discussion with the client about how they want the photographs, and for what purpose they want, in an attempt to understand what are their intentions/ideas are and the use the photographs are going to be put to. I came to know during the conversation that they are putting up a website to show to the world the facilities/competencies they have. It was, at this point of time, important to understand the level of lighting that needs to be maintained at the time of the shoot session. The choice/trade-off was between using auxiliary/sophisticated lighting at extra cost or use existing lighting/minimal equipment and bring out the best possible pictures under the circumstances. Needless to say, the customer wants pictures that would be used in a marketing showcase, be it in digital form or print form(web, brochures etc.).

I surmised that the shoot can be done only by ultra-ultra wide lenses and I selected Canon 16-35mm f2.8 L II as my boy along with Canon EOS 5D M III as my recorder and Canon 50mm prime f1.8 for few portraits of the staffs. This shoot is not really an artistic portrait, you don’t have to look out for exotic views or angles as the photographs are meant for the general public (patients too). Simplicity and neatness are the key elements.

Simplicity

During the shoot I stick with one rule “Either keep the room’s vertical lines parallel with the vertical lines in the frame or horizontal lines in the room parallel with horizontal lines in the frame, if possible keep both. But definitely not without either, which will make something extraordinary or ugly. Even when you shoot this cautiously you will end up with a  noticeable amount of both barrel and pincushion distortions .

Lightroom comes in to rid the pictures of all the distortions and it does automatically if you select Auto for most of the lenses. Manual intervention is required for all the ultra-ultra wide lenses for manual correction might be necessary because automatic correction based on lens profiles are not very accurate when distortion levels are too high.  It is necessary to be careful while making corrections for distortions. You have to careful while correcting though.

Both of the photographs here have been corrected in Lightroom. Here is a quick peek into Lr Lens Corrections. The Lens correction panel has been further divided in to Profile, colour and Manual. The first sub panel “Basic” is the front control of the next two panels. If you check the check box all the auto correction will be applied by Lr. Even after the auto corrections, if you feel to fine tune it you have to click the respective panels. When shooting jpeg some older cameras might not provide lens information in the image file and in such cases we have to remember the lens used and later choose it in Lightroom’s Profile subpanel,  if it is present there and then Lightroom will apply the relevant corrections to the image.

Neatness

If you are not satisfied with the Lr’s Chromatic Aberration correction, you can do it manually by clicking the eye dropper directly on the image where the CA appears. You can easily find it out by viewing the image on 1:1 and for further fine tuning there are sliders. Finally the manual adjustments for lens distortion correction. The distortion slider fixes the pincushion distortion if you move the slider towards left, it fixes the barrel distortion if you move towards the right side. The vertical and horizontal slider fixes or adjusts any vertical/horizontal perspective correction if any, you wish. Rotate slider is to use it for any level correction or slight distortion too. Scale slider is to either stretch out or to squeeze in the image for any reason which may be because of the distortion correction you have applied or too much of perspective correction applied. Aspect slider is to enlarge or squeeze the image in one axis for some creative purposes and can be useful to fix images from certain heavily distorting lenses that stretches the image along one axis causing it to look skewed. Finally Constrain crop, I keep it checked all the time, so you don’t need to see the portion which is not going to be part of the photograph due to the corrections being applied. On a lighter note once the “Constrain crop” is checked here, the “Constrain to Warp” in crop tool is also being checked automatically.

It is not advisable to use the vignette here and I don’t use for the following reasons – a. The controls here are minimal – only Amount & Midpoint, these controls are  required to eliminate only the vignetting produced by the lens,  and so it is not very flexible when we want to create artistic vignetting effects b. If you have cropped the photograph and you have applied some vignette, you are not going to get the full result rather you might get some unimaginable result, because the vignette you apply here is for the full image, it won’t consider the crop you have made via crop tool.  I suggest you to use the Effects panel and use post crop vignette where you have more controls.

Heading back to Lens corrections in the Basic sub-panel at the lower level there are Level, Vertical, Full, Auto and off options. They are to correct the perspective corrections which I am not using because of following reason – I do my crop as my first correction in the develop module, while I crop I have to do the level corrections and if any perspective issue I switch to the Manual section in Lens correction panel as for the above photographs. So I am in no need to use the auto function, but I have heard from my friends that Auto does a neat job in most cases.

If you are interested in reading more about CA click here and have you heard about mustache / complex distortion or if you want to read more about distortion click here and write your thoughts in the comments section.

Cheers, Happy photographing.

“R” in Lr.

♦  The moment you Press ‘R’ from whichever the module you may be in Lightroom, you will be taken to develop module with crop tool activated, and the “rule of thirds” overlaid on your image. Check the screenshot Fig – 01 below.

ImageFig – 01 Crop tool activated and Rule of thirds overlaid on your image.

♦  Now it is your turn to select an aspect ratio and give a try. Select an aspect ratio from the drop down menu in the crop tool bar (the tool bar works on demand based, you can’t see unless you activate the crop tool), once you selected the aspect ratio the size of overlay will change on the image. Now drag the overlay as you wish – towards your right, left, up or down – literally recompose your shot by placing the overlay in relation with the prime subject in the photograph. Press enter or click close or press ‘R’ once you are done. Check the screenshot Fig – 02 below.

ImageFig – 02 Aspect ratio selected as 1 × 1 and encircled in red.

And note the remaining portion apart from the potential image area is dim already, which makes decision-making as an easy one.

♦  How about adjusting your image to perfect horizon or to perfect vertical.! There are two options to do it in Lr, either by clicking the spirit level symbol in the tool bar, click the spirit level (encircled in the screenshot Fig – 03) and draw a straight line on the horizon or when the crop tool is active, keep the cursor out from the image area and drag up and down, there will be more grid lines overlaid (which will act as reference lines) as you move the cursor and you will be in a better position to evaluate your image to make it perfectly horizontal or vertical.

Image

Fig – 03 Spirit level tool encircled in red.

♦  Want to make a free form crop, with your own aspect ratio !. Click the lock symbol to unlock and to make it free form, drag your cursor inside the image area from one top corner to another diagonally opposite corner to make your own crop. Check screenshot Fig – 04

Image Fig – 04 Lock symbol encircled.

♦  When you make lens profile corrections, possibilities are there to include the corrected portion (the edges mostly). To avoid that click constrain to warp, as in the screenshot. Once you make constrain to warp on, the image will be cropped after the correction or it can be applied alternatively in the lens correction panel also. Check screenshot Fig – 05

ImageFig – 05 with Constrain to Warp check box encircled.

Here is the most interesting part in this tool.
♦  Want to see how your image will look according to different compositional rules, Lightroom comes very handy here. Your crop tool is activated by pressing “R” and the rule of thirds is overlaid, at this juncture press “O” and watch the image area, the different compositional rules will be overlaid as you press “O” repeatedly. These options are in Lr to make your photograph a much better than you thought while clicking the shutter. Look at the screenshots below.

ImageFig – 06 Screenshot with diagonal rule of composition overlaid

ImageFig – 07 Screenshot with Rule of triangle overlaid.

Image

Fig 7-a. Screenshot with Rule of triangle applied in a reverse manner (read further below on how to activate that).

ImageFig – 08 Screenshot with Golden rule overlaid

ImageFig – 09 Golden spiral rule overlaid.

There are total five no. of rules can be displayed and applied to your photograph in Lightroom.

a. Rule of thirds

b. Diagonal rule of composition

c. The golden triangle

d. Golden ratio

e. Golden spiral

Out of these five rules “The golden triangle” and “Golden spiral” can have a different versions like in Fig – 7.a, which can be activated by pressing and holding Shift along with press “O”. You can do the same for Golden spiral rule too, it has more versions. Check out and comment below, what do you feel about that.

I wish Adobe Lightroom add “Rebatment of rectangle” too in to the rules list in their further releases, it is also interesting one. The light intensity of the rule lines can be controlled by pressing and holding “Ctrl” key. Apply the rules together with different aspect ratios, the options are too many to make a better photograph.

Cheers. Hope you enjoyed this article. If so share it with your friends, they might also like as you did.

Y Lightroom.

In a broad perspective,

 No layers – This is purely for people who are not good with the layers concept.

Non –linear editing – Which means you do any correction at any time, there is no order. Non-destructive – Yes, you do any correction you want, your original file is undisturbed. All the corrections are written as complex instruction files and applied over the originals.

Outstanding Image management – You can manage tens of thousands of your images in an unimaginable easy way via keywords, folders, color rating, star rating, flagging, unflagging, smart collections, quick collections and location tags.

Camera profiles – All the latest camera and lens profiles are preloaded and gets updated for the latest arrivals in the market periodically. Which means in one click you are fixing all the profile corrections. (Distortion, Vignette, Infringement etc, sometimes you have to fine tune manually because software are not smart enough as you are)

Presets – Any settings which you might be using repeatedly from importing photographs, local corrections, develop settings (global corrections), exporting images, can be saved as one single instruction called presets.

Plug ins – You can install external plug ins for further enhancement as well for exporting, HDR processing, backups etc., (Nik Efex, Enfuse, Mogrify, TPG Back up and many more)

Virtual copies – You make some standard corrections than you wish to make some experimental processing, you would love this virtual copies. Lr creates a small DNG file of exactly where you are now and you can do all your experiment there. I just love this.

No Layers

Whatever the enhancement you do to an image in Lr, it won’t make a layer and you don’t even know what exactly Lr does. What you see is the image gets adjusted according to the sliders movement. I just do not like the layers concept and this is purely personal, and I seen some of my friends who says Lr is confusing, it is because they might be started with Ps and they feel difficult to switch, it is also personal. On the above all this is not a post about which one is superior or inferior, you work in any of the one both goes to “adobe” and adobe is not the only one who makes layer based editing software. Or people who started photography before Lr are forced to use Ps, those all are difficult to change now the way they work, but as of now they might be having a huge collection which might require an outstanding organizing. Both has got its own uniqueness, thing is you don’t have to work on a pixel based editing software (Ps) for photography now (least processing).

Non-linear editing

It is a term derived from film editing world. To understand this properly we should know first what is linear editing. Linear editing is something you can do on a pre laid path you should start from the very first point and finish it at end only. You cannot do it otherwise. Non linear editing is you do anything at any point, no harm made to the originals. That is the reason it is non-destructive.

Outstanding Image management

In order to feel the power of this portion you should use this software. Few think that Lr is basically image management software but Lr got some outstanding image editing capabilities as well, way beyond. The filter options are highly customable from star ratings, flagging’s etc, it is very easy to find the very picture you want within seconds provided you also organized Lr well in a proper folder hierarchy, keywords, shoot name etc,

Presets

Whatever you do in Lr repeatedly you can create a preset and apply it whenever and wherever you want.  Like when you import your files you can apply the presets like the metadata presets which will be applying the copyright details, author name and all the metadata details. When you import you can actually apply develop presets as well like camera, lens profiling, standard sharpening (you can fine tune while working on the very image), White balance correction for a particular shoot, Camera sensor dust cleaning, Standard crops (aspect ratio corrections) if any, Tonal value adjustments these all you can do it while importing itself. Local corrections presets like skin smoothening, teeth whitening, eyebrow darkening, few are now pre loaded in the latest versions of Lr. When you work on your image you find some interesting process outcome save it and share it with friends. Make more virtual copies and try a lot. When it comes to Export presets you can configure the presets for different requirements, like image in Adobe RGB gamut for Prints, sRGB gamut for screen version, file sizes, different watermarks, and file output sizes.

Plug-ins

You can install external plug-ins for further enhancement of image or where Lr lacks that particular facility. I use Nik Silver Efex  for Black & white images and it is one of the smartest plug-in out there, that is why google has acquired Nik recently. I use Mogrify for borders and further sharpening which is a pretty decent plug-in and most importantly you do not have to go to Ps for borers. Enfuse is to make HDR images, very straight forward one, and there are lot of plug-ins now in the market.

The above are not an exhaustive list of what library & Develop module can do for you, it is more powerful that what you may think. I did not utter a word about Split toning section in develop module where you can add two colours in the form of Highlights and Shadows interestingly, Effects panel where you can add vignetting and grains to make the image more compelling. Before and after effects of an image in a click, before and after effects of a particular panel in a click. Detail panel where you do all the noise correction and sharpening (noise correction is one of the industry’s best apart from special softwares), Color panel where you can affect the individual colors by its Hue, saturation and luminescence values and an another tool called TAT (Target adjustment tool).

There are so many other features apart from Library and develop module like Map, Slideshow, Print, Book, and Web. I will write about it once I am well versed about that particular module.

Finally Lr would be loved by photographers who do not want to sit in front of computer for a long time.

If you are looking for to buy Lr, buy  good books to learn Lr, buy Nik, buy plug-ins click respectively.

Do grab this free ebook from Victoria Bambton, an ebook spreaded for 76 pages with a pretty decent intro into every module and every panels of Lr.

 

Thanks for reading, do share after you like this.

Image