If you've followed my blog for a while you'll know that every once in a while someone comes along and says something like "your photographs are crap, you just Photoshop them to make them look good". Now, I don't really want to initiate yet another discussion about that particular can of worms (there was a great discussion on the topic when I posted this entry) but I do want to mention one aspect of that debate …

As I mentioned when I posted my last entry, I'm running quite a few one-to-one training sessions while back in the UK. The three I'm running later this week are centred around post-production, but the two day session I ran over the weekend combined shooting and post-production: specifically, how to relate one to the other. Or, put another way, how an understanding of post-production can be used to inform the shooting process; in terms of things like what to shoot, how to optimise the initial exposure, how to visualise the final image, and so on.

So, on Saturday morning we headed down to Blackpool beach looking for things to shoot. We photographed the North Pier, an abandoned shopping trolley, a plastic cup, the clouds, and a whole range of other scenes. We also took a range of images that were quite similar to this one, i.e. 'nothing' shots: with mostly dull and dark foregrounds, a grey flat sky, a bit of sand and water, but not much else. In short, scenes with little apparent merit. At this point, if you haven't already done so, take a look at the original and you'll see what I mean.

What I wanted to get across, and what I hope the final image demonstrates, is that the scene was interesting, at least potentially. There was detail in the sky (once the contrast was increased), the natural colours could be enhanced (and/or changed), the detail in the foreground sand and water was interesting, … and so the list goes on.

In other words, the initial capture is just a step along the way, not an end point in its own right, and sometimes even the dullest of original scenes can provide the raw material out of which you can craft something a lot more compelling. Whether you think I was successful on this occasion is an entirely different question, but I'm pleased with the end result.

captured
camera
lens
focal length
aperture
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
ISO
flash
image quality
RAW converter
plugins (etc)
cropped?
9.19am on 9/10/10
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
24mm
f/8.0
1/50
aperture priority
+2/3
evaluative
200
no
RAW
ACR
none
1x1
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