Photography Filters & Editing RAW.
In my last post I showed some filters I use. Here are some examples using these filters.
Above shows the very sublte difference between no UV filter and one attached. It has a lesser impact on digital camera sensors than it used to on film and it varies between cameras. I choose to have one pretty much permanently attached to my lens more for protection from dirt and drops than anything else, especially as my lens will be open when I take off with it on my drone. These images are unedited jpegs straight off the Sony RX100III camera.
A Polarizing filter has a much bigger impact on an image. Above, I’ve shown how simply placing a clean pair of Polarized sunglasses over the lens can reduce reflections from water surfaces, alowing you to see through it better. As it also lets less light through to the image sensor, either speed, ISO or apeture needs to be adjusted to compensate – in the case above, I used a slower shutter speed. A proper filter will give sharper results and can be rotated more easily to give the result required. Of all the filters, I believe a Polarizing filter is the most important one to add to your kit as similar results can not be achieved in post processing. This is also a great filter to use in the snow as it results in better details in the highlights.
Another filter that in certain situations such as the extreme example above, can avoid issues that can not be fixed in post processing is the Graduated Neutral Density filter. This filter is darker at the top and gradually becomes lighter at the bottom (as can be seen in the sky on the image at right) – it can also be used sideways or on angles. You can see above in these unedited images, in order to get some detail in the hedge at the bottom, the top tree branches are almost completely blown out with no filter and can not be recovered even from a RAW image in post processing.
To demonstrate the advantage of using the RAW format, the above image was edited – or post processed in Photoshop from the RAW version of the previous jpeg image with Graduated ND filter. This image is pushed pretty hard to show just how much extra data or detail can be recovered from highlights and shadows of a RAW image, compared to a jpeg, resulting in much better end results.
Above shows the basic settings I generally start with to edit a daytime landscape shot. I have developed my own style of editing RAW photos based on what I like – which is including detail thoughout the range of light to dark. It depends on the image – subject, lighting and the feeling I want to convey – how I move the sliders at the right.
Most aspects of any image can now be adjusted in post and as long as an area isn’t too under exposed or highlight blown out, mistakes in the camera can be corrected – you can make an otherwise ordinary picture – extraordinary! Of course though, it does help to get a half decent shot to begin with. From my own experience and the way I like to edit my images, I’ve found it is better to slightly under expose an image than risk highlights blowing out, as detail can be recovered better from shadows – to a point.
There are many more advanced techniques, like selective editing, layering and blending that I also sometimes use. To view my photos, browse my Flickr photostream.
If you wish to learn more about photography and editing, head over to Trey Ratcliff’s inspirational and very informative site: Stuck in Customs.