Tutorial Tuesday



I have always hesitated doing tutorials on my blog only because I didn't feel confident enough as a photographer. Looking back over this past year doing this 365 challenge I can see how far I have come and how much I have learned along the way. To be honest, I have always been intimidated by the true professionals and feared the criticism that would come from any of my photography tips and facts I threw out into the blogosphere. I have met so many awesome down to earth photographers like myself who happily share tutorials all the time and through that I have been inspired to start sharing what I have learned. I realize every photographer is different and everybody learns in different ways but if I can be helpful at all and help at least one photographer grow a little bit in their skill then it's worth putting myself out there.

So, I have decided to start Tutorial Tuesday. I welcome any input on topics you would like to see covered. In the past I have had people ask me for step by step instructions on how I obtained the end result of a certain photo. So, for now I am going to choose one of my photos from the last week and tell you from start to finish how I got the end result of that photo breaking it down into as simple of terms as possible, because...well...that's me...simple. 

A lot of my photography and editing is trial and error to be honest, but if I can cut down some trial and error for you and help you with a quicker end result than I have succeeded in reaching my goal.

I will also work on having some guest posters for you as well because there's just too many awesome photogs out there that you just need to meet and learn from.

So, let's get started...
This was my most popular photo of the week so I figured I would start with this one.

CHOOSING MY SUBJECT
First off, if you read the post with this picture you will see that I actually picked up this leaf as I was leaving the library and brought it home with me. The patio outside my apartment is all wood so I knew it would make a nice backdrop for this leaf. I have used our patio many times for the backdrop in my photos. It adds a nice touch to most any object.

SETTING UP THE SHOT
When I got home, I laid the leaf down on the patio and laid down on my belly on my apartment floor and shot out the door so I was slightly above eye level with the leaf.  I used my 70-200mm lens because it has the lowest f-stop of all my lenses and I wanted a really good blur.  It was mid-day when I took this shot, but I had enough shadow on the patio that my leaf wasn't being hit directly by the harsh sun. Natural light is the absolute best for these shots; for most shots really.

SETTINGS
I shoot Manual/RAW which I highly suggest for everyone. I will cover the importance of that in another post. Typically, I would have had my ISO set at 100 but for some reason my camera has been acting goofy and I have had to make odd adjustments so for this photo my ISO was set to 400.  On bright sunny days you typically will only need to set it to 100. My focal length was 200mm. My f-stop was at f/3.5 and shutter speed was set at 1/200sec. No, I don't sit there and choose out these settings deliberately. I realize now I didn't have my f-stop down as low as it could go, but that's ok. I typically set my f-stop as low as it will go and then adjust my metering wheel until the lines have disappeared on my meter. Because I was able to rest my arms on the floor I didn't feel the need to up my shutter speed.

POST-PROCESSING
 I imported my photo into LR (lightroom). I use presets a lot because they make my job easier. For this preset I used Brightside/Strong.  TRA (Totally Rad Actions) offers some free LR presets which is where I got this one.  I then upped my Highlight Recovery, decreased my clarity, upped my vibrance, decreased my yellow luminance, upped my orange luminance and increased my highlight and shadow tones. I just adjusted these settings till I had it how I liked it. This is how it looks in LR.

 I realize everyone has different editing software. I use LR and am just now learning how to use PE (Photoshop Elements). I mostly use PE for textures and watermarking right now. If you don't have editing software and you plan on enhancing your photography skills, I would most definitely invest in some. As a matter of fact, B&H is offering 50% off the LR software through today, Oct 4 normally priced at $300! Talk about a deal! Get it while you can!  If you can't afford the more expensive software like LR, there are plenty of free options out there but obviously with a lot more restrictions. Picnik is a good site and they have a very minimal annual fee. You can try it out for free.

ADDING TEXTURE AND WATERMARK
After I finished my edits in LR, I saved my photo and then opened it in PE. I used a free texture from Kim Klassen called barn wall. First I opened my leaf photo and then opened the texture I wanted. I then dragged the texture on top of my photo and selected Ctrl+T to be able to adjust the size of the texture to cover the entire photo. I then adjusted the Opacity to my preference and then used the eraser tool to erase over the leaf to remove the texture from the leaf and enhance the leaf to stand out from the texture.  I then added my watermark on top of that by selecting the Marquee Tool and dragging it across the bottom part of my photo. Next I selected the Brush tool and chose the color white and adjusted the Opacity to 35% and colored in the selected area. Then I selected the Horizontal Type Tool tool and typed in my text.

This tutorial is already so long so next week I will cover in more detail how to add textures and text in PE as well as alternate ways to watermark your photos.  I realize not everyone likes watermarking their photos. Some photogs find it a nuisance when we do, but it's everyone's choice whether they want to or not.

Hope this was helpful to someone. Feedback is always welcome.







16 comments:

Katie said...

I love your tutorial! Taking one of your photos and giving the background story and how to is so helpful to me as a struggling wanna be photographer. I know a whole lot more than I did six months ago; however, I still feel like such a newbie. Great tips.

missing moments said...

Very nice tutorial! I always love reading how others do their edits.

trav4adventures said...

I LOVE your tutorial! I don't have any editing software besides Picnik. Too scared to go beyond that. I haven't done texturing either, but I love your final pic! I see a big difference between the original one and the final one! However, I'm such a purist, I'd probably stick with my original shots!

Maboe said...

Thank you for your tutorial! I use iPhoto, Picnik and Gimp myself.

Kristin said...

I love that you're doing this Misty! I absolutely love hearing what's going through a persons mind when they're taking and processing a photo, so you can bet I'll be looking forward to Tuesday every week!

Christina said...

This is great! For those of us who are still learning, and want to be better, this helps. It provides inspiration too. Thank you!

Tara said...

great tutorial! I think about doing tutorials, but it seems extremely time consuming? To screen shot and figure out how to do all that LOL.

Ashley Sisk said...

I think this is an excellent idea - let me know if you want a guest spot during Shoot and Edit. :)

Cottage Sisters said...

I love that you are doing tutorials. Being new to photography and trying to learn how to improve on my photography and editing, I appreciate photographers who share how they do things.....Thank you! Denise

Courtney said...

GREAT post, Misty! I know exactly what you mean - I'm not sure I feel confident to teach anyone anything about photography. But I think you did a fantastic job! Beautifully done!

Amber said...

Way to go Misti! I am glad you stepped out on a limb, as we all can share something that will benefit another.

This photo is beautiful. I just love the texture and the warmth. Now, I just keep wishing I had LR. Christmas will probably bring me my wish.

Kim said...

Great tutorial. I just got Lightroom this weekend. SO I have to learn how to do it. I am clueless. I have read such awesome things about it, though. I use CS5 and ACR, but can't wiat to see what LR can do.

Kara said...

Great idea, and awesome work! I LOVE the leaf shot. This is fabulous. :)

lisa said...

What a wonderful idea Misty, and I am really looking forward ot these! Thank you for sharing!

Nadege, said...

Great tutorial. It is nice to hear how others go about their editing.

Light Trigger said...

very useful tips!we can always learn from others experience! Great week!