Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Interpretative processing

Following on from our realistic processing in the previous exercise, we now have the freedom to process an image to our creative desire. From one image we are to create three different interpretations.

I have have started by creating a list of styles and looks that have come to mind whilst thinking about this exercise. They are as follows:
  • Bold and crash colouring in the style of Martin Parr. Highly saturated and contrasty images. Push the primary colours.
  • Gritty Reality used by various artists. Highly sharpened images that take on a look as if they have been drawn.
  • Black & white, a classic style.
  • Desaturated and softened like a watercolour painting.
From these styles it appears to me that one of my coastal pictures might fit the bill with references to Martin Parr's 'Last Resort', black and white representing the British history in sea-side entertainment and perhaps the watercolour referring back to the posters of the 20' and 30's.

I looked through my images and chose the one below. I have processed this one before but thought it would be good to start again from scratch. Therefore the image below is the original Raw converted to Jpeg with all its previous processing removed. This serves as our base reference picture.

The original image. 1/8000 @ F1.8, ISO 100, EF85mm.
The first edit is in Martin Parr style. For this I am going to increase the saturation and contrast as a starting point. In Lightroom I have made a virtual copy so that I can keep all the different edits separate. The processing carried out to achieve this effect was as follows: warm up with manual white balance, increase the contrast,increase blacks,increase saturation in HSL and finally re-adjust the white balance again.

Martin Parr style.
After finishing this edit I looked through a series of Martin parr images again. I am pleased with how this came out and think it achieved what I set out to do. I am not happy with the sky though. This really needs cropping out as it looks grubby. I did attempt to give it a graduated blue filter but this didn't help. For completeness I have included the cropped version at the end of this exercise.

For my next interpretation I have chosen classic black & white processing. I would like this image to represent a traditional black and white photograph as opposed to a black & white version of a colour image. To aid with this I have cropped the image to a square format, resembling a medium format 2 1/4 inch square camera.

I spent some time in my RAW processor with various settings and achieved the following. Briefly, I started out setting the white balance and exposure and then worked on various colour channels. I found I had to re-set the exposure several more times during the process. Finally I added some grain.

Old school black & white.
I am very happy with the result and think it does look like an old photograph. I do have one issue with the finished photograph though. The grain is very unrealistic and I may have overdone the quantity a bit.

For my final edit I am processing the image as softly as possible to make it look like a water colour picture. In Photoshop, this is fairly easy to achieve with post processing. My interpretation of the brief is that I need to try and achieve this during the RAW conversion so will not have the luxury of post processing. Therefore I will try and get this effect using solely Lightroom.

The characteristics of the type of image I am trying to create are soft, pastel colours with'blocked out' details.

I kept the same crop as above and after a lot of playing around, this is what I came up with.

A painterly effect.
As mentioned, I know I would have been able to get it closer to a painting in Photoshop but this has all been done in the RAW processor. It took a lot of adjustments but generally speaking the effect is based on softening and blurring. Even though the image is not quite as painterly as I had hoped for, I am still pleased I managed to get this end result.

Finally, below is the cropped Martin Parr style image.

Martin Parr style cropped.