Photography is one part technical and one part artistic. Many people may argue that once you have an image in camera, that is where photography ends. Others prefer to use processing techniques to enhance the camera image, and make it match their vision more closely – their artistic rendering.
So which is right – to process or not to process?
That one is up for debate but the topic for this month's challenge is to get processing some images. Try some things and experiment. If you've never done it before, now is a good time to try it and see if you like it. You can always go back to not processing later. Or if you are a regular image processor, it's also a good time to check out some new ideas, techniques and methods you would never use on your own images.
Yes that's right I'm going to give you FIVE of my own images (JPG and DNG files) to play with!
Winner of last month's challenge – simplify
There was a boat load of entries and comments on last month's challenge to simplify. I read all the comments and looked at all the images. Here are a few things I heard you learning:
- I love intimate landscapes and usually use telephoto. I was surprised to discover I could make a minimalist image at 24mm. – Barbara F Smith
- Darlene, Your challenge was perfectly timed. Our local club, The Southern Colorado Photography Society, held their annual outing downtown Pueblo (snip). Having photographed the area many times, your challenge gave me a new perspective, so to speak, and shaped my entire shooting experience for the day. One of the things about your challenge is it got me focusing on elements of design. So on the photo walk, I was looking for tonal ranges, shapes, leading lines, etc. – David Hayden
- This challenge was a great one as it gave me an opportunity to look closer and more critically at what I choose to photograph. By this I mean to focus more on what I see, and in so doing, look at different ways to capture it. I'm sometimes too “trigger happy” and just want to take the shot without really looking at how else the scene can be captured. A great lesson learned. – Folake Abass
- I learned from this lesson, it's not all about the gear, it's what you see before you and how you capture it. – P James
- I went to shoot Waterton lakes at sunset with my brother, but we didn't have the amazing colors we were hoping for, and I was disappointed until I remembered this challenge and decided to focus on “simplify”. The view was amazing and almost overwhelming of mountains and lakes, so I got some decent shots of the whole view, but the ones I really like, are the ones where I focused on one element. – Rebecca Cullimore
- I always tend to put too much in a picture in order to share the emotion of the subject. Thank you for reminding me that often, less tells more! – Solange Paquette
- When I was reviewing the images, I realized that even a simple picture can tell a larger story. Looking at the bike hub, you can see the dirt and grease that tells you this bike is not a showpiece. It's *used*. The bolt has a little rust on it, which can tell you that it was left outside a few times, or at least it got a little wet. But you can also see that the spokes, frame, and paint are in good condition, so it does get *some* care. That also reminded me that you can sometimes tell a better story if you leave details out. – Wayne Werner
And the winner of the Simplify challenge is . . .
Each month we randomly select one winner from all the eligible entries and this month it was:
Lynne – who took this fabulous “simple” image of a New Zealand Koru fern. She will be getting five her her images reviewed privately by me. Congratulations!
Details of this month's challenge – get processing
First of all you you need to download the images to participate in this challenge. You can download either the full raw files (as DNGs) or full JPGs (unedited straight from the raw files). If you are using a free software or an online one, use the JPGs. If you are familiar with processing raw files grab the DNGs.
Download them by clicking on the one you want, then clicking the down arrow at the top of the screen to save it to your computer. Please DO NOT upload your finished files to these folders this is for downloading only!
They are large files – so they may take a while to download. If you have trouble let me know.
There are many ways, and many tools with which to process images. My tools of choice are mostly Lightroom and Photoshop, with a few plugins on the side. If you have Lightroom or Photoshop you can check out some of these for tips:
- Using the Basic Sliders in Lightroom and Photoshop; a Comprehensive Tutorial
- Correct Your Images in Under 2 Minutes Using Lightroom 5
- Clarity Versus Contrast and How to Use Them to Make Your Photos Pop
- How to Create a Neat Text Effect in Photoshop
- Making Art With Your Photography
- How to Give Your Pictures an Authentic Vintage Appearance
If you don't have or use either of those you could try out some of the free options available such as:
- Snapseed (it's not free but it's only a few bucks and works on your tablet or mobile devices only – get the Android version here – or for iOS devices here.
So if you want to see what I did with the images provided here are a few versions I've used different places:
To be eligible to win the prize:
In order to participate in this challenge and be eligible for this prize you need to:
- Upload your processed version of one of the images provided to the comments section below
- Tell us how you processing it (what software or online tools, what things did you try and apply).
- Tell us about your experience and what you learned by doing this challenge? Is this your first time processing images? How did it feel? Did you enjoy it? Was it fun? Did you feel creative? If you're not new to processing – did you try a new technique? Tell us about that.
- Upload your photo, processing info and what you learned by the cut-off date of August 31st, 2016 (11:59 pm EST or UTC-5). NOTE: please do NOT save your images as TIF (they will be too big to add in the comments, must be under 2mg) and please do NOT email your images to me for critique. I cannot give personal critiques by email, leave your images below and I will comment there..
- Indicate whether you use a Mac or a PC (this will dictate eligibility for prizes, see bel0w)
Please note: if you do NOT fulfill all the steps above your entry will not be valid. Just adding the photo will NOT be counted as an entry. I want to hear about it too please. The point of these challenges is to help you learn something new – tell me about that.
You may post more than one finished photo, and do this as many times as you like over the month (you can comment as many times as you like, and share as many processed versions of the photos provided as you want – but it will be counted as one entry per person). The more you practice the better you’ll get at it, like anything – so share away. I also encourage you to share the link to this challenge with a friend, so you can do it together!
This month’s winner (selected randomly) will receive a set of our Lightroom Presets (value $29).
Update: August 1, 2016 Macphun has graciously added a copy of their Creative Kit software, a $179 software package for Macintosh computers, for a second winner ( mac only).
Macphun Creative Kit
6 powerful photography apps and over 500 creative tools inside a single, easy-to-use pack. Creative Kit elevates your photo editing experience and helps achieve fantastic results faster than ever before.
Now get processing and let's see what you come up with!