Dublin based photographer Joe Houghton enthused Ilkley Camera Club members on 22 January via Zoom as he offered a masterclass in post-production techniques using Lightroom software. Best of all, he used members’ own images to show how to maximise the quality of the results. The event formed this year’s Presidents’ Evening.
“My mantra,” said Joe, “is subject, background, corners. I select what is to be the main subject in my image and crop appropriately. As I do that I think about how the background contributes to the image – am I leaving appropriate space around the subject and are there objects that detract which I would rather leave out or remove. Finally I look round the edge of the images, especially the corners, in case there are distractions I need to deal with.”
With this in mind Joe explained that he crops early on in the process. He goes on to deal with burnt out highlights and underexposed areas. Only then does he look at the overall exposure and the range from dark to bright in the image. “I can make the image really ‘ping’ by applying some subtle adjustments,” commented Joe, as with a few touches he brought an image fully to life. He was particularly excited about the new ‘texture’ control which operates only in the areas of higher detail to provide some stunning sharpness. For landscapes and portraits, he prefers this tool to the ‘clarity’ tool which can appear clunky, though it does have a well-deserved place in urban night-time shots, particularly enhancing wet streets.
“I also love the ‘de-haze’ tool,” said Joe. “This is particularly effective in the distant part of landscapes and seems to tackle the blurring effect of water-vapour in the air.” The clone tool is also in Joe’s armoury as it is ideal to block out distractions, notably little areas at the edge of images which can draw the eye away from the subject. With these and many other ideas, short-cuts and tips, members found the evening thoroughly absorbing.