Have you ever been somewhere and seen something that captured your imagination and wanted to save the memory forever, maybe framing it for you wall? Creating your own artwork?
Whether you are an aspiring pro-photographer or simply want to take better shots here is a breakdown of how I produced this photograph just for you;
I was walking in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona, it's very beautiful in a crumbling sort of way and to be fair there are lots of lovely photo opportunities. I took my small but trusty Canon G15 with me. It's pocket-sized but packs a punch with lots of fancy and useful features, you can shoot in RAW, JPEG or both.
I just wanted to capture some moments while on a long weekend break and have a bit of fun, so I set the camera to P, similar to Auto but this allowed me to adjust the exposure up or down a notch (f-stop) to create a bit more atmosphere and to regain a bit of control.
The light was gently stroking the building and lighting up the moped in the distance. I like photographs with people in them, but this empty scene spoke to me, it held a story. The light, the solitary moped, the sense of anticipation stopped me in my tracks. I quickly lifted the camera, composed the scene so that the arch framed the picture and took the shot. Then we drifted on to a lovely Tapas bar.
As we wandered I quickly shot scenes I liked, often when the light was playing beautiful games across the buildings, or casting dramatic shadows. As we passed one of the tiny roads I spotted this.
Back home, and after downloading the shots, I stopped at this one and decided to convert it to black and white. Here is my process; I used photoshop, but you can use any photo-editing software, you can even approximate it in your smartphone, if it's one of the newer models.
Open in Photoshop
Desaturate by moving the saturation slider to the left
(you find this under Image>adjustments>hue/saturation)
This leaves the image looking a bit 'thin' so time to get some atmosphere back.
Lets adjust the Levels.
CTL L opens up the dialogue box, then:
Move the left hand slider along (dark tones)
Move the middle slider to the right (mid-tones)
So from this...
I'm happy with this, there is just enough light to show some detail in the blacks.
Next I want highlight the light areas. I do with with the dodge tool. See below.
I only use 5% or less in 'highlights' for a delicate touch. Right click on the image to get your brush and wipe it over the areas you want to highlight, a bit like painting.
Next, sharpen the image. I don't want to sharpen too much-this can ruin a photo.
Go to Filter>sharpen>unsharp mask and use similar settings shown below. Play around until you get something that works for you.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.