Here’s another of the Roosevelt Island Tram. I thought it’d be cool to put everything in the shot in black and white and just leave the tram a nice bright red. It looks nice right?
Normally, something like this calls for Photoshop, but believe it or not, it is actually not so hard to do in Lightroom.
This shot is of a Romeo and Juliet sculpture in Central Park near the Delecorte Theatre. The theatre shows free Shakespeare plays in the summer. I thought looked particularly nice in black and white.
The vignetting effect on this shot was done using the Post-Crop vignetting panel in lightroom. There are actually two areas that control vignetting in lightroom. The first is under Lens Corrections. This area is more designed to correct for natural vignetting that occurs from lens imperfections. This type of imperfection will of course only show on the corners of your shot, and will disappear if you crop off the corners. Therefore, if you crop your shot, these lens correction vignetting adjustments will not “travel” with your crop.
Because people started using vignetting as an artistic effect, Adobe added the Post-Crop Vignetting panel under Effects. Like the name says, the vignetting here will be maintained on any crop of your photo. There are various styles of vignetting that you can do here and you can experiment with them yourself.
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
Not too long ago (before 2008), in order to get this shot with an SLR, one had to look through the glass viewfinder. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy looking directly at the sun, it’s not so good for your eyes.
If I’m shooting directly (or semi-directly) at the sun like this, I’ll try to use the LCD to compose my shot to avoid looking at the sun.
Another tip for these shots is that usually the sun will make the shot very hazy, but that is just the nature of the beast. In order to rectify this, I use high contrast and the blacks slider in Lightroom.
Some photos work in black and white, some don’t. My friend James, has a philosophy that if the color isn’t contributing anything, he just removes it.
Personally, (and this is just my opinion) , that’s too extreme for me. My default is to keep my photos in color and only go to black and white on two occasions. (1) if my shot really works in b&w or (2) if the color is very distracting and doesn’t work in the shot.
In Lightroom, you can get to black and white quickly by pressing the letter “V.” This will give the photo a default b&w mix. You’ll then need to tweak how each color responds to grayscale treatment. For shots with lots of sky, it helps to force the cyan and blue to be dark grey or even black because this will make the clouds pop out of the sky.
Other settings to play with are the white balance, fill light, blacks, and exposure. When I get something nice, I often add this as a preset so I can apply the same b&w mix to similar shots. For information on how to have even greater control over your black and whites in Photoshop, please see this article by James Maher.
This is a shot I took in Queens of the 7 train. In the original (before post-processing), the driver was obscured in darkness. I used Lightroom’s local adjustment feature to brushes to lighten (dodge) that area so we can make out his face. I highly recommend the local adjustment brushes, it can save you time in Photoshop.
The Vertical Lens Correction slider is one of my my favorite features in Adobe Lightroom. This sign I photographed from below because it was about 15 feet above me.
To correct perspective, I first straighten the image using the straighten tool in the Crop Overlay area (press “R” to get to it quickly). When that is done, I scroll all the way down the Develop module until I find the “Lens Corrections” panel. I then use the vertical slider until the image looks correct. It’s very quick to fix distortion this way.
Here is a skyline of Lucerne, Switzerland. What I like most about this shot is the many layers all smashed together in by my telephoto lens.
It’s important to close-down the aperture for such a shot in order to maintain sharpness throughout the whole image. As you can probably tell, in order to get the shading exactly right, this shot had to be highly post-processed. The nice thing is that I was able to do the entire thing within Lightroom using the adjustment brush functionality along with the gradient filter effects.
This shot was taken at Union Square. I removed most of the colors but left the oranges, and yellows. I think it looks interesting like that. This shot was completely post-processed within Lightroom. I try to avoid Photoshop when I can.
1/200s . f/10.0 . ISO 200 . 35 mm
I highly recommend taking the sunset harbor cruise by Circle Line. You can get some beautiful shots like this one. I spent a good amount of time in Lightroom recovering some of the lost detail in the original image. With a jpeg file this would have been image would be a no-go, but the raw file saved the day. This is where having an advanced camera will truly come in handy.