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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Motivated creative processing

The Time Traveller
© 2009 Simon Hucko

With the progression of photo editing software, it has never been easier to add some creative processing to your images. Black and white, sepia toning, cross-processing, de-saturation, over-saturation, selective color, vignetting, color balance shifts - the list goes on and on. When used correctly, these techniques can bring a whole new feeling to an image.

The image above was taken in Times Square on Sunday. The color shot had some neon on the left that distracted from the main subject. By converting to black and white, I eliminated that distraction and put the focus back onto the man with the bicycle. It also makes the image feel older, creating the feeling (to me at least) that it's the city that's out of place, not the man with the bike. That bit of creative processing turned a good shot into a great one.

Vintage Ride (2)
© 2009 Simon Hucko

This shot benefited from some cross-processing. Cross-processing is a technique that used to be applied to film and gave it that washed out warm look that many of us associate with old color photographs (more to come on this, I promise). I wanted to create that feeling with this image to compliment the awesome vintage car they were leaving in. Here's the same image without the cross-processing applied:

Nice, but to me it doesn't have the same visual and emotional impact as the processed image.

It's easy to get caught up in digital processing and apply crazy creative effects to every photo you take. The key to making an impact with your processing is to have some motivation behind it. Why are you choosing to process your image that way? What effect does it have, both visually and emotionally? How does it help tell the story you want? Just like focal length, framing, composition, lighting and timing, processing is another important step in the creative process. Don't throw away the work you put into making a good photograph by applying unnecessary effects in post.

[[Warning - shameless self promotion]]
I really like today's first image (view it larger here), and am considering making a print edition available. Is there any interest for that? Haven't figured out the specifics yet, but it would be a larger format limited edition signed print, possibly matted. Thoughts?


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