Skippers and Backgrounds (Three Photographs) and more on Sharp Photos
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I have written about backgrounds many times on this blog, to the effect that they can make all the difference in a photograph. It’s not just about Bokeh but non-distracting yet complementary backgrounds. In these three shots I have done different things. First I used a narrow depth of field to get the yellow flower to defocus in the background. Second I positioned myself to take advantage of the out of focus flower, this resulted in a large number of shots as I was not quite certain if the sun-like flower should be behind the butterfly or beside it. Thirdly in Photoshop using Levels, I changed the color palette behind the butterfly by letting the colors come out of the shadows (brightening the mid-tones). I think the first one works best, but I show the others as examples.
Part IV: Sharp Photos and the Camera
Most cameras will add some sharpening to your photo as it’s shot, and not just for the JPG you see as a preview on the back of your camera. Your processing software will also most likely add a touch of sharpening on import. Processing JPG files is not ideal for the sharpest photos. Raw format (DNG,NEF,CR,OR depending on the manufacturer) gives you more room to deal with sharpness in post-processing. Color modes like landscape, saturated etc. add more sharpening than shooting with a flat/neutral color mode. Raw files give you room to add sharpening and bring back color in post-processing. You can magnify the shot on the back of your camera and this gives a good idea of the sharpness, but not always. In close up photography, for example, what looks soft may be tack sharp when on your computer, this is because the image on the back of your camera is a small JPEG and not the actual photo. Next, sharpness and camera supports.