A Gull and and an Eleventh Article on Exposure (Two Photographs)
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The lighting on this gull, the rock and water was just perfect and in post-processing I preserved that light and contrast so very little has been done to either shot besides de-noising and sharpening.
Processing. Not everything can be fixed in processing. When you get blown out bits that go full white there is no possibility of recovering the data/detail. Shooting Raw preserves the ability to edit the white balance and I believe it also makes editing easier in general (less chance of banding etc.). Most software packages have an ability to modify exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, blacks and whites. Exposure is the harshest of the tools and needs to be used carefully, it is almost always accompanied by a contrast adjustment. Decreasing highlights may be useful for increasing detail in skies and textures. Shadows does just what it says, affects the shadows (watch for noise), Working with blacks and whites are mostly adjusting the left and right of the histogram (deep shadows and extreme highlights). Some people like a pure black in their shots and leave the blacks where they fall. These adjustments allow you to adjust exposure after the fact. Depending on the camera style/mode you chose for your camera e.g. landscape, vivid, etc. this will also affect the exposure but you can change the style in most programs like Lightroom (final panel calibration.) I shoot Nikon flat for example, and sometimes convert it to Adobe Standard when I get to Lightroom. Finally in many software processing programs like Photoshop we have tools like hue saturation and luminosity, tone curves and level adjustments that allow for changes in luminosity and the brightening or darkening of specific colours and tones. These post processing tools are primarily meant to fix what did not come out as promised in camera and often simple tweaks may improve the quality of your photo, all of them affect exposure. Our best efforts to get the best quality out of camera often require these tweaks. I do it on most photos and I do not consider it a failing to do so.