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Beat the judges at their own game.

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    #16
    Re: Beat the judges at their own game.

    Read this the other day but didn't comment at the time.
    Thoughts were going through my mind such as "Cheat!" lol
    The end result however is stunning.
    One day I may start learning to use Photoshop.

    A great thread Colin, thanks
    Please note: I do not have or use Photoshop

    flickr

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      #17
      Re: Beat the judges at their own game.

      Excellent - many thanks for doing this. (I am constantly amazed at how many judges seem to score so differently from what the audience thinks is a good shot!)

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        #18
        Re: Beat the judges at their own game.

        not quite sure how to layer the two different shots together though ,i run a modern i-mac and have aperture 3 and cs6 ,and a slightly more detailed explanation might help us befuddled o.a.p's
        Colin may have done it differently but this is how i replaced the sky in my parakeet shots, I was using CS3

        With the parakeet image open, select all and then copy and close image down. With sky open, edit and paste the parakeet which will become layer 1. With that layer active, use the magic wand tool to select the sky, feather the selection by 1 px and hit "delete" on the keyboard and the bland sky will disappear leaving the new sky. Flatten and then any other pp you may need before a sharpen and save
        Stan
        Stan - LRPS, CPAGB, BPE2*

        http://neptuno-photography.foliopic.com/
        flickr

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          #19
          Re: Beat the judges at their own game.

          Very good write up Colin cheers.

          I replaced the sky quite a lot in my older bird images and even fire in replacement BG's too. Do people/judges/Joe Public expect this sort of polishing of images or do you think that it's done to dress up an otherwise flat image?

          Only reason I ask is that I toy between keeping the image as close to how it was shot over how I want it to be perceived sometimes. In one hand it can leave you feeling really good, and replacing sky's or backgrounds can leave you feeling a bit off about the image.

          How do you feel about it?
          Fuji X-T1 | 1D IV
          www.campsie.photography

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            #20
            Re: Beat the judges at their own game.

            I think as long as one is honest about an image then it doesn't matter. For example, either saying ( or implying) a captive animal is wild or portraying an image as if it was like that when taken but the sky has been replaced etc etc is dishonest. But on the other hand to acknowledge there has been some manipulation beyond the normal adjustment in levels, colour balance, sharpening etc then that is fine.
            I don't care what somebody does to an image as long as I'm aware if its real or has been manipulated in some major way - let's face it, it would be a very boring world if we all had the same tastes and ideas.
            James
            James Boardman Woodend
            www.jameswoodend.com

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              #21
              Re: Beat the judges at their own game.

              I think this is one thing that dissuades me from entering competitions (apart from the fact I'm not very good). I always think I'm going to be going up against people who are awesome with Photoshop so I'm never going to be on a level playing field. I'm not saying you shouldn't use Photoshop, I'm just a bit jealous that I don't have the time to learn it properly.

              What little time I have (and it's very little due to the day job and many other things) I want to invest in understanding how to take good pictures, rather than how to manipulate them. Every time I look at learning anything in Photoshop it seems to take many hours and in that time I could have read an ebook or tutorial from a pro photographer.
              Website: www.leerigby.net
              Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/leerigby/

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                #22
                Re: Beat the judges at their own game.

                How do you feel about it?
                I have very mixed emotions and within that, I have heard all of the arguments within different photographic genres and photographic media's over many years, regarding what we should and shouldn't do. Let me say from the start that I have spent a great deal of time learning all aspects of Photoshop and whilst I can't do everything, I'm not far short. But the more I can do in PS, the more I want to get everything right within the camera. Actually, that's not even correct, because the camera doesn't always record what I see, owing to a lack of dynamic range and light meters often fooled. What I really strive for is what my eye sees and most of the time I can deal with that in a RAW file, sometimes I need a little tinker in PS for shadows and highlights, contrast, sharpening etc. I try at all times to do what I need to .......... rather than what I can! I feel quite comfortable if I can add some polish to a shot, using only what was in the shot to start with and by definition, that will include making distractions disappear.

                I start to get a little uncomfortable when I start adding things in and generally I wouldn't bother, probably because I have plenty of other shots where I don't need to. But, have a look at those two kites again ...... the relationship between them is incredible. That second one has a look of "murderous intent" and it is just too good a shot to delete. Now, I only came across it again because I was looking for examples where I could show an improvement in the shot for this upcoming lecture and that's where the problem lies ........... I am very scrupulous in getting rid of "Tat" and shots that are technically flawed, so here I am looking for shots that I generally don't have. I have ended up taking good shots and altering them in PS to have technical errors, but in the course of looking for candidates, I came across this shot that I originally didn't quite have the heart to delete. It made a great exercise to show the effect of changed skies and it even surprised me how much 'wow" it added. The essence of the shot is the birds and that hasn't changed, the presenting environment is the sky and that has changed. Unlike a landscape where if the sky is unacceptable you can "generally" go back again and shoot it in better light and under a better sky, that shot of the two Kites I could never repeat ......... it's a one off. In those circumstances, if the shot was in your portfolio and you had the skills to alter it, what would you do? In making your decision, bear in mind that there was never any intention to deceive.

                So now we are skirting, or perhaps to some, jumped right into cheating ........ but it was ever thus!

                We all admire Ansel Adams; the man was a genius. But travelling around with his wagons and plate cameras etc, was a team of labourers. They used large levers, pick-axes and dynamite to move, or remove anything the great man wanted moved, to ensure the best possible photo. Rocks boulders, trees and shrubs. Was that cheating?

                There were those that decried any burning, or dodging on Black & White shots as the work of Satan. Were those that did do it cheating?

                Many considered colour was not for a photograph and it should be restricted to black and white. Were those who used colour cheating?

                There were those that contended that slides were the true photographic medium, because you only got what came out of the camera. Were photographers that used film and had good darkroom skills cheats?

                I could go on about digital vs film and autofocus lenses as well, but I think I have made my point which is: as photographers we have a full box of tools available to us, starting with the camera, to filters, RAW files, PS and quite a few others in order to present our work in the best possible light. If you choose not to purchase and learn to use specific tools, then that is your choice, but if you want to compete/show at the highest level, you will be handicapping yourself against your peers and don't waste your time moaning to me that John Smith shouldn't have beat you in that competition, because he used ND Grad filters, or whatever, because I shan't be listening.

                On the downside, is having the tools and not knowing how to use them properly. We have all seen examples of oversharpened shots, over saturated, portraits with apparent plastic skin, telephoto skies put onto a wide-angle landscape, etc., etc. To recent Photoshop converts, there is an assumption that if improving the sharpness, saturation is available, then crank up the sliders because more must be better. They may not fully realise it, but to judges and the rest of us, this generous use of the sliders stands out like a sore thumb. It takes a while (and with some people a lifetime) to understand that restraint and believability should be your guidelines.

                At the end of the day, it is only the image that counts. Whilst fellow photographers may be very interested, the world at large doesn't care how much technical skill went into the shot, how much manipulation, how expensive your equipment was, or how long your photographic apprenticeship was. In their eyes, they either like the image, or they don't .............. end of story for them.

                For me, at the risk of repeating myself:

                • I strive to get everything right in the camera.
                • Often I need to add some polish to a shot.
                • Very occasionally, I will add something into a shot.


                It was such a simple question that I can only apologise for the long winded answer, but as I mentioned at the beginning, I have mixed emotions. Just be true to yourself.
                Colin

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                  #23
                  Re: Beat the judges at their own game.

                  Fantastic advice as ever Colin.
                  Website: www.leerigby.net
                  Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/leerigby/

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                    #24
                    Re: Beat the judges at their own game.

                    Great tutorial Colin
                    Many thanks
                    I'm already thinking how I could improve some of my Osprey images shot against a bland sky

                    Mike
                    www.mstphoto.zenfolio.com

                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27554645@N05/

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