Decorah church (Before & After)

While preparing yesterday’s post, summarizing year 2011, I did a lot of cleaning on the blog, checking tags and categories and things. It made me jump to the least expected posts, sometimes quite old. I looked at this image from summer 2008, and I had some ideas how I would process it differently now. It probably is an evidence of not only how far I came in post-processing, but also how my esthetic changed. Although I still can appreciate contrast between light and shadow in my photographs, I prefer to see detail in the main subject.

To achieve that effect, I went to original image and discovered the Exposure was slightly brought down. I returned it to the original level and opened the image in Photoshop to try one-image tone-mapping. Did I generate a lot of digital noise doing that? Sure I did, but luckily I was also able to clean it up at the end. But I not only opened the shadow in which the church was hiding. I also exposed the warm setting sun rays on the side of the church, and let them contrast with blue light from shadows on the other side, the one facing the viewer. Unfortunately, the HDR treatment exposed a busy foreground, with many street signs and small side walk construction area, previously hiding in the dark. While still in Photoshop, I cleaned them and saved image back to Lightroom for finishing touches. At this point, all was left to do was to boost contrast, add a bit of vignette, and done.

I would love to her from you, if you find the Before & After series useful. My idea behind them is to show you, how image can be improved with your increasing post-processing skills. I am not giving you the ready recipes, rather I am showing some concepts to take back to your images taken years ago, at which you just look and wonder – “how could I let it be like this?”. But if you feel like more detailed technique explanations would be in order, let me know!

I have a side note to todays post. I wanted to share with you a non-photographic resource. If you would like to learn more about effective blogging from an expert in the area, check out “31 days to Build a Better Blog”. It is an e-book written by Darren Rowse. I have recently purchased it, read over holidays and found extremely inspiring. If you feel like this blog go re-energized, its the effect of the ideas I found in the “31DBBB”. If you would llike to do something with your blog, use the code FWOB33 at checkout and you will get “31DBBB” for just $19.99. But you have to decide by Wednesday, January 11, 2012.

The links in this post are affiliate links. I was also provided a free review copy of the e-book. See details of our affiliate policy here.