A Technical Tour de Force

On Monday evening 17th October a packed meeting was hanging on every word from professional photographer and club member John Gardner. He was giving one of his extremely popular “Technical Workshops” where he goes over some of the techniques he uses when processing his wonderful images. As his work is admired both professionally and within the amateur fields everyone wanted to gain a clue as to how he achieves the results he does. On top of this, on this occasion he had gathered questions from members beforehand so that he could tailor his talk to what people wanted.

He started by stating that the first step was to try and get the image right in the camera at the time of shooting. As a professional he cannot spend too much time processing as he’d make no profit! He then took us through his processing setup and extolling the virtues of using a graphics tablet rather than a mouse – in fact there was no mouse to be seen. He then moved onto the subject of backups and how he organises his system. He cannot afford to lose anything so the systems have to be fast and robust. Some of us can vouch for the fact that disc drives do fail – it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” – so if you value your work backups are vital.

He then gave an introduction to the cataloguing functions in Lightroom and how this interacts with Photoshop. He took us through how he uses the Develop module showing the various steps he goes through and the effect of each. In particular he mentioned the targeted adjustment brush which is an often overlooked feature of Lightroom, demonstrating its use in sharpening. He gave the same treatment to the Dehaze function and the use of NIK plugins, in particular Colour Effects and Silver Effects.

In the second half John started by emphasising the need for monitor calibration (which he performs every 2 weeks)  and calibration for printing. He then moved on to demonstrated 2 techniques for dropping in a new sky into an existing image. The first technique was the normal way of selecting the sky, cutting it out and then copying another sky in as a layer. However he then went on to demonstrate how to copy in a new sky and then change the blending mode to Difference and then blend it in. The demonstration was based on an image of Whitby Abbey  and the effect was quite remarkable. John then rounded of by showing a new feature of Photoshop CC to achieve similar cut-outs. This was the “Select and Mask” function which is available when any of the selection tools are active. Again it was fascinating to see the function in operation in the hands of an expert.

It was an excellent evening with plenty of information which I am sure many people went straight home to try out. There was far too much to include in this report but suffice to say that I bet there will be a packed house next time John gives one of these sessions!

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