The Processing

If you look at more than a few of my photographs you will notice that they are a mixture of color, black-and-white and toned as I find that different pictures work best for me with different styles.


Color, black-and-white and sepia-toning need no explanation but one of my favorite methods of processing many of these street photographs is to use a split-toning technique that may be new to many so here is a brief explanation.

Split-toning usually means that the highlights and shadows in a photograph are toned with different colors which blend subtly in the mid-tones. This is often done from a black-and-white image to produce a vintage effect. However, many of the photographs in this blog were processed in Photoshop with sepia split-toning whereby the darkest tones are sepia and the lightest tones are the original color. Between the two extremes there is a graduation from one to the other so that the mid-tones are half-sepia/half-original color.  Thus the picture is both color and sepia-toned with the flexibility to change the balance between the two.

There are many on-line tutorials available about different split-toning techniques depending on your software and specific aims.

High Dynamic Range

Another technique I use is HDR (High Dynamic Range).

HDR gets around the problem that no easily available film or digital camera can record the same tonal range as our eyes can see which means that photographs often lose detail in shadows and/or highlights that is visible to us. HDR works by the photographer taking the same photograph at a range of different exposures and combining them into a single photograph using software such as Photomatrix.

Unfortunately, the need to take several identical pictures makes the technique incompatable with moving subjects (such as a lively street scene). However, Photomatrix does offer the option of making a pseudo-HDR image from a single photograph taken in RAW format. This does not actually extend the tonal range as per the original purpose of HDR but does allow some wonderful control over local contrast to produce an often stunning effect.

However, be warned. It is very easy to overdo HDR to produce photographs that are striking but quite frankly horrible to look at. I hope I haven’t over-stepped this mark.

I often combine the two techniques above to get a partially split-sepia-toned color pseudo-HDR photograph! However, I do still use very minimal processing for some pictures.

The key to any photographic processing is whether the technique adds to the picture’s content/impact or distracts from it. My ideas are still developing on this and won’t be shared by everyone. 

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