I recently met with an aspiring photographer and gave them some insight on the industry and a few hopefully helpful tips on where to start. After our chat I suggested we do a quick photo walk before calling it quits. We wandered through Gastown in Vancouver and over to Crab Park. It was actually perfect timing as the sun had finally come out after a terrible rain storm that day and it was nearing the golden hour just before sunset.
October is a delightful time to shoot in Vancouver. There is so much colour on the trees as they change from lush green in the summer to bright orange and brown in the Fall. Crab Park had some beautiful fall scenes to capture and some great backlit cityscapes as the sun fell behind the high rise buildings in downtown Vancouver.
After 30 minutes or so the sun fell behind the buildings and we headed back through Gastown to catch the train home. A few days later I got a chance to review the images from the shoot and did some before and after edits in Lightroom and Photoshop to discuss for our next meetup. I spent no more than 10-20 minutes on each of these images. I felt a quick review of composition, then some minor editing gave me results I was very happy with.
Remove Distractions and Make Colours Pop
ISO 400, F13, 1/125
I was drawn to this tree growing right at the centre point of the pier deck. It’s the centre of attention and I wanted my image to draw even more attention to it. There were a few ugly distracting items so removing those was priority. Who wants to see a big garbage can in a nice photo anyways? The fall colours were really showing in this scene so I warmed up the white balance a tad and did some burning in the sky along with some saturation adjustments to make the colours come out even further.
Cropping, Warm Tones and Decrease Distractions
ISO 400, F13 1/80
Every time I cross this bridge I am drawn to the railroad tracks that pass beneath it. The leading lines that take you into the city are just fantastic and the detail on the buildings and trains is always really gritty. When taking the image I left quite a lot of space for cropping. The subject matter to the right of the image wasn’t too appealing so I cropped it down to focus on the trains and the cityscape. At the time the scene felt really warm with the sun blasting through so I boosted the white balance to enhance that feeling and then boosted the overall contrast to make it pop just a bit more. Once I had the feeling down I removed a few unwanted objects from the scene that added distraction to the image. Less distraction = better focus on the subject.
Crop to Frame Subject, Brighten and Colour Pop
ISO 640, F8, 1/500
The original image was shot with a wide angle leaving the subject quite far away. It required a hard crop to get the scene I wanted and I was willing to lose a bit of sharpness to do so. The overall scene required some brightening and the distant subject needed some slight dodging and a tiny boost in contrast so he was more visible. The lens flare sun ray came through perfectly even at F8.
Although it was only 30 minutes, it was a great shoot and I am happy with the images.
I’m hoping to do more posts with before and after images soon.