In the previous post, I included a link to a tutorial video I’d made about using the Photo Ninja software to convert a RAW file and edit a photo. Today, I’m posting before / after photos of some lovely looking flowers I photographed at a local show. The originals are very flat looking and cold because they were displayed indoors under fluorescent lighting; a challenging exposure problem to solve for most cameras! I hope these photo post-processing tips are of benefit.

I used Photo Ninja to process the RAW files from an Olympus E-PM1 digital camera (Sigma 60mm 2.8 Art lens attached), and further processed the exported TIFF files in Perfect Photo Effects by On 1 software. I have included before and after images below. Make sure to click and drag the slider left and right to view the before and after images.

You can see how flat looking the original image is. I cropped the flower to make it the main subject, enhanced the purple and yellow hues in Photo Ninja, altered the white balance to colour correct the original fluorescent lighting, and added a Dynamic Contrast filter layer mask in Perfect Photo Effects to draw out the tonal contrast of the petals. In this final step, I made sure to use the quick masking function to select only the flower for the contrast effect. In this way, the background remained soft and blurry in order to allow the flower to pop.

The original here is very dark and uninspiring. Rather than drawing out any tonal details, I pushed the exposure slider up in Photo Ninja to increase the overall brightness of the image. I then altered only the orange and yellow colour values ever so slightly in order to make them brighter and lighter. Enhacing the warm colours in Perfect Photo Effects with the Sunshine filter made for the final touch.

Once again, the difficult indoor conditions resulted in an original that was flat and dull. I cropped tighly on the flower and increased the illumination and overall brighness of the image in Photo Ninja. I increased the saturation of the red colour values and neighboring hues, and shifted the hue of the background green to make it aqua and turquiose. I think this contrasts nicely with the pinks and reds of the flower.

Instead of using the Details slider in Photo Ninja to bring out tonal details, I decided to use a Dynamic Contrast filter layer in Perfect Effects to enhance the petals. I was careful to use a quick mask to target only the flower with the Dynamic Contrast filter so that the background remained indistinct.

My challenge with this photo was to make the dull indoor original image look as if it was made outside in the bright sunshine. Substantially increasing the Exposure slider in Photo Ninja had a dramatic impact. I then saturated the reds, purples and neighbouring hue values so as to bring out the details on the flowers. I then used the Sunshine filter in Perfect Effects and lowered the layer opacity to add just the right amount of warmth.

I can’t resist adding just one more before and after below. The alterations were extensive and included hue shift and exposure tweaking in Photo Ninja, and tonal contrast adjustments and cross-processing in Perfect Effects with liberal use of masking so as to isolate the flower and stem from the background.

I think Photo Ninja and Perfect Effects is my new one-two punch for post-processing single photos!

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Flowers in the sun : photo post-processing tips
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4 thoughts on “Flowers in the sun : photo post-processing tips

  • April 19, 2015 at 4:37 am
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    :yahoo: great post. I really enjoy your clear, precise explanations

    Reply
  • April 17, 2015 at 10:58 am
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    I really like this before/after element you’re using in this post. It minimizes the footprint of images in the post and maximizes the ease of viewing the juxtapositions. What a great tool for photogs! Also, post processing can be such a subjective topic but you’ve explained your intentions perfectly. One subtle take-away is that these image tools are meant to be used with purpose.

    Reply
    • April 17, 2015 at 11:11 am
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      Hi @maesha-shannon . Always a pleasure when you visit 🙂 Yes, I like it too. The plugin hasn’t been updated in 7 months, but I doubt it’s especially complex. It turns out to be responsive on IOS and on Windows phone so far. Hoping it works ok on Android devices too. I think I’ll use it more often.

      Reply

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