A Vivid Adjustment Technique with Adobe’s Lightroom
I tend to only display photographs that are relatively close to the way that I saw them when I was in the moment, making the image. I enjoy images of all kinds, be it HDR, Orton Effects, duotones, composites, etc. It just seems that of the work I do, I prefer the “realistic” look for the images I display. Behind closed doors, I spend all kinds of time processing some of my images with the previously mentioned techniques and others. A lot never see the light of day but now and then I like the results of this play.
In the photograph above, I manipulated the final look in Adobe’s Lightroom program. Working in the Develop module, I pulled the recovery, fill light, vibrance, contrast and clarity sliders all the way to the right (100) and black to 40. This resulted in a really garish look and the trick was to use saturation to reduce the color to suit your taste. I then tweaked all of the above sliders and the white balance to match what was in my head.
Give it a try if you are looking for another way to look at one of your images, it might work for you. This treatment works well on buildings and machinery, particularly when they are weathered. The effect on people is a bit of a wild card so it definitely doesn’t work for everything (or anything depending on what you like!)
For reference, above is the original photo with only an increase to contrast from the original RAW file out of the camera. I like this image and it has the look that I usually display. I’m actually pretty evenly split between these two versions of the photograph. The vivid one brings the temple more prominently into the scene and makes the story about the people and the temple. The “normal” version has the father and son as the primary subjects and the story is about the two of them together in the canoe. The temple serves as a great backdrop but does not demand attention. I would love to hear your thoughts on which works for you.
Just to highlight the impact of this treatment on buildings, here is another normal and vivid comparison. The photograph is also from Inle Lake.
Above is the normal version and below is its vivid counterpart.