The big problem with photography is that we have to translate a three-dimensional world onto a flat surface, with only two dimensions. In many manuals they insist on introducing a foreground to give depth. What we propose is another way to develop with three new layers in Capture One to get closer to reality.
Photographers sometimes forget to look. We bring the camera to our eye and do not contemplate reality. And it is nothing like what we see through the electronic viewfinder or the mobile screen … In the reflex world it was, of course, different. And it is something that we have not realized.
When it comes to developing, many of us are obsessed with achieving a uniform result, with a single color temperature, general contrast and perfect sharpness from foreground to background.
Photographers sometimes forget to look. We bring the camera to our eye and do not contemplate reality.
But reality is not like that. If you stop to contemplate a landscape you will see that it is full of nuances, that the background is not the same as the foreground, that the colors change in the distance and that the contrast is far from uniform. So let’s see a new proposal to develop our photographs, trying to be faithful to what we saw at the time of the shot.
A new development proposal with Capture One
For a long time I have taught my workflow, the development decalogue, to ensure that the information in our photographs is recorded in the best possible way. And I always realize that it is a first step to get a good result.
There are times the result can be useful after adjusting the image with these steps. But on many occasions we need to continue revealing by zones to reach the desired result. Darken, lighten, contrast … Everything to direct the viewer’s gaze exactly where we want.
The problem is that we forget reality, what we really saw. And many authors tend to exaggerate the colors or increase the contrast without control and without any visual logic … These mountains would be better with more contrast, because you go up without thinking that in the distance the contrast decreases gradually …
So I will propose three steps, three new initial layers, which help us get closer to reality with the help of Capture One.
In a landscape photograph the color temperature is not the same in the foreground as it is in the background. Truth be told, it is not the same across shots. It can be very warm in the background and cold in the foreground, or vice versa … We have to look at the moment of the shot.
For this reason, different color temperatures must be applied to the foreground and background. Without drastic changes and without fanfare, gradually. In the example photograph, the sun was hitting the walkers. So I adjust the temperature at that point.
- With the tool Select white balance I look for the temperature that I like the most.
- I create a new empty adjustment layer on the menu Cap.
- With the tool Draw mask I go around the sky and mountains in the background.
- And I go to the menu Layer> Fill Layer to have everything selected. If we give the keyboard shortcut M we will see the selected area in red.
- Now let’s Layer> Refine Mask and we upload the Radio to 300 to make the transition as smooth as possible.
- We adjust the parameter Kelvin of the tool White balance to 500-1000 kelvin less until that area is cooler.
The foreground of our landscape photographs will always have more contrast than the background. When we look from a viewpoint we always have to perceive this phenomenon. There may be cases in which this is not the case, such as cloudy days, for example. It all depends on the moment in question.
In the example photo, to get that aerial perspective, I follow these steps:
- New empty adjustment layer on the menu Cap.
- With Draw mask I circle the foreground. At this moment we can hit the key M to see the area we have selected.
- Let’s go to the menu Layer> Fill Layer to have everything selected.
- We finish the selection with the Layer> Refine Mask and we upload the Radio to 300.
- At this moment is when we can increase the contrast of that area with the tool Curve. You don’t need an exaggerated curve, of course.
We reached the last adjustment that we should make to achieve the maximum possible naturalness. Sharpness is not the same in all planes. It depends on the focus we have chosen and the diaphragm, of course.
But the background should not have the same acuity as the focused plane. In this case we have to go to the tool Clarity to get it. The key is to give the main element more acutance than everything else. And above all, do not do it in a restricted way. Let’s see it:
- New empty adjustment layer on the menu Cap.
- With Draw Mask **** we broadly surround the main object. And we give the letter M to see how we do it.
- With the menu Layer> Fill Layer we have everything selected.
- And of course we end the selection with Layer> Refine Mask and we upload the Radio to 300.
- To finish we raise the parameter of Clarity to 20-30 to get that acuity without blurring anything.
And ready. With the development decalogue and these three layers our photographs will be more natural. This way of developing allows, of course, to lighten or darken the different areas of the image until the desired result is achieved. But now they will look closer to reality. You will tell us what you think of this method.