Everyone likes sunny days for leisure outdoor fun, but shadows often present problems for photographers. This post shows some ways to deal with them and other common challenges to getting great photos.
The old specimen at right was brightly lit from the side when I found it. I couldn’t wait for the sun to move and didn’t know when the opportunity would come again. My solution was to move in close and tip the camera so that the edges of the shadows were parallel to lines in the door. This helped, but not enough, so I used Photoshop’s huse/saturation palette to desaturate and lighten the blues and cyans in the shadow area. This little tweak of the image made the shadows much less objectionable.
I never learned the age of the next door, but the building has likely been around for several hundred years. I was staying nearby for a few days so I took a snapshot to study and went on to other opportunities. That night I decided that the scene was too complicated to make a good photo, and saw that the triangle of sky at upper right was distracting. The solution was to zoom in for a partial view, increase color saturation by reducing exposure, and use Photoshop to move the color balance from slightly yellow to slightly blue.
Sometimes it just pays to wait around an open door to see who comes out. I got the first of these images soon after arriving and then looked around to see what else might make a good photo subject. The gentleman in the second photo soon emerged, my shutter clicked, and he became the subject of a favorite photo after some cropping and straightening.
The final example is from a seemingly hopeless photo situation – obstacles kept me from getting a straight-on shot, there was a car that I judged to be better left out of the photo, and the light was failing. With a little effort I transformed the image on the left into the one on the right. The video shows it all step-by-step.
I hope this post might help you make better pictures from some you already have, and encourage you to go ahead and shoot when conditions are less than ideal. We’ll consider how to get great shots of windows soon.
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