Adobe Photoshop Lightroom does not handle RAW images captured with an infrared (IR) converted camera well by default. The problem lies in the white balance settings, which can be a real challenge to get right. However, you can work around this problem by creating a custom camera calibration profile using Adobe’s DNG Profile Editor software. The custom profile will let you have the necessary latitude to correct the WB setting in your IR images for further processing.
Here’s the whole process explained in a brief video that I put together:
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom relies on the Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) rendering engine to convert camera RAW images. The default color and contrast settings are something called “Adobe Standard” which look different than what you might see on your camera LCD when reviewing your images. However, Adobe offers alternate Camera Profiles which emulate the as-shot settings from many Nikon and Canon DSLRs. You’ll find these settings in the Camera Calibration panel in Lightroom and ACR.
In this example, I have placed an image of a Colorchecker card on the screen so you can see how the colors and contrast change between camera profiles. For this image, I get options based on the Nikon D800 that I used to capture the RAW file. Note that you can only make profile changes to RAW files. If you see “Embedded” under the profile option, it’s because you’re looking at a TIFF or JPEG image in Lightroom. Choose from any of the profile presets in the drop-down menu to change the baseline color and tone curve of your image, and you can fine-tune it with the sliders if you wish.
If you have a ColorChecker card, you can use the ColorChecker software from X-rite to create a custom profile for your camera. Each custom profile is specific to the camera you use to create the image. You can further tweak those profiles using Adobe’s DNG Profile Editor software (free download from www.adobe.com).
Once you have a profile that you like, you might wish to change your defaults to always use that profile going forward. If you do change your default settings, note that ANYTHING you modified in the Develop section gets applied, so keep your adjustments minimal (Calibration, sharpening, lens corrections) so that you don’t over-process your images. Defaults are only applied automatically when you import new images into Lightroom. Existing images will not be changed; you’ll have to adjust them manually or use the “Reset Settings” option in Lightroom to do so.
Not everyone (myself included) has a degree in fine art or has studied art extensively. As such, I find it enjoyable to take a look at classic paintings and see what makes them so effective. One such example is Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch.” If you examine this image, you’ll see that Rembrandt uses light and color to emphasize the important subjects in his painting. Note that the two primary figures are well-lit, but so is the smaller girl in the background. The other characters in this scene are not as bright and colorful as the ones Rembrandt wants us to focus on.
We can use the same technique in our digital photography. Studio photographers use well-positioned lights all the time to achieve this effect. However, if you’re an outdoor photographer, you might not always get the kind of lighting conditions that perfectly illuminate your subject. Continue reading What Can Photographers Learn From Rembrandt?→
I’m pleased to announce the immediate release of a high-definition video companion to The Photographer’s Guide to HDR Efex Pro 2.0 (eBook site)
In this video, you get over two hours (159 minutes, actually) of in-depth training on creating fine-art HDR images with Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2.0. I’ve gone through the entire HDR workflow, starting with image capture and RAW conversion and moving through all the steps you use in HDR Efex Pro 2 to create amazing HDR tone-maps. Continue reading New Companion Video for HDR Efex Pro 2.0 Users→
Traditional ND Grads are great filters, but they have two primary drawbacks. One, they can be tricky to align in the field. Secondly, they don’t work well for objects that protrude into the sky.
The Graduated Neutral Density effect filter in Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4 solves these problems, provided that you have an image that doesn’t have blown highlights. It has controls that let you create just about any kind of custom ND Grad filter, and it unlike real filters, this effect lets you brighten areas, too.
The big challenge with this tool is proper positioning. I’ve put together a short tutorial on how this filter works for landscapes.