Tokyo in Pics

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A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

What can make a photo better?

Like a lot of other people in the world, I love photography, but at times I can publish some rather ordinary photographs.  Why? It’s certainly not by choice. I’ve felt my photographs were okay, but something was missing. On the internet, similar photos I saw looked so much better.  They ‘popped’ and mine didn’t. What was the difference?

This picture’s brightness/contrast levels were edited in Photoshop

Editing.  Even a good composition can look a little drab if the editing isn’t very good.  For me, I had always just plodded along doing the basic adjustments in Lightroom.  Always doing the same old thing. While Lightroom is easy to learn and can edit a lot of photos very quickly it can’t edit like Photoshop as it doesn’t have the same features.  

This is picture is the same as above, but only edited using Lightroom

To be honest, several times over the years I have tried to learn Photoshop but I could just never get my head around it.  I found it too big, too complicated and ended up constantly frustrated. After every failed attempt at using it, I was pulling hairs out of my head.  What do I do???? Was I stupid? Not stupid, but PS’s learning curve wasn’t something I was prepared to deal with. That was the problem. I needed to fix that.

This picture has had the brightness and contrast levels adjusted in Photoshop

Determined to knuckle down and conquer the beast I went to the King of Learning … YouTube, to find help!! And no joke, this is 100% true - the first recommended video that popped up was Nick Page’s, “Photoshop vs Lightroom”. For a few moments I hesitated to watch it as the title didn’t seem overly promising but I was so glad I did. Inside I found one great tip about brightness/contrast layers, something I had never understood. The way he explained it made it so easy. By applying an effect to just one area and not to another, you can make your image really, “pop”. And after one attempt I produced something quite satisfactory. You cannot believe how stoked I was. Over the moon was an understatement.

This is the same as the above picture, but it was only edited in Lightroom

Looking at one picture, I was amazed.  What brightness/contrast levels can add is amazing.  Granted, brightness/contrast layers won’t be needed for every photo of course, but to know it is something I can actually use is a great confidence boost.  Another arrow in the quiver. So, Photoshop is something I will now pursue more and more because editing can give so much more life to photos. It is something I hope you will try as well, if you haven’t already.

The photos here are all originals but you’ve seen similar ones in other articles, just that there are two copies - one using my usual editing style and a copy using the new trick.  If you have any comments, I’d love to hear them. And I also hope you take time to view Nick’s video as it is such a gem!