To enhance my pictures taken with my Nikon D3200, I purchased Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. I had watched some YouTube tutorials to get the basic feel for the program and couldn’t wait to try it out for myself.
I went over to my parents house and quickly found great subject matter. My mom’s orchids were are in full bloom. I just used my kit lens, 18-55 mm, and it seemed to do just fine. I really like the blurred out background look so I put the camera in Manual Aperture mode and shot at f/5.3 for the orchid pictures.
The colors of the orchid were so bright and vivid I didn’t have to do too much in Lightroom to make them pop. I turned up the exposure to lighten them up, pushed the contrast, and boosted the saturation to enhance the colors. It was fun moving the different settings around to see what they would do to the image. Lightroom keeps track of all the changes and allows you to have the original and the edited version on the same screen so it is very easy to compare settings.
I also took some time to do some black and white images. I chose B&W for the one orchid picture because the way I shot into the light made the color of the orchid a little dull and flat. I tried to fix it but I wasn’t liking the result. Since the background consisted of a view of cars in the driveway I found it easier to remove them in B&W opposed to color. This gave me a chance to use the Brush feature in Lightroom. I chose Exposure to white out the cars in the background. If I wanted to spend more time on it I might have cleaned up the rest of the background to give the image more contrast. To soften the image up a bit, I used Split Tone to make the shadows ever so slightly purple.
For Lily, it was all about contrast. To get the detail I wanted in her fur, I went with B&W and it made a huge difference. I turned up the blacks and bumped the contrast up quite a bit to give it a gritty feel. Since Lily’s eyes are dark brown they were getting a bit lost. Before turning the image to B&W, I used the Iris Enhance feature of the Brush Tool to lighten her eyes.
Overall I’m pretty impressed with Lightroom and the images I was able to create. I’m excited to keep learning and experimenting with the camera and software to be able to take my pictures to the next level.