Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Postprocessing for dummies 2

In Postprocessing for dummies, I explained my usual way of converting shots from camera to get them ready for posting on Flickr (or in this blog), which comprised a series of steps with the freeware programme Picasa. We will now look at some special postprocessing techniques, for which I use the on-line editing programme Picnik. To illustrate the effects, I have taken my shot Drake (#1 above) and converted that with three different effects. The picture above may be too small to look at the details, therefore I also uploaded it in large size to Flickr here. Just click all sizes to see larger.
The Orton-like effect (#2 above) simulates the actual technique invented by Michael Orton, which involves overlaying two or more images of an identical scene with very different exposures on slide film. One image is sharply focused and the others are very out of focus. The result is a strange, and sometimes compelling mixture of focus and shimmering blurriness. One example where I used this Picnik Orton simulation to good effect is my shot Citroen a la Orton.
The Lomo-like effect (#3 above) aims to recreate the low-fidelity photographs taken by cameras constructed in the eighties by the Russian company Lomo. This camera has achieved quite a cult following in recent years, and the effects can be simulated pretty well with Picnik. Applying this effect can turn a rather bland scene into something more catchy, and can even lift shots to a new level, as I did for my shots Impression and Impression Deux, where the Lomo-like colour scheme creaated a very special atmosphere.
The Holga-like effect (#4 above) likewise aims to recreate the low-fidelity photographs taken by cameras constructed in the eighties by the Chinese company Holga. The Holga's cheap construction and simple meniscus lens often yields pictures that display vignetting, blur, light leaks, and other distortions. The camera's quality problems have become a virtue among some photographers, with Holga photos winning awards and competitions in art and news photography. I use this technique to make shots that lack spice more interesting, especially if the subject depicted is old, and maybe shot in mediocre light. An example is my photograph Krakov.
Although experimenting with these effects is fun, in my experience 95% of my photographs will not be enhanced by them. But for the other 5%, these special postprocessing techniques can make the difference between a mediocre shot and something more interesting.