This weeks file is kinda cool. I’m looking forward to editing this! What do you think before you read on? Will I crop it?
You better believe I’m going to crop it. The subject is far too small in the frame for my liking, he almost looks lost in there. This is a dramatic shot and drama is human. We need to see his face! You’ll see the extent of the crop in the finished edit at the bottom of the page.
To be fair, this was taken with an 18-200mm lens racked out at 200mm and judging from the type of shot I’m guessing there wasn’t much chance of the photographer getting any closer…
Let’s just have a quick check of the exposure before we get editing.
Nailed-on perfect. This was shot in aperture priority mode with no exposure compensation so the camera has done a really good job with this, although the even lighting and tones in this shot will have helped in that regard.
So what do we want to achieve with this edit? I think we should focus on the climber and his expression. At the moment we’re just looking at a man climbing a cliff. I want to see a man risking his life. Which do you think carries the most impact?
What does the expression on his face say to you? Grit? Determination? Concentration? Fear? Why not use these as inspiration for our edit? Why don’t we make the image gritty, contrasty, sharp and dark?
I’ve made a lot of contrast adjustments in the basic panel. I’ve pushed the exposure up 1/4 of a stop, boosted the contrast to +68 and made individual tweaks to the shadows, whites and blacks. I’ve also moved the clarity slider up to +37 which gives a lot of ‘grit’ to the edge details in the photo. Lastly, I’ve taken the saturation down to -51.
With these adjustments in place the edit is looking pretty good, except for one thing… our subjects face is far too dark.
A face cast completely in shadow is a definite no for this photograph. It ruins it. But worry not – we can fix this with a local adjustment brush.
By painting in some positive exposure of +1.71 and reducing the contrast on his face we can restore the expression. Just be careful not to overdo it because it can easily look unnatural.
The last two tweaks are to sharpen the image and apply quite a hefty post-crop vignette of -46. And there you have it…
So what do you think? Comments, questions, suggestions? Leave them below!
Thanks for reading.