If you read my post last week about revisiting my old China and Japan photos and attempting to create works of photographic art from them, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Photomatix. It’s by no means the only photo enhancing software and it can’t do everything, but it’s really easy to use, the interface is great for both beginners and advanced users and it creates some beautiful HDR effects.
You can adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation in pretty much any photo-enhancing software – iPhoto, Pixelmator, Photoshop – they’re all good and I use all of them for different things. My problem is that I am usually hit by inspiration around midday – the worst time to take photos as the light and shadows are very harsh, even when it’s cloudy. Photomatix works for me in that it seems to bring out ALL the light, reduce those pesky shadows and enable you to control which colours you want to emphasise.
The photos above and below were taken with a Nikon 5700 on auto mode, before I understood all there was to know about ISO and shutter speed (aka I was a bit crap). Both of these photos I enhanced in Photomatix. It’s easy to overdo the HDR effect, particularly with saturation. I think we all have an aesthetic eye (even though it might be hiding) so can probably tell whether we’ve overdone the brightly saturated colours. But if you like the result, if it speaks to you, then go for it.
HDR and iPhones
Now, I’m probably going to be vilified for this by pure photographers with fancy-pants cameras and equipment, but the Photomatix filters and adjustments can be used really effectively on iPhone photos as well. If you want to create something that could potentially be printed high resolution, iPhone photos probably won’t cut it. For online use though, particularly if you are a blogger or micro-business that wants to illustrate a post, it can work beautifully. The below photo was taken with my iPhone 4, on regular setting.
Did you know you can set your iPhone to take an HDR type shot? No, neither did I until Husbando, friend to all things geeky, pointed it out. The problem with the iPhone HDR mode is that it only takes two photos (as opposed to at least three in most DSLR cameras) and in order for HDR to work properly when processing, you need to hold the phone perfectly still, which is really difficult to do without a tripod. I’ve yet to see anyone pounding the pavements with their phone on a tripod, but then I never thought Kyle Sandilands would return for a second season of Australian Idol.
I’m by no means an expert on photography – I’m on a journey as much as anyone, to learn as much as I can and hopefully inspire people to pick up a camera and make beauty. If I can provide some hot tips along the way, then everybody’s happy.
Are you happy?