Before and After Series: Hole-in-the-Wall Sunset at Rialto Beach
You might think a photographer’s job is just to click the shutter. But, in reality, much of what a photographer does is behind the scenes, which used to mean a darkroom. Of course, not many photographers use darkrooms anymore. Most have switched to Lightroom, designed by Adobe for digital photographers. (Bad pun, I know. ;-)) So what’s behind the scenes is largely in front of a computer. Anyway, so I’ve decided to write a Before and After series to give you a glimpse into what I do to turn an okay image (in this case, a photo of the Hole-in-the-Wall Sunset at Rialto Beach) into a great image.
We camped at Kalaloch, on a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean during our trip to the Olympic Peninsula. We hiked Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park for the most part of our first day and decided to catch our breath at Rialto Beach on our way back to the campground. Contrary to what’s advertised, it was no easy feat to get to the Hole-in-the-Wall. The four-mile roundtrip on sand and pebbles was rather strenuous. Plus you’d have to watch out for the rising tide. I actually made TWO trips because, only God knows why, I didn’t bring my camera the first time. So I had to walk back to the parking lot and slowly made my way back to the Hole-in-the-Wall, luckily, just in time for an epic sunset.
And the view was BREATHTAKING!!!
But this photo straight out of camera? Not so much: it was flat, bland like an over-brewed cup of tea, and nowhere near what I was actually looking at. To recreate the magical view, I had to go into my studio and do some more work. But I’m no magician: what I did was merely bring out what was already there, all the rich colors, texture, and tonal range. Again, everything was done in Lightroom, absolutely no Photoshopping involved.
The key was to shoot in RAW and then play with contrast, clarity, and the HSL panel. Here are my settings:
Instead of increase saturation for the entire image, I used the HSL panel for targeted adjustment. Grab the color sampler tool (the little eyeball on the top left corner), click on an area of the image, and Lightroom will automatically recognize the colors. Now to increase saturation, double click and drag your mouse up, or down to desaturate. The finished image definitely has more impact and seizes a viewer’s attention immediately.
This is the first image that I’ve shared from my trip to the Pacific Northwest. Stay tuned for more, I mean A LOT MORE! If you like it, you can now order prints in my online shop.
I’m also offering one-on-one mentoring for photographers if you want to get really behind the scenes. I’ll show you step by step how you can give your images some extra punch and bring your artistic vision to reality.