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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today is a happy day. My favorite tank is as good as it ever will be. :bounce: Time to pull out the camera and take a photo. I pull the blinds, turn off the lights (except I forgot to shut off the tank on the other side of the room :icon_conf ) and take my pictures. I plug the camera into the computer and wait eagerly for what are going to be beautiful pictures to download. :frown: What a letdown. A little photoshop and I'm feeling happier, but now it's not really a photo of my tank.

I have a decent camera (sony HD5). I'm a mediocre photograher. I'm not that hot at photoshop.

1. Camera setting suggestions? (I used A with the flash off and the EV at -.3)
2. Are there standard adjustments that everyone makes to their photos that I don't know about?
3. Philosophical question here: At what point is it no longer a photo and should be considered photo-art (which doesn't seem right for posting here)?

Thanks,
Cheryl

Before is just resized from the camera, after is feival's gothic glow and lucis art exposure blended together.
 

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tank is really glorious, but maybe a glass cleaning.
for a photo, crop out all the black & canopy light.
JPG can be 1024x612, does not have to be 768.
after you reduce, a sharpen will make details pop.

keeping those hatchets & glass cats takes guts.
tell us more about that right top cat-tails plant.
and that center right plant that looks like a batch
of green Pick-Up Sticks.

welcome to PTF :D
 

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Looks pretty good to me... What is a Sony HD5? Thought that was a MP3 player...

Photoshop does a good job in increasing contrast by mapping shadows and highlights. I think the whole anti-post-processing issue is bs. Probably invented by those who own full frame sensor cameras. ;) You have to realize that most cameras do adjustments to the image automatically, like setting whitepoint, sharpening algorithms, saturation etc. Not really different from moving that into post processing.

Your "after" photo, like I said, looks really good to me. Only thing I would do is to cut off most of the surroundings, so only the tank and maybe a thin black margin is left.

I do intensive photoshopping to offset limitations of my camera. Like using exposure bracketing to improve shadows and highlights. Like combining a left and a right part to create an entire shot of a long tank. I do some unsharp masking, which can be done in the camera, but PS does a better job.

I draw the line where you start to do rubberstamping... creating things that were not in your image before, or removing them. This is where we start getting artsy. :icon_mrgr
 

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You might want to download picassa from google. Its a nice adjustment software for photos that doesnt edit the original. I use it to upload to the wally world photo lab. Photos in an hour, who woulld have ever thought.....

Its NOT photoshop, but it is real good with red-eye, color temp, and some nice sepia effects, etc.

Picasa


(ps....AWESOME TANK, BEAUT OF AN ANGEL)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the nice comments.

I'm not new--the observant_imp thing has been irritating me for a while, so I just decided to change it. The pick-up-sticks is newly planted giant hair grass. I'm not sure what you mean by cat tail plant. The big plant on the far right is barclaya longfoilia

Oops on the camera--it's a Sony DSC-H5 (no learning disabilities here--lol). I was pretty mild with the photoshop on this one, usually it doesn't look like a photo when I'm done. I will crop the photo before I do serious, this-is-my-new-wallpaper play.

I do intensive photoshopping to offset limitations of my camera. Like using exposure bracketing to improve shadows and highlights. Like combining a left and a right part to make an entire tank shot. I do some unsharp masking, which can be done in the camera, but PS does a better job.
[/Qoute] I can never remember the darn tag.

I need lessons (and maybe some translations)
 

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I would bet that any professional photo that you see in most any publication has had post production editing of some form. Your after shot looks great.
A quick PhotoShop tip. Most photo's will look a lot better if you simply run auto levels and then auto color. If it looks a little washed out after this then go to Hue/saturation and bump up the saturation a little. This will not yield as precise a product as manual color and level adjustments but works pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A quick PhotoShop tip. Most photo's will look a lot better if you simply run auto levels and then auto color. If it looks a little washed out after this then go to Hue/saturation and bump up the saturation a little. This will not yield as precise a product as manual color and level adjustments but works pretty good.
Bingo! That's what I need to know. I can do the fun stuff in PS, but don't know how do the real stuff. Thank you!

Spypet--barcalya flowers.
 

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Cheryl, I knew the red leaves are Barcalya londifolia
but didn't know the 3 sticks protruding up to the surface
were also part of that same plant :eek:



how long have you been growing Barcalya
that got it to flower up like that? :proud:
 

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I'm not new--the observant_imp thing has been irritating me for a while, so I just decided to change it.
I think you could change your username... by asking KyleT, he might be able to help you. I knew it looked familiar.

I need lessons (and maybe some translations)
I suggest to get some books from the library, doesn't have to be the latest version of photoshop, the principles of curves and layers and unsharp masking have not changed much. You are probably familiar with Autolevels... I use that and then usually go to Fade Levels... to adjust the strength, or remove unwanted tints.

One problem with lower end cameras is the sensor turns much of the shadows to black, and much of the highlights to white, which makes you lose a lot of detail. So I use the camera "exposure bracketing" to take a "normal", an underexposed, and an overexposed shot. Then in Photoshop, you can combine those, gently, and improve on those washed out whites and black shadows.

But, like I said, your picture came out pretty nice without needing much improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Spypet--I've had it for a while and it flowers off and on. It seems like it started it within a few months of sprouting from a bulb. Every once in a while one of the seeds even sprouts and I get a baby. The plant grew to a monster (trailing on the top of it's current 24" deep tank) within a very short time and I trimmed the rhyzome(?) to try and stunt it. I had to do a couple of times and finally kept a middle cut with just a couple of leaves. It's grown back into what you see now.

Wasser--I guess it's time to read the boring chapters in my PS book and my camera manual. I know mine brackets, but I haven't ever used it.

No need to bother Kyle when I can do it myself (why do I suddenly have flashbacks of my children struggling with socks and shoes as toddlers?)
 

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Cheryl, it looks wonderful. nice job. The composition is very pleasing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Lynne,

I have to confess that I've been spending a lot of time just standing in the middle of the living room smiling at this tank for the last couple of days. Usually, when a tank is almost ready to make me happy, the algae fairy visits and waves his magic wand over it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
George--I have more camera than I know how to use. It's got buttons, dials, and menus with sub menus. And of course, the tricks I'd learned with my old camera (RIP) don't work the same on the new one. I think I may be better off focusing on my PS skills instead of my camera--it's just so hard not to get carried away (I'm one of those who loves cheesy photo effects). My new wallpaper (unlike my aquarium) doesn't have tank seams. :icon_mrgr
 

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The tank looks very very good Cheryl, you have been on the forums for a few years now eh? and it shows, nice job!

Take lots and lots of pictures working with various setting on the camera, find the camera's maximum potential, the less actual "photo editing" you have to do, I belive the better the picture.
Learning the art of aperture priority, shutter priority, full manual mode is great for tank shots, macro and micro.

When taking full tank shots, use the camera to crop the picture. Mine has a fold out LCD screen, my shots come out best to me filling that screen with the tank, use PS to chop off parts you can't with camera and resize, thats all I use PS for or adding name or plant name etc.
Thats a good link George gave also. dpreview.com is a cool site.
 

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I would bet that any professional photo that you see in most any publication has had post production editing of some form. Your after shot looks great.
A quick PhotoShop tip. Most photo's will look a lot better if you simply run auto levels and then auto color. If it looks a little washed out after this then go to Hue/saturation and bump up the saturation a little. This will not yield as precise a product as manual color and level adjustments but works pretty good.
This is actually just a quick fix in my opinion. If you want to learn what exactly you are doing when you apply auto settings and be able to master those features, I would say instead of using the auto filters and settings, play with levels instead of auto levels and you will get a better understanding of light, this will let you control the highlights, mid tones and shadows.

Also play with hue/saturation, not so much the hue unless you want to change colors drastically. Maybe bump the saturation up a bit, it brings out those strong bright colors in plants.

A great feature to photoshop also is the selective color feature under image/adjustments. This will let you change the values of selective colors in your photo. Very fun to play with and you can achieve many different results.

Your photo quality is going to depend on your lighting. The more light the better quality you can achieve. Most consumer electronic digital cameras dont to to well with low light, the create alot of noise. I suggest always try to get more light before post processing but if you have to, this is an excellent application for removing noise. Check out Noise Ninja.
I suggest to get some books from the library, doesn't have to be the latest version of photoshop, the principles of curves and layers and unsharp masking have not changed much. You are probably familiar with Autolevels... I use that and then usually go to Fade Levels... to adjust the strength, or remove unwanted tints.
If you dont have any trouble reading and learning from a monitor, you will find anything you want to know about photoshop on the internet. Google is a great way. You can search for specific problems, how to's and techniques or even tutorials. Photoshop is the most commonly used raster graphic application and has millions of recourses. You can even check out training videos on youtube.
If you want to learn, my advice is play with the application, dont limit yourself and you will pick up things quickly and discover new things all the time.
 

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another program that is easy to use and does wonders for getting rid of noise ( all the grain you may find ) is called neat image. they have a free demo version out and i absolutly LOVE it. so much i am considering buying a license to it. i use this in conjunction with photoshop to make the pictures nice. i find that auto levels, auto colors usually work well. if they arent bright enough i will adjust the curves slightly but the best thing i say to do is play with it
 
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