RCPS Press Report 9th November 2017

The RCPS had practical workshop this week, a natural follow-on from the talk about processing by John Elvin the previous week.

Several stations were set up and the plan was that 7 members would spent the evening showing members how to use different applications on the individual editing programmes available; members then rotated around and were able to either watch or participate on the extra laptops available.

It proved a great success and members that attended were treated to new aspects of familiar programmes and also some new options that were very appealing to some! Bill Swan spent the evening sharing information and tips about ‘Portrait Pro’, a programme, available on line for a reasonable one-off payment, that seems to intuitively  enhance images with the ability to consider light, depth, skin tone, make up and so many other aspects that would delight any family member or any bride!

Lightroom was popular and several members were either slightly familiar with it or wanted to be able to use it and didn’t really know where to start. It has fairly easy to use sliders for quick adjustments and full resolution images can be edited and processed. Starting with the basics of checking the highlights, shadows, exposure and contrast Debbie Dixon, Stuart Holmes and Helen Linfoot helped members progress to healing and cloning small unwanted blemishes, using the brush tools to enhance specific areas and using graduated filters to ensure the skies were looking well defined and had a quality that held the viewer.

Of course when it comes to editing images there was also some debate and discussion about how much this should be done or whether, in deed, it was some form of cheating!

Everyone had their own opinion but what was clear from the talk last week by Iain Cairns was that some form of photo processing has always been done to help bring images to life – even in the darkroom. It was also clear that the type of cameras most of us use do the processing in-camera, so by definition if you are using ‘auto’ mode you are allowing the camera to process and edit your images automatically. If you use RAW and then convert them to Jpeg’s using a programme you have more control over the final image and can ensure the editing does the image justice. Alistair Peterson spent the evening sharing knowledge about Nikon NX-D (a free programme) and showing how to convert the files from RAW to Jpeg, as well as using adjustments and techniques to process several images.

Emma Littlefair, known for her artistic interpretations and slightly surreal digitally painted images, showed members how to use Colour Efex and find a look that inspired them, using visual presets to give a wide range of options to use as starting points for exploration of their images.

John Elvin uses ‘Faststone’, a free download that is user-friendly, allowing browsing, converting and editing of individual images or batches of images. The members were able to use their own images to practice usage of the editing tools but perhaps more importantly to gain confidence and to just have a go. It is important to the society that everyone feels at ease and relaxed about their own level of skill, trusting in their own interpretation of what appeals to them in an image and looking to see how they can enhance their knowledge and enjoyment of their hobby. The amount of knowledge and skill of some of the more seasoned photographers was really appreciated and helped members new and old to feel that they have the ability to participate with more awareness and involvement, to be able to use editing as a fun tool to enhance each of their photos and to feel informed about the options available.

The huge variety of editing tools is overwhelming but everyone learns something new at these sort of evenings, Sarah Swinscoe worked with the iPhone to show members how to use editing apps, an almost instant, very familiar way to use free and cheap apps to enhance photos in the phone. The technology is such that great images are no longer limited to DSLR users and it comes down to the basics at the core of any photographs taken: take an image that appeals to you and use the tools to enhance the image so it either shows a true representation of what you saw or use the tools as a way to take art to the next level, after all art in its many forms allows us to enjoy and take pleasure in our representations of the world.

With a collection of magazines and photography papers for members to take home, halloween cake made by our youngest member John Durkin, hot chocolate and social chat it felt like a very successful and entertaining night.

We look forward to seeing Jim Edwards, who will be with us on November 13th, to judge all of the images entered in our close-up category.