Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lotus meets Lightroom 4

A few years back I had a chance to photograph a beautiful British Racing green Lotus Elise for a collector. The series was pretty good but as time went on those shots just didn't have the Pazzam some of my newer stuff did.

As a technical exercise I decided to exploit the power of the new Lightroom 4 to not only bring the three year old Lotus shots back to life but to make them choice shots for my portfolio.

Here is a quick look at the results:

Green with envy

Lotus Elise - Image 4

Midnight Run

So how much difference are we talking about? Well here ya go:


So what are we looking at here? I did originally shoot the Elise in exposure bracketed files so the image on the left is the untouched Olympus E-330 Raw file from only the middle bracket. The right side is the final post production of the single RAW file; pretty sweet hua? 

The key to success here was Adobe's new highlight/shadow control that I have to say is the coolest feature in the new Lightroom 4


To express how powerful Adobe has made this set of controls just look at the comparison above, just the shadow controls button restored 70% of the image to what you see on that right side. 

Another wonderful Lightroom 4 item was the "Graduated Filter" that can transform dull skies into something wonderful with a simple pull down:


For color control there is of course Adobe's wonderful white balance but I found the "split toning" feature to be very useful in balancing color-shifts between highlights and shadows. This is great for golden hour shots or as in this case, faking golden hour shots.



The expanded adjustment brush allowed me to really fine tune all the colors, details and contrasts. This brush tool has become nearly as powerful as one of my favorite plug ins "Viveza 2"; so needless to say in most cases I could do post without ever needed to export out of Lightroom.   



In short I was completely blown away by the potential of Lightroom 4. I dare to say that this program may be the death of traditional HDR programs in it's ability to expand the dynamics of a single RAW file in a very natural and simplistic way.

Of course I had to see what Lightroom 4 could do in combination with some other tools so I tried a Hollywood style day for night shot using "Adobe Lightroom 4", "On One Perfect Effects 3" and "The KPT Collection" for lens flares.  

Midnight Run

Here is the before and after


Well there you go, thanks for reading. If you would like to see the full set of Lotus shots they are here: Lotus Elise