I designed a few sets of presets after the way I work. I have been asked many times about how I get the look of grit or grain in my images. The issue is that I use 2 different but related programs. The first is Light Room 4 and the Second is Nik Silver Efex. So then another issue came about and that is, that many shooters use one or another or even both of these products. So I decided to approach each product with a clean eye. I wanted to extract the best I could from each so that whatever the shooter is using, his or her images would have soul in them.
The first image below is from the streets of Philly. That alone gives it mojo but as the DNG files are always in color, I knew I had do a conversion like always. I chose LR4 because I am working many, many hours, daze and weeks trying to get real grip on it. It’s not easy but has much potential.
This is straight from the camera. A DNG file. I really am not into color and after 50 years, I’m not interested in changing.
Here is the 1st conversion in LR4. I used on of my presets. For me it immediately pops. I would probably do a few things to it but it’s starting to come to life just with the preset. The photo is abstracted very well and the false sense of reality that color affords no longer exist or interferes. We are starting to see the image in a new separate reality. The concept of photography is now starting to materialize.
This was shot in the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City New Jersey. Once again it’s a straight DNG file. I knew when I made the photo that is would need some work to make it pop. In the original color state, it’s interesting but flat. What I mean is, there is good light but the contrast is lower. I guess for most shooters it’s ok because in color that is an acceptable look. I knew that to convert to B&W would need a contrast boost.Here is the conversion using one of the Streetshooter Presets. Much to my own surprise, the image poped really well and needs very little to get it perfect. I didn’t expect that and I guess surprise in one’s own work is a true gift. Notice the contrast and tonal range. There is one major difference between working in Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex. The one thing that LR has that is crucial is…HISTORY!
In LR, you can open any image in the Develop Module at any time and see the work you did. That is the clincher. You can back step and go to a new direction. You can Reset back to the original file and then move forward to any point in time. Unfortunately and sadly Nik does not do this. I am truly heartbroken about this. Sure I knew this all along but it never hit me this hard until I started really working in LightRoom.
Check out the Presets Here.
This is from the Chestshots post but the processing part belongs here. This preset is designed from a developer I mixed many years ago for Portriga Rapid. You know, I find it amusing that many people want to emulate film and the grain effect. Well, it’s the the film that one sees in the print. It’s the Paper and developer that come thru more. The final print will have more of an emotional response then the film and it’s processing. Argue amongst yourselves, leave me out of it. So this developer was a warm brown tone controlled by adding a mixture of Bromide and distilled water. I kept it next to the developer tray and could add as many drops as needed anytime to alter the warmth of the image.
See the glow. That’s designed to replicate an over active developer. What was not popular by the mass shooters, was to develop the negatives in paper developer. I mixed a developer that worked for paper and film. It used Phenidone and Hydroquinone instead of Elon commonly called Metol. This looks like a print I could get from this combination. Oh yeah….I used straight Sodium Thiosulfate as a fixer without a hardener and that let the glow develop easier…. This info is important because many are going to film to try it out. Also, it’s good to know what your after…..
The real advantage here is to use digital because the magic chemist is already in the program. It’s nice to have history tho’ and even nicer to share it with others……
I love the way this feels…..
This is from the raw file, I liked the potential but it really needed work.