Post Production refers to the process of editing your photos after you've shot them. Quite often we receive queries from you our UK customers on lensball photography ideas and how they can improve their lens ball photos using post editing techniques so we decided to write an informative guide on how to do this with this innovative lensball for photography!
If you use it well post processing can be great for strengthening photos whether it's highlighting important parts of the lensball image such as the image inside the lensball or perhaps blurring out the background slightly.
There are also slightly more advanced techniques used specifically with lensball photography such as how to flip the image inside the lens ball (don't worry it's quite easy when explained!) and making the lensball appear to float (a longer process but we will also explain this in detail).
In most cases though, simply using some post production basics to improve your lensball photos is one of the best lensball photography ideas!
So read on to learn more!
This is really easy there is a huge range if you don't already have one. Most of you have probably heard of Adobe Photoshop and perhaps Lightroom which have a huge range of functionality however many beginners will be able to start out with a free photo editor (some great tips and options on this link).
These are some of the most useful editing options to utilise with your lensball photos - there are others but you will find these ones can improve your photos the most.
Cropping is arguably the most useful and recommended basic editing option or skill to utilise with your lensball photography. You may want to crop out part of the background and focus more on the image inside the lensball as an example. Or you may want to show the best part of the background such as the sun in a sunrise or sunset and crop out say part of the opposite side that may have a stray person in the way!
You want the image inside the lensball to be of a decent size so you can see it but at the same time especially with beautiful landscape photos for example you want to show the best parts of the background. This enables the viewer of the photo to contrast the image inside the lensball to the background.
Exposure relates to the brightness of the image. You may want to lighten up a photo that is too dark and conversely where there is too much light add a bit of darkness. In addition, as this may effect contrast there is a slider in Lightroom and similar features in other post editing software apps that allow you to make brighter parts of the image brighter and darker parts darker if required to balance things out if needed. Have a play with these settings and this will make more sense!
This is all about emphasising colours. Normally I wouldn't recommend going overboard here unless you want a really different look! You may like to for example emphasise colours in which case you'd just up the saturation slightly. Oppositely, moods or particular weather in the lensball photos such as earthiness of an outdoor photo or dank weather such as a storm can be emphasised by desaturation!
In this case of editing saturation you may want to consider what's known as the vibrance. Increasing saturation will effect all colours, however vibrance will focus more on emphasising mid-tone luminance colours. This can be important as saturation can cause unwanted amounts of saturation on colours that don't need it!
So similar to considering editing contrast with exposure above, consider your vibrance settings when editing saturation! This is just about achieving balance!
1. How to Flip the Image in the Ball
This is the most common lensball-specific technique and it's really easy! Without editing the image inside the lensball will be normally upside down because of the refraction effect caused by the crystal - refraction is where light hits an object of denser mass like crystal in this case or water is another example. If you want to see how it's done just check out this easy tutorial. You'll see it just takes some layering (creating a extra circular layer in your photo editor), some feathering to keep a nice circular shape and of course rotating the image inside the lensball!
However, just be aware that by no means do you need to always have the image in the ball facing the normal way up! After all, the contrast of the flipped image and the normal background can look really creative especially where you are using horizontal symmetry such as with the below sunset example. So use this where it makes sense only!
2. How to make the ball 'Float'
You may have seen these images of people looking like they are throwing the ball up and taking a photo! In reality, they most likely used after-effects especially if the photo actually looks clear! They've used post editing techniques which takes longer than those already mentioned above so a bit more advanced but if you follow the below steps than you will be able to achieve the same outcome!
You need a bit of organisation of equipment (some of these are optional) and then capture a few different photos!
The telephoto lens helps compress the background which helps enable the floating in air effect. That or a wide angle lens is a good option to show off more of the background - great for landscapes!
Following are the steps to set-up the equipment:
You'll want to be in full manual mode with the camera so that you can set the focus, aperture and shutter speed. It's needed firstly, so that later on when the crystal ball is removed from the camera frame the focus position is not lost. Also manual settings for aperture and shutter speed ensure the correct exposure for blending is attainable for post-editing.
Select an appropriate aperture and shutter speed to capture your subject in the ball. You may need a few shots to trial things out.
For example, in the video an 1200th of a second, F.5 and ISO320 was used.
Three photos are needed to create the final floating effect later on!
Photo 1: Simply the lensball with the image of subject inside like normal.
Photo 2: Use the self-timer on about 10 seconds to enable you to lift and hold the lensball up in the air. Let the camera take the photo. Conversely you can get someone to help you lift it up!
Photo 3: Just take a photo of the same background in the same position but removing both the lensball and tripod setup!
Now you're in front of your computer, import the 3 images taken above into your photo editor. The base image is the photo with the ball over the tripod.
Step 1: To remove the tripod from the photo, drag the layer with the background photo (3rd photo) on top of the base image layer.
Step 2: Create a black mask layer on the background layer. It will hide the background layer to reveal the base image underneath it.
Step 3: Use a white paint brush over the black layer mask to remove the tripod from the image.
Making the smooth edge of the Lensball
To add the smooth bottom edge of the lensball, the 2nd photo in which the ball is held a bit up in the air will be used.
Step 1: Use the selection tool to select only the bottom part of the 2nd photograph.
Step 2: Copy and paste the selected portion on the image in which you removed the tripod stand. Photoshop will automatically create a new layer.
Step 3: Drag the new layer (selected portion) over the bottom edge of the image. Use arrow keys to adjust the edges until it fits perfectly.
You may like to adjust the brightness and contrast using the image adjustment option at this stage only if needed.
Step 4: Create a white layer mask and use a black paint brush to smooth the pasted area.
Step 5: Rotate the image to 180 degree using the image rotation option.
Now you may like to make some basic final edits like those we've already described in the basic editing section above such as editing the exposure or saturation.
Play around with these filters to achieve the best final image based on your photo!
Voila! You have one cool floating lensball image! This is one of my favourite lensball photography tips I hope you enjoyed.
Likewise you can mix up lensball photography ideas for post production such as the floating technique with the flip technique like in the below example!
There are just so many great lensball photography tips and post production techniques can really enhance your lensball photos where you use them intelligently!
So give some a try. What technique will you try next?
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