Something from seemingly nothing…

Looking through some images from a recent shoot, I found a rather underexposed grab shot of my Friend and right hand Photo man Mark Boadey whilst he was getting in position to VAL (Voice Activated Light Stand) the light for me.  I was in the process of finding my exposure for the sky (one stop under exposed) before asking the model to move in to place,  spotted this silhouette shot but screwed the exposure up some.

I like this frame for a few reasons, composition, memories from the shoot, its got a cool silhouette of a good friend Smile and the branches and fern point or lead to Mark in the frame. 


The way I shoot is in Camera, by that I mean I try to get it right in camera as much as I can and as a result I can sometimes be too picky/harsh on my selections. With that said it does not all have to be pixel perfect, well exposed,lit, composed all of the time..sometimes there is a more important things to consider.

Now I am normally quite brutal with my image selection process in Light room and delete from disk the files I don't want. But something struck me about this frame.. it was interesting, I like the composition and it reminded me of a good evenings shooting.  It also inspired this blog post so kudos for mistakes!

If you click on the original image you will see a 1200px wide version which will hopefully show enough detail to see its underexposed and as a result a little noisy, even at ISO100 (Yup it happens, so exposure is key for clean files).  You will also see a few bugs/flies/err.. sensor dust spots as well as a small leaf/branch centre top of the frame,  I decided to remove these first because they don’t add anything to the image and also can’t be seen in one of the edits anyway.

Lets take a look at a few versions of this file, first up is the Version I will name Oh The Noise.

Something from nothing Data in that RAW


This version has been processed in light room to show how much Data/detail was captured in particular in the shadows, yes yes it looks like CRAP but it shows that shooting RAW can help, imagine a good exposure and how much Data you would have to play with compared to JPG.

On that note here are a few edits of the above original file one of which I will have framed or put on canvas.

Second Edit – Colour Silhouette

something from nothing  Colour


It had a fair bit of pixel punishment done in Light Room listed below. I have not added figures or values as well frankly they don't matter, you don't have this RAW file to work with.. it’s like those questions you get “Tell me what camera settings for outside and inside?”  Anyway…

  • Exposure Boosted
  • Clarity Increased
  • Strong Contrast Curve, then curve processed on lights and darks
  • Vibrancy & Saturation Increased
  • Noise Reduction
  • Black Levels, Contrast and Brightness Increased

Third Edit – High Key Silhouette

Something from Nothing Shilloette High Key

Similar post production to the above apart from exposure being pushed further and blacks increased more, also used an adjustment brush to whiten a few small patches.

Fourth Edit – Silhouette B & W

something from Nothing B&W

Processing is similar to the colour version but of course converted to black & white, well it would be rude not to include a B&W version.

I need to pick one of these to print and frame and will also name the print, so suggestions in the comments.  The take-away from this post is I hope, that it does not all have to be perfect

Perfect Exposure (no such thing anyway)
Low Noise
Best Lens
Best Camera

Sometimes its about something far more important than all that crap, its about the memory or moment. Who knows you could end up with something from what seemed like nothing.


Oh if your wondering what I shot of the model Hazel here ya go,, just a quick edit. Separate blog post for the shoot on its way.

Hazel Clarke