Sometimes, either because of deliberate choice, forgetfulness, or the constraints of our camera mode, even us dedicated RAW shooters fire off a JPEG or two. That is what happened here. The full-auto mode of my Canon G10 only shoots JPEG files and I didn’t notice that I had bumped the dial.
Grab shots like this come briefly and seldom. You always get the shot first and check settings and fine tune second, then get the shot again, if possible. This young lady in Costa Rica was waiting for a bus outside the restaurant where I was eating. The rain started, she pulled out her umbrella, I put down my fork and picked up my G10, pressed the shutter, the bus pulled up and the moment was gone. I picked up my fork and resumed my Gallo Pinto.
Of all the images in my vast library, I have relatively few JPEG-captured files. This is my favorite. It didn’t, however become my favorite until I had performed a little magic. JPEG files are a little more difficult to edit than RAW, as you may have heard/read/been taught. This one accepted the editing just fine-as long as I didn’t push it too hard. If you read my Holy Crop! blog regularly, you can probably see where I am going to go first with this one.
- Crop off the car on the left and a little of the foreground to tighten in on the subject
- Subdue and shift colors to “cool the image” to give it some mood
- Reduce the contrast to soften the feel
I think the result is a more introspective, contemplative image. The rain seems more intense. Her expression, strengthened by the compositional change, compels us much more than in the Before image.
Photography is about moving people-expressing emotion and evoking emotion. I think the After image takes us farther than the Before. Which is, after all, the point!
Rikk Flohr © 2010