Saturday, June 06, 2009

Mike in 'Preset Madness'

Marcus and I met up with Mad Dog S----n earlier today. He's on the run again, apparently the mercenary business in the Congo didn't really work out and he got fed up with selling blood diamonds at a loss. So he's back in York, selling snake-oil and shiny trinkets, and writing a bestselling book.

If you want anything written I can put you in touch with him.

So anyway, after S----n's swearing got us into a brawl, and after our brawl got us chucked out of the bar, I managed to convince him to pose for a few portraits before he grows a full face beard and a Russian accent as a disguise, and disappears for another 4 years. It was kind of dull light, so I had to whack the ISO up to 1600. You know what that means, photo fans... noise central.

Thanks to The Power of Lightroom, however, I was able to chuck a bunch of presets out, hence making the noise appear to be an Artistic effect. Don't be fooled though, it's just a lazy way of jazzing up a picture.

Lightroom presets, for all you non-photo readers (hi Alex), automate actions in Lightroom. Lightroom (for all you non-photo readers) is a piece of software which catalogues your digital photos and lets you do some post produc
tion work on them. The presets can be pretty simple (straight black and white conversion) or ridiculously complex (cross-processed LOMO effect vignetter with Velvia effect contrast push).

Some of them worked better than others...

But overall the take home point here is that it's better off to take a quality picture to begin with rather than relying on your postproduction to try to rescue it. Ideally, I'd like that Canon EOS5d Mark II for its low noise/high ISO capabilities, but S----n had run out of blood diamonds so he ain't gonna get it for me.

It's just occurred to me that these have the air of having been shot in a South American prison. Which is exactly what they were. Excuse me while I try to flog these to the Telegraph for a story about British prisoners in foreign jails.

Prisoner 44321, being led back to his cell