Take 2: Just leave

I live a ten minute walk from the Avery Hill Winter Garden. They are currently running a photo competition so I grabbed a keen photographer friend and we both went over there at the weekend to take some pictures and try to inspire each other.

I got one or two nice enough pictures but will probably go back at another point over the next week or so to get some more as I don’t feel I have anything especially competition worthy yet. I always like to have pictures to practice editing with however and this little photo escapade has proven to be quite educational in terms of trying to create more interest in images even if I feel I haven’t necessarily achieved anything particularly brilliant straight from the camera. It has taught me to look more closely at images I might normally dismiss at first glance*.

I’ve mentioned before how much I find editing a bit of a bind, but it is undeniably a pretty nice feeling to elevate a photo that maybe didn’t appear to shine very much at first. I liked the composition of this image of leaves, so I took some time with it to see how I could introduce some dynamism into what was originally quite a flat image. It was a very overcast afternoon and most of my photographs had minimal contrast.



I made edits in black and white and with some split toning as well, as the lines and shapes look good in monochrome, but decided in the end to go with colour to stress the luscious, deep, shiny green of the leaves. This picture went through a good number of incarnations until I rested on making a final colour edit.


What I did in Lightroom for the final edit:

  • Raised clarity
  • Deepened the blacks
  • Upped the vibrance a fair way but slightly lowered the saturation
  • Made a gentle s-shaped tone curve (lights were slightly raised, and darks & shadows slightly lowered)
  • Yellow saturation and luminance were slightly raised
  • Green luminance was also slightly raised
  • Added a brush stroke to the surrounding leaves towards the edges of the image with slightly lowered saturation and slightly lowered clarity, just to make the central bigger leaves pop a little more

*Like a Kinder egg, this image also contains a little hidden secret surprise. When zoomed in closely, the raindrops on the front leaf reflect the central point of the Winter Garden’s glass roof. You can view the full size image by clicking here.

2 thoughts on “Take 2: Just leave

  1. That other photographer sounds fantastic! 🙂

    Have you tried Perfectly Clear? It is scarily good (given that it’s sooooooooo easy and quick).

    The example pictures they give on their website are genuine and 99% automatic.

    There is a very expensive Photoshop plugin, and a (temporarily probably time-limited) free version. Give it a go…


    • Yeah, his pics were very nice indeed. 🙂

      I haven’t tried it no. I like to have quite a fine control over my adjustments. I make all kinds of general presets in Lightroom which makes the process a lot quicker. 😉

      I actually don’t use photoshop other than to occasionally invert pinhole negative images. I just haven’t bothered to sit down and learn it which is just one of my shames… I love Lightroom though. I’m a very big fan. 😉

      I might take a look at Perfectly Clear. Thanks.


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