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August 28, 2011

Nokia N8: Professional Photo Editing Tips

For you photo fans out there, our resident expert Ari Partinen shares his wisdom on photo editing for the Nokia N8. Over to you Ari…

I guess the majority of my blog post readers are already very familiar about the strategy we took with N8 camera. This includes how we decided to cut back the image processing to achieve the most realistic and true to nature look and feel in the images. I think this was an absolutely brilliant decision. Not only has this pleased a lot of the photographers who don´t like the altered reality of the boosted colour saturation, but it has also opened a lot of doors to photographers, who don´t really care about the reality –as long as the pictures look great.  The reason for this is that realistic colour and tone rendering of the Nokia N8 leaves a lot overhead for post processing.

For this exercise I used image of a flower captured through a magnification glass as my starting point.  Image looks already pretty great without any fiddling with the settings, but since it´s a picture of a flower captured on a cloudy day, I figured that the colors might need little bit of boosting and in general image might look great with little bit more punch and warmth. So what I did was that I opened the image with N8 Photo editor and I tried to boost especially the reds to highlight the flower but I wanted to keep the background pretty neutral so it would not steal the attention from the main target, the flower. So instead of just boosting the saturation I busted only the red colors using the color sliders in the tuning option of the photo editor. What I also did was that I turned the blues in the back ground greener to make the background blend in more effectively. Actually this type of color editing looks pretty nice also in portraits and definitely adds a little to the cool-factor of the image.

Also the contrast was boosted s little bit in order to make the darker background slightly darker and to make the flower to ‘pop’ up a little more. As a final step I also increased the sharpening slightly since the magnification glass made the image look blurry (I blame the magnification glass here, solely because admitting that my hands were shaky might make me look less like a proper photographer). Nevertheless the end result is admittedly pretty far from reality, but I think it looks nice.

Another thing I did was a black and white version of the image. Now with black and white images you can of course just use the readymade effect and choose the black and white option, but that leaves you with little options to affect the end result. So instead of just using the presets I chose another way to convert the image to black and white.

What I did first was to select the effect with blue tint and lots of lens shading. I didn´t really care about the blue tint but it was the lens shading I was after. My opinion is that black and white images nearly always should have some lens shading visible.

After that I converted the image to black and white using the saturation slider in the tuning option of the photo editor by dragging it to zero saturation. Why I did it this way is that now I can use the colour sliders to decide myself which parts of the image are brighter and which are darker. The reason I can do this is that my image is still effectively a colour image with zero colour saturation. So now with the colour sliders I boosted the red colour, meaning that I made everything that was red in the colour image more bright in my black and white image leaving everything that was not red, a little darker. Again my aim with this was to emphasise the flower which was my main target in this picture.

This way of converting images to black and white takes of course a little bit more time, but at least it´s you who makes the decisions about the tone rendering of your black and white images. Finally I added some contrast and decreased the brightness for added drama. I decided not to add sharpening for the black and white image, since my opinion is that black and white images can get slightly blurry.

So, admittedly the final images are pretty far from reality, but so is MacGyver and let´s face it, he still is a lot cooler than most of us!

Top Tips:

  • Use zero saturation and the color sliders to adjust the tonal range of your black and white images.
  • Try to warm up color images with turning Cyans more red and blues more Yellow.  You could hit impressive results.