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| p.3 #11 · Wider than 85 1.8 + fast enough focus for volleyball |
All that I did on this was done in LR4. It's pretty much the same process I use on all of my volleyball photos once I've made my picks:
1 - Sharpen using the LR preset "Sharpen - Faces". If you were working in Photoshop, this is the wrong place in the workflow to sharpen, but in LR, it really doesn't matter. The engine will do things in the "proper" order for you under the covers.
2 - Adjust Clarity +30. Do this to taste. For girls athletics, +30 is a nice balance of mid-tone contrast without making the girls look too masculine. Probably not the best description, but for guys, I'll go a little heavier on clarity.
3 - Enable lens profile corrections
4 - Noise reduction. Baseline for me with "typical" ISO 6400 - 8000 conditions for volleyball is to set Luminance around 20. For this particular image, I bumped it to 22. You could easily increase it to reduce the noise further, but I'd rather have some noise than for skin to look plastic. Very much a salt-to-taste choice here.
When editing multiple images, this is where I'd sync those common settings across the rest of my images.
5 - Crop and straighten the image. I usually do this for all images before continuing to the next step.
6 - Adjust white balance. This one is the hardest for me personally. Not hard to click the buttons you have available, but hard to get to look right and consistent across the set. Like step (5), I do this one for all images before moving on.
7 - Adjust the exposure. This normally involves twiddling up to 5 of the available settings for me:
7a - Adjust the Exposure control as needed. I generally try to make sure the histogram goes up close to clipping highlights, but watch the overall image for what looks good to you. Ideally, you nailed the exposure in camera and don't need much here. If you miss it by more than half a stop, things can get ugly quick at these high ISO values!
On your image, I did +0.10 Exposure. It could have used a little more, but with the heavy crop, I was trying to avoid adding more noise.
If you don't already have clipping warnings enabled, hit 'J' to enable them now.
7b - Pull down Whites and Highlights until you don't have much/any of the red "your highlights are blown" warnings.
-6 Whites on your image.
7c - Adjust Blacks until you have only a few of the blue clipping warnings. If you don't have any, then push the blacks darker! You actually want some of the warnings in this case. This and Clarity adjustments are why the version I edited for you look more "rich" and less flat.
-13 Blacks on your image.
7d - Adjust Shadows to taste. I usually don't have to adjust this for volleyball photos unless I've blown the exposure and the histogram is stacked up on the left badly.
No change here on your image.
8 - Depending on the type of lighting I had in the gym, sometimes (but not normally) I'll make a Vibrance adjustment, but it wasn't needed on your image.
And that's pretty much it. It gets pretty mechanical after a while and you can blast through images quickly.
Again, I'm NOT particularly good at post processing. The wildlife shooters around here probably cringe when they read how primitive my workflow is. Lots of the guys in the Sports Corner can get significantly more out of an image than what I do. Actually, I've wanted to get one of the better ones to take one of my RAW images and do the same thing I did here... Edit it like they normally would and let me see how far off I am from what I could be doing.