Raw files are not meant to be final images like JPEG files are. In fact, manufacturers build in compromises for blacks and dark tones in Raw files that are designed to be adjusted in a program like Adobe Lightroom.
Lightroom makes adjusting Raw files fast and easy, but one of the big benefits of Lightroom is using the local controls that allow you to get the most from your photos just like Ansel Adams did with his images.
In this photo, prickly phlox flowers become a part of the of the chaparral-covered landscape in the Santa Monica Mountains outside of Los Angeles, California.
Notes from the Editor:
In his recent article, Rob shares many great tips and techniques:Flower Photography from Snapshot to Great Shot - at BetterPhoto's online photography school.
One of the most beautiful types of light is free, simple to use, and always available. It's window light. I'm not referring to sunlight streaming through a window; rather, it is the diffused light from a north facing window or from an overcast sky that is so complementary to virtually all subjects.
(c) Jim Zuckerman
The columbine flower you see here is an example. I shot this today on my desk in front of my computer screen which was draped in black velvet. The sky was blue and the sunlight outdoors was harsh, but the north-facing window that illuminated the flower eliminated contrast problems because only softened light came through.
Shooting indoors meant that there was no wind, not even the slightest of breezes. That allowed me to use a lens aperture of f/32 and a 3.2 second exposure time.
Notes from the Editor:
"But despite those 'feelings', you can immediately begin to make better portraits of people by becoming aware of two things: the light and the background."
Read Ibarionex's excellent BetterPhoto article:
It's hard to beat the beauty and quality of window-lit portraits. Just position the subject so that half the face is lit, and use a silver reflector on the opposite side of the subject to bounce in a bit of light into the shadows. You then have the best light money can't buy!
Note: Charlotte Lowrie teaches photography online at BetterPhoto.com. See her instructor's bio and list of courses here...
Jim Z shares his thoughts in the following article, which he wrote a few years ago exclusively for BetterPhoto's MasterPiece Membership: