How do you get pop in a photo without giving it too much contrast?

Started Nov 11, 2012 | Questions
rosesenior Junior Member • Posts: 34
How do you get pop in a photo without giving it too much contrast?
ANSWER:
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Hurricane Phil Senior Member • Posts: 1,050
Re: How do you get pop in a photo without giving it too much contrast?

Hi Rose,

Although I have Adobe Photo Shop, I often choose to use Sagelight Image Editor, as it has some slider options that are easy to use to give your image the pop you desire, whether it be modest or overboard.  Those sliders are:

1. Shadows - Increase or decrease light in the shadow areas,

2. Brightness - Increase or decrease overall brightness of the picture.

3. Highlights - Similar to exposure in PS raw conversion, increase or decrease.

4. Fill light - Increase only

5. Low tone contrast - Increase or decrease

Using a combination of these usually, but not always allows me to give my photos the look I desire.

Good luck,

Phil

kgbruce01 Senior Member • Posts: 1,245
Please clearly define what 'pop' is...
1

rosesenior wrote:

OP rosesenior Junior Member • Posts: 34
Re: Please clearly define what 'pop' is...

hmmmm, I guess as opposed to "flat."

Kweide
Kweide Senior Member • Posts: 1,787
Re: How do you get pop in a photo without giving it too much contrast?

The easy way: 
Make a copy
Blend it with Multiply or Screen
Reduce Opacity to taste

or

Make a copy

desature the copy
Blend it with soft light
Reduce opacity to 20-25% or to taste

or

Go USM

Settings: 15/85/0
Three tips are enough ...

see more of my work on http://www.klaweide.de  ( some NSFW )

 Kweide's gear list:Kweide's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Fujifilm X-E2 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH +16 more
kgbruce01 Senior Member • Posts: 1,245
Re: Please clearly define what 'pop' is...
2

rosesenior wrote:

hmmmm, I guess as opposed to "flat."

Oh, ok. Great. Good job clearly defining it.

apaflo Veteran Member • Posts: 3,854
Re: Please clearly define what 'pop' is...

rosesenior wrote:

hmmmm, I guess as opposed to "flat."

Maybe... or perhaps not.

"Pop" is almost always a matter of contrast, but it isn't necessarily a case of just pushing a slider labeled contrast, although that is usually a good start!   You want contrast and brightness to be adjusted so that the brightest objects are very near to  clipping and the darkest objects are very near blocking.  But then a curves tool can be used to adjust the shape of the tone curve, perhaps lowering or raising it as needed to get a better tonal distribution.   At that point color saturation can also add a little "pop", and of course sharpening does too.

But if it still needs more, often doing something like masking off the main subject and then changing the brightness of the surrounding area can help.  Sometimes it's better to brighten it and other times to darken it.  The point is to add contrast between the subject and everything else.

quallsphoto Regular Member • Posts: 275
Re: Please clearly define what 'pop' is...

rosesenior wrote:

hmmmm, I guess as opposed to "flat."

Rosesenoir,

The previous poster asked you to define "pop", because that term is very subjective. If you post an image or two, that will give others a better idea of what you mean.

Is this a portrait? If so, how are you lighting the subject? Some lighting techniques can cause a subject to appear flat.

If you are creating JPEG images, then in-camera settings can be used to boost increase color saturation and contract, thus adding "pop".

During post-processing, you can make an image "pop" by slightly increasing contrast, color saturation, sharpness, adjusting the tonal curve, etc.

I occasionally request Kodak Metallic paper when ordering for prints because it makes the images "pop" off the page.

Do a quick Google search for "photoshop image pop" or "photoshop color pop". You will find a number of tutorials on this topic . . . Or search for "photoshop color pop actions". By installing various Photoshop Actions, you can perform the entire process in just a few mouse-clicks.

DQ

www.quallsphotography.com

Tazz93
Tazz93 Senior Member • Posts: 1,952
Re: Please clearly define what 'pop' is...

Considering what you see as "pop" the best way to create it with a lot of contrast would be using the proper exposure and lighting. Flat photos are almost alway lit incorrectly.

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jbf Veteran Member • Posts: 3,544
Re: Please clearly define what 'pop' is...

Tazz93 wrote:

Considering what you see as "pop" the best way to create it with a lot of contrast would be using the proper exposure and lighting. Flat photos are almost alway lit incorrectly.

I agree.  The large majority of people who ask this question are looking for a trick to quickly make their photos look like something they saw on the web or in a magazine, and by far the best advice they could receive is to learn about lighting.  There are many tutorials about lighting on the web.  Check out youtube or a similar site for hundreds of videos on the subject.

When it comes to editing, some tips are much better than others, but without a well lit image to start with, most likely any editing that appears to improve your images today will be a distraction when you look back at your images in a year or two.  You'll see the processing that you liked at that time, and the subject of the photo will at best be the second thing you notice.  Having said that, digital photos are free so have fun experimenting.  Just be sure to keep the original files.

One more thing to consider is that all kinds of contrast can make a subject "pop", not just light vs. dark contrast, i.e. rough vs. smooth, big vs. small, young vs. old, warm vs. cold, busy vs. plain, etc.  Find creative ways to draw attention to your subjects.

Moofner Regular Member • Posts: 349
Re: How do you get pop in a photo without giving it too much contrast?

Shallow depth of field. Use a fast lens (f/2.8 or faster), wide-open or nearly wide-open aperture and your focused subject will stand out against the out-of-focus background with an almost 3D-like effect. Some lenses are better at this than others; most effective with longer focal-lengths, 85mm and up. The 85 f/1.4 or f1.8 lenses are notoriously good, but I use a 105mm f/2.8 or a 180mm f/2.8, both of which are great for 3D-like portraits. Also, the more distance between your subject and the background, the better the effect.

JeffHallPhoto
JeffHallPhoto Regular Member • Posts: 321
Can you provide an example of an image that you'd like to "pop"?

We can then show by example what we'd do to make it pop...

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