How to Get Better Dynamic Range from Your Images

If you've followed this blog and read about my workflow, you'd know that I am a huge fan of Phase One's post-production software, "Capture One Pro". A feature that I've ignored exploring for a while now, I've discovered to be one of the most valuable. That's the camera profile curve. There are several different presets to choose from that affect the way Capture One presents the raw image data from the sensor.

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The one that I am talking about though is called linear response. It is basically what your camera sensor sees. It will make your image look really flat and dull kinda like a cinema camera's log profile, but this is a good thing!! You'll have to play with your levels and exposure some but you should be able to retain more information in the highlights and shadows than the software default of Auto.

To access this feature it is under the color tab and will be under the "Base Characteristics" header. Check out the video below to see an example of this in action.

*Disclaimner: this post is not affiliated or sponsored by Capture One Pro or Phase One, I just love their products (Phase One/Capture One if you're reading this I'd love to talk!)

Grease and Sweat

Here are some photos from my Subaru shoot the other day. This time the focus was on aftermarket parts and accessories. We installed a new pair of Perrin Hella Horns to the front. All the images were shot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 35mm 1.4L lens tethered into Capture One Pro 10.  

I hope you enjoy these images. I really love how they turned out. Car photography is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to shoot. Be on the lookout in the coming months for some more!

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Perrin Hella Horns
Installing Perrin Hella Horns on a Subaru WRX STI
This one (above) was my favorite image from the shoot

This one (above) was my favorite image from the shoot

Subaru WRX STI with Perrin Hella Horns

Backups on Backups

Nothing has been as scary in my photography journey as when my hard drive and entire laptop died with everything I have ever shot on it. This also included three photoshoots I did that week that were all due in the next two days.

I was not one for a streamlined workflow. My data management was kind of a mess with folders and files named horrifically like "jhbnfk_finalretouch_grade_resize_finalfinal". It was bad. Not to mention all my photos were in all in one place. Either on my MacBook Pro internal drive or an external drive, I called "Working Drive." Thankfully I had a software called BackBlaze install that continually backups everything on every hard drive. After dropping too much money on a new computer and a few hard drives I decided it was time for a change. 

Here is my new workflow. This is not a standard by any means. This is just what made sense in my head. There are two basic shooting scenarios I may find myself in. The preferable scenario would be shooting tethered. The other is shooting to two cards simultaneously in camera.

With the first one being the best I would have RAW images immediately import into Capture One and be stored in the field on a "Working Drive" and also a "Backup Drive." (The same would be true of the second scenario just instead of a computer and hard drives it would just be my camera and memory cards). That way there are two copies of the photos. Then once I am done with the shoot and post-processing, and once everything has been delivered to the client, the Capture One catalog along with the edits and RAW files can be archived on a larger hard drive back home called "Archive." Then overnight Windows (or on Mac a program called Carbon Copy Cloner) will make an exact copy of the contents of the "Archive" drive and put them on an identical hard drive called "Backup Archive". On top of all of that, there would be the BackBlaze cloud service linked to the Archive drive that would store all the info in the Cloud. That way I have two physical copies of the entire archive shoot and a cloud copy. If anything fails there should be a copy of it somewhere. 

Now as far as file structure that is a continual pursuit of making something that works. I think I am close but for now my file structure is pretty simple. Folders go something like this:

Folders

  • Year
    • Month
      • Shoot Name
        • CAPTURE (Tethered) or CARD
        • WORKING (PSD edits)
        • OUTPUT
        • FINAL

Files

  • Shootname_Date(YYYYMMDD)_SequenceNumber_ImageSize

Again, I am not saying this is the best. This is just where I am right now that seems to be working for now. Hopefully this will encourage those of you who don’t have a solid workflow to make on of your own that works for you. I looked up a bunch and tried various ones out. It wasn’t until I tried to come up with my own did I figure out what really works and what doesn’t. Here’s to a future of (hopefully) no lost data!

*Knocks on wood*

Here is a list of some nice hard drives I trust:

 

Parking Garage Portraits

I connected with Murphy on social media and asked him if he would want to do some interesting portraits in a parking garage. This test shoot was just a "wing it" shoot, I didn't have a shot list list, we just walked around and looked for interesting elements within our given space. The only plan was to us the harsh midday sunlight and shadows. Everything was shot with natural light. It's always refreshing not lugging around a bunch of lights. Since we were shooting in a relatively busy garage, on a hot day, without any help I opted for no additive lights. 

I tried using shadows as much as possible. With harsh midday sun it can be a little tricky to work well. 

Here is a slideshow of all the images we took.

The Springtime Carnivore

If you didn't know, my wife and I are living in Los Angeles for the next few weeks. While I was here I thought it would be great to expand my creative space project out to the west coast. My first contact was Greta Morgan (aka The Springtime Carnivore). I discovered her after scouring the internet for unique music acts in and around LA. I loved the music Greta was putting out so I reached out to her about being in my Creative Space project. She agreed and we setup a date for me to come and get some environmental style photographs in here Studio.

Greta Morgan (AKA the Springtime Carnivore). Photo by Ryan Noltemeyer

The setup was super basic. One camera, one lens, one light. All was tethered into Capture One Pro with Tether Tools cables. The gear used was:

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All the images were processed and color graded in Capture One Pro, using a combination of their new preset styles and my own creative edit adjustments. 

Greta Morgan (AKA the Springtime Carnivore). Photo by Ryan Noltemeyer
Greta Morgan (AKA the Springtime Carnivore). Photo by Ryan Noltemeyer
Greta Morgan (AKA the Springtime Carnivore). Photo by Ryan Noltemeyer

To see more from this project and my others click on the projects tab on the left side of my website. To see the rest of "Creative Space" click here and to here some of Greta's music click here

Here is a slideshow gallery of all the final photos from this shoot: