I thought I’d share the basic steps I took to turn my camera image of the Tree Trimmer into the final image. I took this image while visiting Duke Gardens. I actually went back after first seeing the worker as I decided I really wanted an image of him cutting the top off the tree. I did get that shot, but decided that I liked him removing the next section better as there were fewer branches to obstruct the view of the worker. I spent about 30 minutes watching him work and taking pictures from different spots.
Here is the image I started with, basically straight out of the camera, with no edits.
As you can see, the image is pretty good, with isolation and pretty good contrast, etc.
Next, I played around in Lightroom for a while and decided I liked the look of higher tonal contrast applied to the image. I used a preset for this, but the main changes were to bump Clarity, Shadows and Whites, while pushing down Contrast, Highlights and Blacks. As shown below.
Next, I converted the iamge to black and white to see how that would look. I also used a preset for this, but then played around some. Here are the final B&W settings:
The final image is shown below. I did make a few more changes after converting to black and white. I added a slight vignette and also removed some of the bigger pieces of wood chips (with the spot removal tool) that were distracting. The conversion to black and white really helped to highlight all of the wood chips and also added a little drama to the workers clothes.
Let me know if you like this kind of information and I’ll do more in the future.