Flashes of Happiness

Over a month ago, two of my very good friends were married at the Swan Club. After the wedding I’d attended the month before (see So Happy Together), I was excited about applying the knowledge I’d gained from my last wedding to this one. There were a few differences between the two weddings, but I found what was most difficult for me was the lighting. The flash I use is the internal one on my camera, which is fine if you’re close. Put the subject at the end of a long room and forget about it. Luckily, the photographers and I seemed to have similar timing for picture taking and I have quite a few photos that caught their light source, saving my photos. The photos without this light source are absolutely riddled with noise. It’s just another reason why I’m looking at purchasing a Nikon Speedlight (see The Hat’s Where It’s At).

It’s taken me a while to edit the photos because I accidentally took them all in RAW. There’s nothing wrong with RAW. In fact, it’s the closest thing to a negative that digital has to offer. What’s difficult about it in my case is I’ve yet to purchase an editing software that supports the changes I can make with it — ridding my photos of the exorbitant amount of noise, and bringing up the brightness and color without washing out the photo. Why? Because it’s crazy expensive. Fortunately for me, I now have access to Photoshop CS4 which I’ve been reading up on so that I can improve the photos in this post. Reading Photoshop CS4 for Dummies is taking a lot longer than I expected though. Rather than keep these photos from the world any longer (or mostly just the bride and groom), I thought I’d put them up now. The edited shots will come, but for now, enjoy!

The biggest difference between a RAW file and a JPEG file is the following very pertinent information. Every time you save a JPEG file, it condenses itself, which eventually distorts and damages the image, whether you’re copy-pasting or editing and saving. RAW is considered “lossless”, as the information that was originally there stays that way. The file never tries to downsize itself, so time or editing or saving cannot harm it. The editing software I own is Picasa, which is free and easy to learn for JPEG but less than useful for RAW, especially when Picasa tries to save your RAW photo changes at JPEGs. Either way, it is a good idea to make a duplicate of your files before you begin editing.

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