The ‘half’ rule
We’re nearly out of #TravelTuesday’s for the year! How sad! I wonder what the 2019 #TravelTuesday situation will be. The Tuesdays of the future will probably be shinier and more streamlined, but for now I have one of the last 2018 #TravelTuesdays for you. I’m Dave Williams, and as usual I’m here for you, laying down what I’ve learned on my journey as a travel photographer. I hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down! Let’s go!
So, today is all about halves. The half rule, in particular. This is something that will always stick with me since I heard about it, and something that is up there with the most valuable pieces of retouching advice I have heard and can offer back to you.
Firstly, the disclaimer. Very rarely will you see a photographer’s unprocessed RAW file. You’re about to see one of mine. No judging, please!
So that’s Iceland. More specifically, if you were wondering, it’s up on the hill above the church in Vik at the southern tip of Iceland, facing east. The image is of course quite flat and unsaturated, among other things, that being the very nature of a RAW file. The retouching process comes next as part of every photographers flow, and it’s this to which the half rule applies. Let’s go to work: –
Here’s the result of my labour. The image has been processed, the sliders have been slid, and the image coming out the other end has far more dynamic range, far more saturation, far more clarity, etc etc. This aesthetically driven approach is how we all work, shifting the sliders around and judging the image by eye. The thing that happens and that we need to be mindful of is that the difference between the flat looking original versus the saturated looking result is actually quite stark but, albeit quickly, that difference is the result of a relatively gradual process whereby we see all the changes occurring along the way. What we perceive at this moment to be a great image may actually be overdone. and that’s not something we want. The half rule is applied now.
By taking the position of all the sliders to the half way points between the neutral and the resulting positions we of course apply half of the adjustment, however that half is often actually enough to have a great looking image without it being ‘overcooked.’ Take a look: –
The sliders here compared to the last version are more or less half way, with little tweaks here and there as necessary. It’s better than the original, it’s more natural looking than the second shot, and it’s done! The half rule can make a huge difference in keeping our slider-happy tendencies in check!
I’d love to know how this works for you, feel free to get in touch on my social media – you’ll fine me everywhere as @capturewithdave