Reducing The Clarity

When taking photographs, we typically try to get them as ‘pin-sharp’ as possible; but keeping those hands steady, especially with a heavy camera and lens, can be quite a challenge sometimes.

For those shots that are perhaps not as sharp as we would like, editing programmes such as Photoshop contain tools and options that can assist, some of which I am a regular user of.

However, whilst editing some recent photos in ‘Lightroom’, I was playing with one such option, ‘Clarity’ – but instead of sharpening my photos, i reduced the amount of clarity, which made the photos softer, and for certain types of images, I found the effects to be very pleasing.

The beach shot above, taken during my visit to Australia at the end of last year shows the impact that the effect can have – the trees particularly, take on a completely different texture.

To illustrate the impact of the ‘clarity’ option, compare this ‘before and after’ shot – overlooking the River Thames in London, taken last month.

Reducing the clarity of the first photo has a dramatic impact – all the key features of the shot, especially the clouds and water, look totally different. Which one do you prefer?

A few more photos that have been given the reduced clarity treatment – starting with further shots taken last year in Australia:

It was this next shot, taken in Albury, New South Wales, that first really triggered my curiosity about the impact of reducing the clarity of these photos; it’s one of my favourites.

This next shot was taken on my trip to Berlin in January, it features the Reichstag parliament building.

Finally, closer to home, much closer in fact, the village green at Staplefield, in West Sussex, UK, where we are currently living.

So, rather than always aspiring to the sharpest of images, I’m now a fan of a more softer look to some of my photos – in fact, its only after reviewing this post prior to publishing that I noticed one thing that every photo here has in common – they all include trees! Maybe that is the key component?

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