Even when he hasn't shot in HDR, Benjamin's personal style is to add the vivid colour and increased contrast associated with that look. Just as important for his seasonal images, however, is adjusting the white balance and exposure of each shot to bring out the quality of light characteristic of each different season.
These initial adjustments can all be made using Canon's free Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software, which is designed for processing and editing RAW images from Canon cameras. It comes with a range of Picture Styles for quickly giving images a desired look and feel, just as if you had applied these in-camera. These include Landscape, which enhances sharpness and boosts colour tone and saturation to achieve deep, vivid blues and greens for skies and foliage. All the adjustments applied as a Picture Style to a RAW file can then be fine-tuned, removed, or replaced by a different Picture Style. Additional styles are available for free download including Nostalgia, Clear, Twilight, Emerald, and Autumn Hues, ideal for quickly injecting a different seasonal atmosphere into images.
DPP's powerful Color Adjustment tools make it possible to change the hue, saturation and brightness of specific ranges of colours, to enhance the blues of a winter scene or the warm tones of a summer image, for example. Benjamin often uses adjustment layers in Adobe Photoshop for similar effects. "For winter shots, I accentuate the blue tones by adding an empty layer set to Overlay blending mode and painting over areas with a soft blue brush, using a low opacity," he explains. "For autumn pictures, you can add emphasis and atmosphere to a scene by painting over areas with yellow and orange hues.
"For altering contrast and brightness, I always use adjustment layers," he adds, "because you can use layer masks to affect only specific areas within the image." This is ideal when he is happy with most of the image but feels that some aspects need a little bit more emphasis to convey the mood.