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2016 MDX SH-AWD w/Tech
13 Posts
Clean looking Acuras you have there!

First off, what files were these pictures stored in, RAW or JPEG/JPG? This will determine how much and to what degree of correction you can expect to achieve from the files. What settings did you have on the camera when they were shot, how much sharpening, exposure compensation, using full manual or a program setting, etc.? Post processing can do wonders but it can only do so much before picture quality starts to degrade.

First up, the images are under exposed (too dark). You have lost quality and details on the shadows and darker areas. You'll need lighting compensation (In Nikon NEF files there is a ADL setting that works wonders, not sure about Canon's comparable setting). Restoring the darker areas in JPEG/JPG will quickly result in adding in noise if you go too far. Reducing contrast will help but again this will begin to wash out other parts of the photos. Smart selecting the cars and making adjustments there can help keep the rest of the photos clean.

The 2nd, 3rf, and 4th look to be ok with background lighting, the rest are all dark and raising the shadow and mids there will help them as well. Add in some sharpening and selective contrast around the image edges can help. Black cars are really hard to get good images of due to the way AF systems are fooled by the reflections and lack of contrast. The 5th and 6th image look front focused and this is the AF not getting the correct lock, you can add sharpening to help out.

What is the purpose of the images; printed (if so how big), desktop background, online portfolio/vehicle pages? If printing definitely recover the shadows as prints can come out darker than they look on many screens. If printing check which file type the printer prefers and what settings they will use so you can put that into Lightroom to see who it looks on your monitor. Your monitor settings might make the pictures look different as well, this is why pros have monitor calibration and balancing between the computer, monitor, and printer so it looks the same across all 3. If your using for web pages your edits will need to be similar to raise the details but do the edits on the same diminsion the final images will be viewed at. The larger the image will be the more work would be needed, if printing out 5x7 or 8x10 just some lightening will work well, if making a background for a 4k monitor it will require multiple passes to get the details, control the noise, and keep the contrast and texture where you like them.

I don't use Lightroom so I can't advise on specific settings and tools but from the last image it looks like you've got a good handle of some of the style settings so it should be pretty easy to get to the tools that can lighten the shadows and mids. The overcast day was a good time to photograph the cars as the diffused light prevent reflection issues you get in harsh direct sunlight. If you will be doing this again for dark vehicles adjust the camera appropriately, exposure compensation. I would rather deal with a blown out background sky then trying to recover details in shadows and this can cause image noise. Use a tripod and manually focus will ensure you are getting what you want from sharpness instead of what the camera things you want. Overall excellent composition and framing!
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