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Post Processing DSLR Images

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1. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member, 385 posts) 5 May '09 15:14

What type of post processing do you apply to your DSLR photos? How do you process you RAW images? And do you get more detailed by getting into tweaking colors, levels, etc.? Or have you set some of these things up in the settings of your camera? Or do you just use your images as-is? Also, along these lines, how do you edit your photos? Are you cut-throat and delete all but the essentials, or do you tend to keep more than you really use? Just curious, as I am finally getting around to weeding through the thousands of images i have collected since getting my DSLR. Thanks in advance for sharing!

2. Posted by Ardy (Full Member, 62 posts) 7 May '09 08:14

I do so much post processing, it is insane. I first process in Pentax labratory, converting from raw to tiff...

then I can literally spend hours in photoshop, colours, levels, exposure, editing.... just play around, you will get the hang of it. I think almost 90percent of the time I have to post process.

3. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member, 385 posts) 11 May '09 19:28

Thanks Ardy. I have been beginning by using my canon software to edit and process (from raw). From here I can correct small things like levels, exposure, but I have been picking my favorites to play with in photoshop. I have found that my camera shoots warm, which I like, but usually need to correct a little depending on the subject. Sometimes I combine shots to correct a crop, or give the overall picture a little more punch.

4. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member, 560 posts) 18 May '09 16:46

I hate post-processing, so I think it's worth the effort to get it as right as possible in camera. So no particular method other than I edit in camera anything that I'm not sure about. No point in handling bad pictures twice. Plus it saves card and disc space.

Just noticed you're freelance graphics, so I imagine you're converting everything at least twice.
It's just a thought, but have you considered shooting jpeg? It would save a LOT of time.

[ Edit: Edited on 18-May-2009, at 17:17 by fabyomama ]

5. Posted by SighMan (Budding Member, 3 posts) 1 Jun '09 04:14

I let the camera shoot in RAW and let post-processing do the rest, leaving the camera on 'standard' picture style with no adjustments as such. I generally keep all my shots, unless it's a blatant fail, then I immediately delete. Memory cards are so cheap, there's little reason to ditch photos on the move - you might be pleasantly surprised when you get home.

Whilst Photoshop is the god of all image manipulation, I strongly recommend something more streamlined like Photoshop Elements, Apple Aperture or Adobe Lightroom. They are all-in-one workflow solutions that import from a camera, organise your photos, can natively handle RAW, and provide a very intuitive means to make photo-related adjustments like exposure, temp, colours, contrast, etc. with high level of control. All this without the somewhat daunting interface of Photoshop although this is still required for pixel-level editing. I use Lightroom 90% and Photoshop 10%.

Hope this helps, feel free to PM.

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Jun-2009, at 04:17 by SighMan ]

6. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru, 1167 posts) 1 Jun '09 05:35

straighten up the horizon,crop a little bit,sometimes a touch of highlight and contrast.
This is enough post processing for me.
Picasa (gratis)and photo Filtre has everything what I need.

7. Posted by Q' (Moderator, 1987 posts) 1 Jun '09 06:28

All the time. Mostly crop, I shoot fast moving objects, and I can never get them to stay still ! Saturation all the time. Other things depending on the image I have and what I want to do.

I learned drawing and painting first, so working with photoshop is a natural extension of that. My style tends to be: I don't care so much about capturing reality as making a really "cool" image. So yes, most of my stuff is photoshoped. There is ALOT of "reality" in each image, but I'll let you decide on what's real and what's not. Only my wife, who has access to my harddrive, is in on the secret. ;)

I also decided long ago that if it's not in Photoshop, I don't need it. Why ? Because it's the software with the most depth. As I grow my skills and learn more, it has the functionality to support my growth without going to another interface. Having said that I'm also a technologist so I "play" with other software as well. One that I do like very much is PaintShop Pro. Very
nice interface, with powerful features. Just thought I'd throw out another name for people to look at.

I don't shoot in RAW. I take 1000's of pictures (my best in one afternoon was around 4300). I can't justify the extra storage for that many images since I keep most of it on harddrives. I would shoot RAW if I went pro though. Since I consider my starting point to be what I see, JPG is good enough of a starting point without having to second guess the camera settings that I chose at the time I took the shot. Part of the fun of photography, for me, is the rush of being
there, analyzing the scene, and choosing the right settings. I don't want to spend hours afterwards dwelling on it. The bits I do in Photoshop with JPG is good enough. Again, not so if I wanted to get "serious".

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Jun-2009, at 06:57 by Q' ]

8. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member, 385 posts) 1 Jun '09 06:51

Thanks Simon and Marlis, I appreciate your replies. I do shoot jpgs and have started shooting in RAW. Still getting the ins and outs of "Digital Photo Professional", the Canon software that came with my camera. At one point I did have AP Elements, however, I found it was a little too basic for me...since I know a little too much about Photoshop! I use it often for my work and do quite a bit of photo retouching. I do know a bit more than the rudimentary basics, as one of the agencies I freelance for has their own in-house studio. I think I am trying to find a balance between what I know goes on there, and ground zero, so to speak. In the world of digital imaging, a straight shot has many steps it must go through to get to press. Most people will never need to go beyond point-and-shoot, since their purposes are mainly for a personal use, like a photo album or sharing here on TP! In the past, I never really got too into the technical side of photography (I know, horror of horrors) gravitating instead towards the more aesthetic aspects or composition and mood. However, digital has finally forced me to go deeper for which I am profoundly grateful.

Since i first posted, I have found that I mostly have been tweaking the levels and from there the contrast and sometimes the color balance as a general rule. Sharpness as well. I too, Marlis, find that I have had to fix my horizon line with a little cropping, as its been taking me a while to get used to the weight of my lens! Its much heavier than my old one, but the clarity is a thousand times better. In the beginning, I seemed to have a constant tilt! I set up droplets in Photoshop to automate some of the simple things... downsizing, color conversion for print, etc. I usually am happy with the compositional elements of my shooting so not too much cropping goes on unless I thing the image would appear better in a square format/panorama or something like that. Occasionally, I will clone out an unwanted evil that I couldn't get away from...things I notice b/c I know we would clean it up for work, but it seems to make the shot work better for me. This aspect of my retouching skills seems to be growing leaps and bounds.

I'm finding that I edit my photos in "Image Browser", more Canon software. I too, Simon, tend to immediately delete unworthy pics, but then it seems like I need to step away from my photostream to edit out the others little by little. The volume of images I seem to be accumulating is getting a bit ridiculous, but I am finding that I can use some of these lesser shots for my business as textures or background elements, so I tend to keep a little more often than not. What I would like to work on from here is to start getting some presets for the inner workings of my camera, things like white balance, etc. Do any of you get into this? Thanks!

9. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member, 385 posts) 1 Jun '09 06:55

Quoting Q'

ne that I do like very much is PaintShop Pro.

Thanks for your reply, and your honesty, Q! :) I Will have to check this one out. The wonders of photoshop never cease to amaze though!

10. Posted by Q' (Moderator, 1987 posts) 1 Jun '09 07:13

Quoting soupatrvlr

Quoting Q'

ne that I do like very much is PaintShop Pro.

Thanks for your reply, and your honesty, Q! :) I Will have to check this one out. The wonders of photoshop never cease to amaze though!

No problemo, Holly ! Answering questions here, helps me to think. Which is a good thing on any given day. You probably have a better eye for colour and clarity than I do. My style tends to be more focused on composition, probably because of the painting background, so I'm perfectly happy to go with funky colours or "mood" clarity. ;) Not really commercially useful material I'm afraid. Good thing I'm not a photographer !

What camera do you have ? The white balance settings are all different. There's usually some preset modes and some sort of "base" white balance photo.

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Jun-2009, at 07:14 by Q' ]