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.
I am shooting with a Canon 40D and with my first "L" series lens: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, the weight of which has been hard to get used to but profoundly worth while! Believe it or not, I purchased this camera before going to India in Oct 07 right after it came out, but have just been really getting into the techno side of things this past winter now that I've had some time to start playing. It helped that I got a krack of CS3 and a new laptop late last summer, so I'm finally up to speed on my home system. I'd like to learn about white balance and start creating some internal presets so counter balance some things in my camera. For example, it shoots really warm in certain conditions, something that is pretty standard with Canons. (Nikons conversely shoot cold, or so I'm told). So that is where I want to go from here!
I like it when people push the elements with their images. I know there is a big debate on whether to retouch or not...but it all comes down to personal preference. Most people don't know that those gorgeous images they see in print on a daily basis may have undergone thousands of dollars of work. Oh, yes, they've heard of this in the fashion industry, but pretty much everything gets slightly tweaked. I think you need to look at the purpose behind an image, and the photographers statement/idea. Is it real or not? Well, I suppose this is all in the mind of the photographer. There's a debate along these lines in another thread about HDR photography, which goes a little beyond just post processing but still applies here.
My general philosophy toward post-processing is that I am fine with doing anything after the fact which I could (in theory) have done in camera (given an infinite amount of time and knowledge). My goal with my photos is to show how I saw a place, which means that I won't go for over-the-top saturation and other such tricks just to get the best looking image, and so this is really the most limiting factor in my post-processing.
I do freely spend a lot of time in the levels and curves dialogs of Photoshop, though. Besides this, I'll straighten horizons, crop extensively, apply unsharp masks after resizing for the web and, more and more frequently (used to be in 1% of cases, now it's sometimes up to 20% of cases), I'll go back to the RAW photo and adjust white balance, exposure compensation and color profile (if I shot a portrait without changing that beforehand, or vice versa). (I shoot in high quality JPG + RAW; most of my editing just works off the JPG because that works more swiftly, but it's good to have the RAW available for when it's needed.)
The only exception to editing only what I could've done in camera, and thus the only case where I touch individual pixels, is removing red eyes. I don't photograph a whole lot of people though, so this is a rare case indeed.
I only delete about 2% of the photos I take, if they're obviously inferior due to blurring, over-exposure, etc. Of the remaining photos, I only end up using and edit about 1 in 8 (sometimes up to 1 in 15 if I shot a lot of variations), and so only ~12% of the photos I take will end up in places where they'll be seen by people who're not me. The other photos languish on my harddisk and backup DVDs; where they give me a warm happy glow by knowing that they're there for the remote chance that I ever find a use for them. (Storage is cheap and I _have_ in fact had occasion where I needed a particular bit of graphic decoration for some project, and could just crop that out of a previously discarded photo like that.)
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Jun-2009, at 13:49 by Sander ]
Thanks Sander for your feedback. I, too, am finding that I keep a lot of images for design/work purposes, especially for textures/backgrounds and things like that. What type of storage do you utilize? DVDs, backup harddrives, flashdrives, etc....I find I burn dvds and then back that with an external harddrive and leave some on my laptop for play purposes. However, not too happy with the external drives, as I've had a couple crap out on me.
I have an 800GB RAID array in my computer as primary storage (nearly full now, so I'll probably upgrade that to a new 2-4 TB RAID array one of these days). It's not safe as "backup" as such (because I could accidentally delete the lot), but at least the redundancy protects against drive failure. All photos (and everything else I care about) are also backed up on two high quality DVDs, with one stored off-site (e.g. at my parents). I usually have a couple of weeks backlog on the DVD part, but what triggers me to do that is when I run out of empty memory cards for taking new photos, as I don't allow myself to format a memory card before the photos on there are stored on DVD.
When I'm on the road for a long time, I store the photos on my laptop, and burn those DVDs immediately, with one being shipped home. Then as soon as I get home (often before I finish unpacking even), I go and copy photos from the DVDs to my home computer. (At the same time a good test to make certain the DVDs were burned okay, though I also do random spot checking of that after burning.)
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!
hey hey, I somehow missed this post before...
as you know I am a fellow designer, so I use photoshop on absolutely everything! and I've never taken a photo class or read a photography book. I learned by going to tons of photoshoots. So I tend to take pictures as a designer focusing mainly on composition thinking, "would this look cool in a magazine?"
That being said I rarely delete photos anymore, just because every time I look through my photos I'm looking with fresh eyes. so there are times I tend to see something cool that I hadn't noticed before. It really all depends on what I'm using the photo for. even if the image isn't great there is normally something that can be lifted from it for design purposes.