Now we’re into the home stretch… post-production.
Every image I have posted on this blog has had some form of post-production action applied to it. Each image is individually reviewed before uploading and may have the following actions applied: color correction, color enhancement, crop, straighten, contrast, vibrance, saturation, sharpening or white balance — and sometimes all combined. I do very little in the way of traditional Photoshopping like dodging and burning, cloning or the like (I used to do so with my film scans, but not with my present digital files).
I should also note that — unlike when I was posting images from the iPhone — anytime I use a dedicated digital camera, I always select to have the images exported as RAW files and not as JPG output. Why? I want as much latitude in post-processing as I can get.
Lastly, I try — as much as possible — to crop the finished image with the lens before pushing the shutter button and not after the image has already been captured. This is to keep as much of the original quality as possible.
Here are a number of before and after shots, so you can see what has been changed:
The take away from here should be that the final images in the camera are never the final images I present on my blog. Most of my edits are simply bumping the vibrance and color saturation, but there will be times when I see the potential for a good image even if the initial file from the camera doesn’t look promising and it needs extensive editing to shine.
As far as what post-production software I use, I’m a dedicated Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.1 customer. Prior to using Lightroom, I used Photoshop extensively — but I found that I needed it a lot less once I transitioned over to digital, so moving to Lightroom made a lot of sense to me. There was a period when I tried ACDSee, iPhoto, DxO and many others — but I continue to prefer the results I get from the Adobe product line the best. Another benefit of Lightroom is that the product is available for both Mac and PC use, which is important to me since I jump to different computer platforms between work and home.
Need more photography information? Wikipedia has an amazing photography portal that covers just about anything photography-related you may care to be interested in (concepts and principles, forms, techniques, equipment, history, photographers and their photographs, etc.) and it’s completely free: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Photography
Want a traditional book on photography to read and learn from? Here is the updated text used in my design school photography class: http://goo.gl/EUTST
Want to chat or lurk with other photographers? Here’s an exhaustive list of photo forums — some of which I’ve participated on at one time or another — to check out: http://goo.gl/aiI6n
Want to read in-depth camera and lens reviews? Here you go: http://goo.gl/zqmPX
Want to post your own images online with a dedicated image hosting service? I happen to use Flickr and 500px (I prefer Flickr for its extensive groups and amazing image depth, but I prefer 500px for its presentation of my images to potential buyers), but here’s an exhaustive list of hosting sites for you: http://goo.gl/jz0vk
Now… onto to Shooting RAW.