Joined: Oct. 2009
|Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2012,06:18)|
|Questions into the wind:|
How much post-processing (Photoshop, for instance) is too much? Where do you draw the line (if you do)?
I don't mind softening the focus a bit to play down a few years' worth of age, or zapping an unfortunate pimple, but I won't use something like liquefy to slim a hip, for instance. It's probably a completely arbitrary and subjective line, but it's mine, damnit. What's yours?
What software do you like, and why?
I'm using Digital Photo Professional (comes standard with a Canon) to sort through and do mass deletions, and maybe take a quick peek at the shots. I like the interface for selecting a group of shots, looking at them in the edit window to decide which I'm going to keep, and deleting the rest.
But for the actual post-processing, I'm using Lightroom 3. I like the controls and the end-product, but sometimes I look at some really great photographers' work and wonder if I'm missing some critical piece of software, or if its just a matter of experience.
That's a good question.
I shoot RAW + Fine JPG, then dump them all onto the PC and decide which images to keep by looking at the JPGs in Windows Photo Gallery. I find I can weed out the poorer images more quickly this way: delete the JPGs then go through and delete the RAWs that have no corresponding JPG in the folder.
Then I use Photoshop Camera RAW v6 for lens correction, straightening and cropping, then open up the resulting image in PS CS5 for editing (I know you can do a lot more in Camera Raw as well but I'm more familiar with CS5 having used Photoshop for about 10 years now).
Using Camera Raw as input to Photoshop I think provides a better result than DPP --> Photoshop, as DPP can only save to JPG whereas Camera Raw uses TIFF as the intermediate file format (and Photoshop cannot open DPP files directly).
I'll usually do no more than sharpen, colour correct and adjust the dynamic range on the image using the unsharp mask, Curves tool and layer blending respectively, although I have been known to clone out the odd pimple here and there if it's only a 'temporary' feature (or clone out a bird from an otherwise flawless sky or similar etc.) I don't think i'd ever want to materially change an image such that it doesn't represent what I actually shot but I have no qualms about using Photoshop to realize different versions of the same image.
More recently, i've been using the Shadows/Highlights tool in CS5 instead of layer blending. It can provide some fantastic results for images that have difficult exposures (or just poor ones like this off-the-cuff shot I took in Rome last week).
One item I would like to have is a better screen. I have a 'standard' Samsung 22 inch LCD which is calibrated by eye/free tools only. It would be nice to have a really decent screen properly calibrated for this type of work but out of my price range right now.
"Late afternoon sun at the ice cream parlour, near the Fontana di Trevi"
[ETA: Just to make it clear, the top image is the JPG off the camera, the bottom is the manipulated RAW image. If there was no RAW I would have been stuck trying to fix the overexposed JPG which is never easy!]
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