Time Factor in Postprocessing

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by skieur, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    At one end of the spectrum are those who rationalize their lack of knowledge of postprocessing by saying that they like to do everything with the camera. The result is most often photos that need work.

    At the other end are those who shoot in RAW, often with longer time between shots, larger files, longer downloading times, followed by considerable processing in CS4. Anyone who has look at Scott Kelby's books for example will notice 8 to 12 steps in Photoshop to complete one edit or retouch procedure. The result varies from overdone to excellent, depending on the experience and expertise of the photo-editor but nevertheless considerable time is spent in front of a computer.

    To any pro, time is money, and some begin to realize that they have to improve their workflow in order to improve their cash flow. Moreover although CS4 is a great program, a lot of photographers only use a fraction of its capability. What also should be considered is balancing time spent postprocessing with money earned and final use of the photo.

    Certainly postprocessing is necessary but I vary both the amount that is done and what programs I use to the end use of the photo. I would do more on a book cover or shots for a large screen presentation to an audience as an example, than for shots going into a folder or publication at a size of less than 4 by 6 inches.

    So, anyone else out there who uses more than just CS4 to speed up their time and workflow as well as matching the time spent on postprocessing with the quality necessary in the final photo?

    skieur
     
  2. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are TPF Noob!

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  3. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Jon. Do you use plug-ins as well? I find that some of them are really good.

    skieur
     
  4. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    I don't use a lot of editing. I shoot raw. I had a friend who is a professional photographer who agreed to critique my post-processing. Since he just uses Photoshop and I use Lightroom, I picked 15 raw shots that each had a specific, and different, problem. I went through my process with him and he kept saying I could do that in PS, too. I knew that.

    When we finished he said I had the results he would want and he commented that it was a lot faster than achieving the same results in Photoshop.
     
  5. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    I will have to look at Lightroom. I use Viveza which has the advantage of no layers and point and click to select any area in the image large or small and then using sliders to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, red, green, blue and warmth. This makes for great speed and it does an excellent job on back lit problems.

    skieur
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Lightroom has significantly improved the efficiency of my post processing. Especially when working on a large group of images.

    I used to use a different RAW editor (RawShooter Essentials) and then move everything into Photoshop. I created plenty of actions to help speed up my workflow...but was still slow and tedious at time.

    Lightroom makes it so easy to do a lot of things quickly and efficiently. And the non-destructive workflow really is a better system.

    Sure, everything you can do in LR, you can also do in Photoshop/Bridge. That's not in question. It's just a different workflow.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I can not agree with your first premise, which is, "At one end of the spectrum are those who rationalize their lack of knowledge of postprocessing by saying that they like to do everything with the camera. The result is most often photos that need work."

    That is a strawman argument,very carefully crafted, but it misses the point that the ideal situation is to get it right in the camera. If you select the proper ISO value, the right aperture, the correct framing, and the right lighting ratio and lighting set-up, and have the camera set to the proper tone curve,and if you desire, set the sharpening to a rather high level, it is possible to produce print-ready files by shooting RAW+JPEG images...images that have the correct exposure,the right white balance, the right lighting ratio, and the correct degree of contrast,and sharpening, all because you've shot digital capture as if you were shooting on color positive (slide) film.

    To anybody who learned serious photography in the age before digital SLRs, there was a series of technical requirements that had to be satisfied on EVERY shot, and that meant metering the lights the right way, understanding how to meter the subject with incident light metering and to meter the background using a reflected light reading to understand the relative strength of the lights,and how to get a perfect white backdrop, or a gray one, and so on. Those who learned how to use a light meter to set a *perfect* lighting ratio, giving them *perfect* contrast and *perfect* color, with no retouching---uh, those people are today's currently high-payed professional portrait,wedding,and fashion shooters.

    One can do almost everything in-camera, at the time of shooting, if one approaches digital with technical proficiency and understanding, and can bring a shoot into Lightroom or Photoshop CS and merely make a couple of batch-level tweaks and the shots will be of extremely high quality. The higher the skill level and the higher the discipline level demonstrated at the camera stage, the lower the need for post work to overcome sloppy technique or lack of conviction.

    When you shoot studio work, or location portraits, and each work print costs you $3.00 a shot in old-time money, you learn that there is no substitute for knowing how to light, reflect light, meter, focus,and compose the correct way. When it costs $12.99 for twelve small proofs, you learn how to do it right. But when it costs $20 for a 2-gig card that will hold 100 images and do so for ten years, it tends to make newer people less aware of how much really *could be* under their control.

    2009--"Ah, I'll fix it later." 1999--'"We need to dial that fill light down three tenths of a stop."
     
  8. loopy

    loopy Brave little froggy...

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    I try to do as little post processing as possible. I work as a graphic/web design and spend 8+ hours /day on a computer already. The last thing I want to do is fill up my weekends processing photos in photoshop. In my case it's not a lack of knowledge... I'd just rather not do it. :p

    Lightroom has had a huge impact on the time I spend post processing, seriously I love it. I barely open up photoshop to post process.
     
  9. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Well, first of all I learned photography before digital and spent my own money on film and learned everything the "correct" way. After 30 years of producing multi-screen large scale slide presentations I became pretty familiar with colour slide film.

    However, when I got into television production and the original digital cameras I discovered that there were distinct differences in quality and many of these differences still exist today despite the improvements.

    Digital photography still has fewer colours, fewer tones, and harsher contrast than slide photography. Blending, shades, and minute changes in colour at dawn can be portrayed better on film than digital. Detail gets lost in shadow in a digital photo that shows up in a film shot of the same scene. Highlights burn out much easier in digital than they do on film. The range of exposure to produce a good print is much greater with film than it is with digital as well.

    Every digital photo requires postprocessing. You don't need to agree with me. It is the consensus of several experts. Ted Padova and Don Mason wrote a book indicating that ALL digital photos require colour correction:
    "Colour Correction for Digital Photographers". Others have indicated that work with detail in shadow and highlight areas is necessary in all photos.
    Portrait photographers have indicated that what was previously done in the darkroom, needs to be done in postprocessing on all digital photos. Landscape photographers have said that contrast needs to be improved, haze reduced, and colours warmed beyond filter use on camera. The list goes on and:

    I stand by what I said: Not doing postprocessing is a rationalization for not knowing how to do it, or not being comfortable with computers.

    skieur
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Funny,and very weak technically. A modern digital SLR has a MUCH wider dynamic range than any color slide film--Kodachrome,Ektachome,Agfachrome,Fuhichrome--ALL of those films and all of their minor variations had,and or have a narrower dynamic range than a modern D-slr.

    You strawman argument that people avoid post-processing because they don't know how to perform it is patently ridiculous. You set up a premise, and gave an answer, but in the face of a reasoned post, you reply with a technically incorrect argument right off the bat.

    I've shot miles of film...digital handles color nuance quite splendidly in the hands of an experienced shooter. Why do you think National Geographic, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, and other full-color magazines that deal with *photography* have ALL gone digital??? WHy have they dumped film?

    Digital is a better capture medium than color slide film. Higher ISO's. No grain. Higher acutance. Higher resolution. Better white balance tailoring without filtration.

    Producing slide shows is far different than actually shooting images. I did not say that post was not needed: I said If one knows what he is doing,and tailors the camera's settings, including loading a custom curve INTO the camera (I doubt you know how to load a curve directly into your camera), that one can produce images that need only a few batch adjustments.

    Get it right in the field, rather than try and make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, that's what I am advocating. Not slaving over a carp image to make an "okay" file, but working to do it right, in-camera. I think you missed the reading comprehension requirement to read a post like mine, probably since it pointed out your strawman premise right off the get-go.

    Maybe you ought to have read my premise again,mr slide show producer,
    "One can do almost everything in-camera, at the time of shooting, if one approaches digital with technical proficiency and understanding, and can bring a shoot into Lightroom or Photoshop CS and merely make a couple of batch-level tweaks and the shots will be of extremely high quality. The higher the skill level and the higher the discipline level demonstrated at the camera stage, the lower the need for post work to overcome sloppy technique or lack of conviction."

    How did you miss the statement--do it right in the field, and post-processing becomes a matter of simple,easy corrections in Lightroom of Photoshop?

    How did you get the idea that color slide film is worse than digital capture? Look at National Geographic and please, do tell us when it went to hell,okay? Again, digital capture has a wider DR than ANY slide film ever made.

    People shot slide film for decades,and the final slide was the final slide. But apparently, all that work was junk,since it wasn't post-processed, right? Do you see the strawman appearing,now?
     
  11. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    So, just to take one item: "A modern digtal SLR has a much wider dynamic range than any slide film." Is that why DSLR cameras needed to get into dynamic range optimization in their menus? Or perhaps that explains why many DSLR photographers felt the need to get into HDR and bracketting and even blending layers to improve dynamic range. Perhaps that also explains why so many authors feel the need to explain to digital photographers how they can improve dynamic range in their shots through postprocessing.

    What can I say, there is either a lot that you do not notice or see in slide photography or at lot that you are missing in looking at digital photography. You also seem to equate postprocessing with correcting errors. That is not necessarily the case. Colour correction, contrast, and tones for example, need to be adjusted and improved on all digital photos.
    Of course, we are probably not talking about the same type or quality of shots.

    Anyway, we are obviously on complete different wave lengths and have completely different backgrounds in the type of work we do.

    À chacun, son goût! (To each, his own.)

    skieur
     
  12. Moglex

    Moglex TPF Noob!

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    That is more a matter of the fact that they can perform such a function whereas a film camera can't. It says nothing one way or the other about the fundamental DR.

    HDR, as the term is used by photographers to mean 'tone mapped HDR' is not predicated on the original capture medium. You could get the same result by bracketing film and then scanning. It is to do with mapping a dynamic range that is greater then the display medium can accomodate natively.
     

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