Lee Sacrey Photography – Lee's Chatter

Mainly Photography but a little of everything at times

Post Processing, what I do when things go wrong.

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Here is a picture I had taken behind my home in Yellowknife. It is not one of my best but, for what I want to discuss today it will work nicely. It was one of those days where I really want to go shoot and seem to force taken some pictures upon myself. It did go as well as I wanted. So what do you do when your day of photography goes a little south. Well, here is how I handled this days shooting. This is how this photo came to be.

Post Processing, what I do when things go wrong.

Before I get into the actual photo let me talk about how I use to shoot. First off, I was not the greatest at composition . Actually, it is an area that I continually have to work at in order to get right. So, I generally would take more of a scene then I usually wanted and I would crop my photo to what I originally planned on capturing in my photograph. Second, I shoot in both RAW and JPEG formats (at the same time). The JPEG files go on the family computer and the RAW files go I mine for editing. So, no matter how well I shoot white balance is usually always adjusted. So, what has been the process I followed, well here is an example;

The above photographed started out as this;

So, here we have the original I started with. You can see the filter holder mounted to the lens I used. You can see a piece of dust which had fallen on the lens or filter and the pictures was taken horizontally not vertically. Now, remember this is when things go wrong. On a perfect day I adjust white balance (because I shoot in RAW) and I can stop editing.

First, I adjust the white balance to where I want and then I crop the original to show only the scene I want. I this case I adjusted white balance to a cooler more blue colour. I arrived here.

Once happy with both the scene shown and the white balance, I then turn my attention to contrast, colour saturation, vibrancy and brightness. I know that sounds like a lot of adjusting and for some it might be. Again, the perfect shot may only require a slight white balance adjustment but, this photo on this day made me think more was required. Also, remember, I have made no exposure adjustment. My exposure setting is always perfect, lol. I am not going to discuss exposure as that is a topic of its own and there are others much more capable to help you with that. So, back to this picture. I increased the contrast, colour saturation and vibrancy and reduced the brightness a little.

Once I get all those adjustment where I want I turn to another tool I use for every photograph. I turn on highlighting. Highlighting shows me the hot and cold areas of my photographs. The hot areas (overexposed) I can correct with a recovery tool. The cold areas (underexposed) I correct with a tool called black point. Once those two items are completed I arrive at my finished photo.

The final adjustment will help show some of the details that sometimes get lost in the bright areas and the shadowy areas of a photograph. In the last photo you may see some slight differences, from the one directly above it,  in the black area on the right of the foreground.

So, there you have it. A quickly little blurb on what I do the days my shooting doesn’t go as planned. Luckily, those days are become fewer as time goes by. Also, I should tell you that I am currently using Aperture 2 for my processing work. I have Photoshop Elements but, I need to attend a workshop on it to get my skill up.

Also, I should let you know that I don’t believe that a scene has to look exactly as you see it. It can be you vision of what was there, your interpretation of what you saw. It is you the artist displaying your scene. For those of you who feel all this adjusting is like cheating, well that is a blog article for the past and your free to go read it at anytime.

Before, I close I would like to say that for me the least amount of post processing the better. Even though, these adjustments only took a couple of minutes, the most I can get directly from the camera the better. Unfortunately, there are always times when some post processing work is needed and I hope this helps the few people who have asked me what I do, when things go wrong.

Thanks for reading and as always, happy shooting.

Written by leesacrey

January 3, 2010 at 5:19 PM

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