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Thread: Post Processing Guide?

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    Member Miyuki's Avatar
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    Post Processing Guide?

    Hi everyone

    I know my question is so damn, but how do you determine what to edit/adjust?

    When people comment on what to adjust, they all make perfect sense, and when I edit my photos according to their suggestion, those photos do look better. But I often cannot figure out what to adjust in the first place.

    There are many books and websites that explain how to edit photos, but what I'd like to know is what to look for when it comes to editing.

    Thank you in advance

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    It is a learned skill. There is not 'do it this way' that applies. How you edit a photo varies as much as the content of the photo does. Wedding, landscape, macro, glamour portrait, every genre has its own ways, and even if you put a photo up on AP for example and said 'how would you edit this' you would get 20 different ways to edit the same photo.

    As your editing skills improve you will learn what you like, and what doesn't work and slowly you will develop your own workflow and style. Early on in your photographic development, look at what others do, and if you like it ask them how they did it. There are as many ways to edit a photo as there are to take it. There is not a 'perfect' editing workflow that can be written down and given out. As for what to look for. I would say look for editing that doesn't look like it has been edited. For me subtle, natural editing is the best. I want people to look at what my photo is of..the subject..not look and go, WOW look at all that editing. Less is more!

    As a guide to start out:

    learn how to do levels adjustments
    learn how to crop
    learn how to increase/decrease contrast
    learn how to convert to monochrome
    learn how to clone (to remove that bit of rubbish from the beach etc)
    Learn how to sharpen
    learn how to selectively adjust saturation (but do not over-do it)
    Learn how to vignette

    These are in no particular order, but they will stand you in good stead for the basics of editing and you can achieve fairly much anything, if you can do the above, well.
    Last edited by ricktas; 05-05-2013 at 2:21pm.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Good Q! Basically, it's to "fix" what doesn't look "right" in the image.
    But bear in mind that PP already begins when going from just raw to a jpeg/tiff.
    Only couple of major ones I can think of are to:
    -fix cropping/framing
    -adjust tones/hues
    -reduce noise
    -sharpening (lower in the list because if it need that much you'd have to consider another image)

    There are tutorials - pointed to occasionally here, but... I'm a bit the same. Sometimes you need a nudge to see what needs fixing.
    I just started with Photoshop years and versions ago and learnt along the way, trying out ideas mentioned here as well.

    Am.
    PS: I will say that the Help in Photoshop is quite interesting and not badly named. There is a well-known book on Photoshop, but I can't recall
    the title and I wouldn't even consider it anyway, but you might find it helpful. Its name will come up here soon enough.

    PS again: Right now, actually: the author is Scott Kelby.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 05-05-2013 at 1:51pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    I started with CS2 , Was lost for two weeks But finally as Rick and AM have said , You learn to know what you like , Stay in the limits , Dont push the sliders to much , At first it's tempting to go overboard , Keep it natural , Still trying to get my son William as well to do a Video tute of my simple and quick processing which I'll post here on AP , No layers , Just selective processing and simple to do , each image takes maybe 5 mins , I do it day in day out ,
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    ...As your editing skills improve you will learn what you like, and what doesn't work and slowly you will develop your own workflow and style. Early on in your photographic development, look at what others do, and if you like it ask them how they did it. There are as many ways to edit a photo as their are to take it. There is not a 'perfect' editing workflow that can be written down and given out. As for what to look for. I would say look for editing that doesn't look like it has been edited. For me subtle, natural editing is the best. I want people to look at what my photo is of..the subject..not look and go, WOW look at all that editing. Less is more!

    As a guide to start out:

    learn how to do levels adjustments
    learn how to crop
    learn how to increase/decrease contrast
    learn how to convert to monochrome
    learn how to clone (to remove that bit of rubbish from the beach etc)
    Learn how to sharpen
    learn how to selectively adjust saturation (but do not over-do it)
    Learn how to vignette

    These are in no particular order, but they will stand you in good stead for the basics of editing and you can achieve fairly much anything, if you can do the above, well.

    So basically each person does it differently, and it is a part of the learning process.
    Asking others how they did theirs is a good idea, and I guess AP is a perfect place for that

    I learned some of the editing elements you mentioned over the last few weeks, but I don't know all of them yet. I will look up how to do them.

    Thank you for the helpful advice Rick

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    Good Q! Basically, it's to "fix" what doesn't look "right" in the image.
    But bear in mind that PP already begins when going from just raw to a jpeg/tiff.
    Only couple of major ones I can think of are to:
    -fix cropping/framing
    -adjust tones/hues
    -reduce noise
    -sharpening (lower in the list because if it need that much you'd have to consider another image)

    There are tutorials - pointed to occasionally here, but... I'm a bit the same. Sometimes you need a nudge to see what needs fixing.
    I just started with Photoshop years and versions ago and learnt along the way, trying out ideas mentioned here as well.

    Am.
    PS: I will say that the Help in Photoshop is quite interesting and not badly named. There is a well-known book on Photoshop, but I can't recall
    the title and I wouldn't even consider it anyway, but you might find it helpful. Its name will come up here soon enough.

    PS again: Right now, actually: the author is Scott Kelby.
    What you mentioned was quite funny to me, because sharpening and noise reduction were the two things I learned last week! I will have a look at Scott Kelby's PP book you mentioned

    Thank you Am!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    I started with CS2 , Was lost for two weeks But finally as Rick and AM have said , You learn to know what you like , Stay in the limits , Dont push the sliders to much , At first it's tempting to go overboard , Keep it natural , Still trying to get my son William as well to do a Video tute of my simple and quick processing which I'll post here on AP , No layers , Just selective processing and simple to do , each image takes maybe 5 mins , I do it day in day out ,
    Stay in the limits is such a good advice
    Last week, I did a bit of experimental PP exposure blending for the first time, and the edited photo looked hideous That was a good learning experience.

    'Keep it natural'...I will keep this in my mind

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miyuki View Post
    Last week, I did a bit of experimental PP exposure blending for the first time, and the edited photo looked hideous That was a good learning experience.

    'Keep it natural'...I will keep this in my mind
    Learning what not to do, is a great way to learn what to do. Experimenting is the key. We have all done it, played with a photo till it ended up looking atrocious, but along the way we learned some new skills, and bits of what we did with over-editing that photo, we realise were not so bad and slowly you will build up a group of techniques and methods that do work for you. Yes, each person does it differently, and eventually you will create your own editing workflow and style. One day someone will say, I knew that was your photo cause it looked like your style..and that is a compliment!
    Last edited by ricktas; 05-05-2013 at 3:00pm.

  7. #7
    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    .....
    -sharpening (lower in the list because if it need that much you'd have to consider another image)
    .......
    Don't listen to this bit.
    Most photos will need some sharpening. 'Tis better to do it in PP than do it in camera.

    (Waiting for M's sharp comment now!)
    "Enjoy what you can do rather than being frustrated at what you can't." bobt
    Canon 80D, 60D, Canon 28-105, Sigma 150-600S, a speedlite, a tripod, a monopod, a remote release and a padded bag to carry things in.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Just to expand on this, even take something as simple in concept as sharpening. There are literally hundreds of different ways to sharpen a photo. Again this is part of the learning experience. Most people start with unsharp mask and then learn different and better sharpening techniques from there.

    Ah the joys of learning how to edit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Just to expand on this, even take something as simple in concept as sharpening. There are literally hundreds of different ways to sharpen a photo. Again this is part of the learning experience. Most people start with unsharp mask and then learn different and better sharpening techniques from there.

    Ah the joys of learning how to edit.
    Unsharp mask...I have to look it up now :P
    Only way I know is overlay & high pass.
    I'm currently looking up the book Am mentioned
    Miyuki

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post

    Ah the joys of learning how to edit.

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    Sharpening was my hurdle. Yes, there are numerous ways to sharpen and to find one that works with you is the key. I still try different sharpening techniques and I am still learning in that department!! I also found that to walk away and come back later with 'fresh eyes' was a must - esp for beginners. Something that you hadn't seen in your PP, work because of so much to take in, will become apparent once you give yourself time away (even maybe a couple of days!!). No need to rush. Once you get into a workflow and you start to develop your style, then you will need less time to adjust and play with your images....and then it may only take you 5 or 10 mins of editing. Oh, how I wish I was at that point in time myself!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Sharpening was my hurdle. Yes, there are numerous ways to sharpen and to find one that works with you is the key. I still try different sharpening techniques and I am still learning in that department!! I also found that to walk away and come back later with 'fresh eyes' was a must - esp for beginners. Something that you hadn't seen in your PP, work because of so much to take in, will become apparent once you give yourself time away (even maybe a couple of days!!). No need to rush. Once you get into a workflow and you start to develop your style, then you will need less time to adjust and play with your images....and then it may only take you 5 or 10 mins of editing. Oh, how I wish I was at that point in time myself!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    (dont know why it posted it doubled!! o.O )

    - - - Updated - - -

    (dont know why it posted it doubled!! o.O )
    Monika
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms Monny View Post
    I also found that to walk away and come back later with 'fresh eyes' was a must - esp for beginners. Something that you hadn't seen in your PP, work because of so much to take in, will become apparent once you give yourself time away (even maybe a couple of days!!).
    Another thing I do, get off the chair and go to the other side of the room and look at my photo from a distance. It is amazing how much you will pick up from doing that, something as simple as a better crop, cause from a distance you see things you don't notice up close. Yes you might not see that chip packet on the ground in the foreground, when looking at your photo from the other side of the room, but sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms Monny View Post
    ...I also found that to walk away and come back later with 'fresh eyes' was a must - esp for beginners. Something that you hadn't seen in your PP, work because of so much to take in, will become apparent once you give yourself time away (even maybe a couple of days!!)
    I did discover that Monny!
    After spending a couple of hours editing, and my eyes get used to looking at photos. When I spend a few hours doing house chores and getting some sleep in between, I tend to get better results Just like when I used to write research papers...although too much booze was involved in this

    Great advice Monny. Thank you

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Another thing I do, get off the chair and go to the other side of the room and look at my photo from a distance. It is amazing how much you will pick up from doing that, something as simple as a better crop, cause from a distance you see things you don't notice up close. Yes you might not see that chip packet on the ground in the foreground, when looking at your photo from the other side of the room, but sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees.
    This is a good idea, Rick. I shall try this next time

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    Another good tip... mirror the photo. Just to the horizontal mirror thing and you can pretty much see whatever needs fixing or pulling back straight away. I often do that when I am processing and worried about going too far.

    I think the major thing to learn, above everything else, is the skill in assessing what actually NEEDS to be done. Actually look at your photo - does the sky need darkening? Do the eyes need brightening? Do some things need to be sharper while other things need to be softer. So many times new folks get lost in the possibilities of what they can change rather than what they should change.
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    Great advice Erin


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    Quote Originally Posted by Miyuki View Post
    but how do you determine what to edit/adjust?
    Miyuki, this is something I have struggled with a lot, and still do. The best way I have learned some skills was to ask specific questions about peoples decisions in a forum like this.

    I learnt most of my B&W processing from a bloke on this forum Dug (although met on a different one). I saw one of his B&W conversions that I loved, and just asked him how he got to that all the way from taking the photo to presenting to the forum. I then worked on that one concept for a while.

    Then ask someone else about something that I liked that they had done. Not everyone is forthcoming but most are willing to share what concepts or thoughts that got them to a particular PP decision. Then its youtube all the way to see how to make it happen in your preferred processor.
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    Member Liney's Avatar
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    I'll just chuck in my 2c worth if I may. If I've shot in RAW I'll adjust the exposure first so I see how things look at each end of the scale, then pick the one that gives be the best look. Next it's Brightness and Contrast, again looking for the best levels for the detail I want. Next it comes down to the levels on the Histogram.

    Once I've done that I can play with the rest of the toys.
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