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Thread: Over Processing

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    Over Processing

    This may be in the wrong place and the mods are welcome to move it.

    I have just voted on the photo of the week and am concerned with the number of shots that seem to be over processed. Before you all jump on me let me tell you were I am coming from. I spent over 40 years in the graphics reproduction side of the print industry. My job was to combine the type and the images under the direction of a senior designer to produce something that a commercial printing press could print. The last year of my 5 year apprenticeship was working on copper printing plates to produce colour. I have been from the large flat bed cameras with a flat DOF and the large film and developer etc to working in the digital age using photoshop and the associated software to produce the final product. I have spent hours doing proofs while the rep and the client discussed reducing the magenta by 3 percent.

    In all of this the object was to reproduce the image as naturally as we could. I now see images that we would not be used as they are over sharpened, colour is boosted to unbelievable levels and faces washed out to be insipid images. Have a look at your TV screen or the magazines in the newsagent, aim for natural unless you are producing art shots.

    Perhaps it is just me, I do not intend to demean anyones work and if I have offended anyone I apologise.
    Jim Canon 40D – Canon 70-200mm f/4L – Nifty 50 f/1.8 – Tokina 12-24 f/4 - Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro Critique welcome
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    this ole chestnut.

    in a nutshell, I vote for images that I enjoy looking at. processed or unprocessed... it doesn't matter to me. IMO photoshop is here to stay and is as much a part of photography as taking the photo is. what is over processed to one, may be just the beginning for another. why this bothers/concerns some is not clear to me, perhaps others may wish to point it out for me.

    as for printing it as naturally as possible, what I would take that to mean these days is printing it as close as possible to the artists original digital file.

    also note that this differs from my philosophy while at work. when i am commissioned for a commercial shoot, i do not turn the photos into 'art' but rather exactly what the client has asked for. an athlete does not need to be shot against a sunset and dramatic skies to promote a brand of clothing, but nor would you buy it over a well done landscape to hang in your home.
    Last edited by zollo; 30-08-2010 at 11:28am.
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    Remember the word "Subjective" in photography , It's one of those things !! - Bill
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    I'm with you, Jim, but we seem to be a diminishing minority. It is very much 'anything goes' in the photography world nowadays. When doing my Masterclass tutorial, the author was showing us his award winning images - and the results bore very little resemblance to the originals. Mind you, in some cases you would not have known without seeing both. They did not look false, but I was a bit shocked. I learnt a lot about processing, but . . .

    I don't say anyone is wrong for producing an image they are pleased with and that they feel has merit, but I still like to reporduce what I photographed.

    For instance, at yesterday's Currumbin meetup the sunrise was dull and had very little colour. People have shown lovely images full of colours. I did not see that, and I would not PERSONALLY force my images that far. I daresay that's why I've only ever made it into the final 5 in POTW once!

    I'd love to see a competition where you have to show your original with the final version, with some degree of processing limit.
    Odille

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    Ausphotography Regular gcflora's Avatar
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    You have to be careful with sunrise/sunset shots and saying whether or not a shot is over-processed or whether or not the colours were there originally -- just by hold a 3-stop GND over the sky can show colours that are not immediately apparent to the naked eye. Add a normal ND and even more colours can be picked up by the film/sensor. Just saying...

    Edit: take this shot, for example: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4140/...800f66d564.jpg. I saw no colours when I took the shot. In fact it was dark. But, over the 6 minute exposure (or whatever it was) the colours were picked up (yeah, yeah... it's a terrible photo, I just added it as an illustration )
    Last edited by gcflora; 30-08-2010 at 11:41am.
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    I think Ill by a Box Browne and shoot only black and white ore will I get some water colours na I'll use technology and get the Image I want be it natural ore out there.
    Thanks Steve
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    *sigh* Art / Photography = personal preference

    'Nuff said.

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    OK , I've done the unthinkable !!! I'll post these two here seeing we're on the subject , first one is straight out of camera, just a TIFF copy of the RAW File, Converted to JPG for this upload, nothing done at all!! , second one was one I uploaded to the Critique forum Sort of Horses for courses, Subjective , have a ponder - Cheers bill
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    William, that's why I put the word 'personally' in caps. There is nothing wrong with anyone doing what their inner vision says. You've produced a good result that you are happy with, that's what it's all about.

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    Let's not forget that Ansel Adams spent a lot of time post processing his images. He just did it in a darkroom, rather than in front of a computer. PP has been around forever, it just takes different forms. Some people like to do a lot of PP, others don't. As already stated, photography is art and art is subjective. Enjoy the variety.
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    Yeah this old argument just never dies.... some love copious amounts of processing.... some hate it, the rest of us are somewhere in between.

    If a photographer has a vision of what he or she wishes to create... and accomplishes that, then I say well done and who cares what they've done to achieved it.... for many this is an artistic journey, not a process!
    Living the dream...

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    The more I look , The more I like the moodyness of the original

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    Jim - I've been processing my work for more than 30 years. When I use to spend a huge amount of time in the darkroom using specific processing methods with gold toned, cross toned, selenium prints, using multis sandwiched negs, onto art papers painted with emulsion; no one use to talk about over processing. All anyone was interested in was the final image.

    The apparent magic that I performed in the darkroom went over many peoples heads. They didnt care how I produced something. Why worry about it now ?

    I was inspired by a newspaper (The Times and The Independant) printer who used to "work" the negs the newspaper shooters would produce. The difference between a standard neg and the final print was like chalk and cheese.

    If anyone has seen an Ansel Adams print and the original neg, you'd understand.

    I now spend sometimes almost no time on processing and on others I may spend a huge amount of time. I only think something is over-processed if all I can see is a technique and no substance to the image. But at the end of the day, its all subjective and this particular topic just keeps rolling along and is, without offence, a debate with no end.
    Last edited by Longshots; 30-08-2010 at 1:47pm.
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    Ausphotography Regular junqbox's Avatar
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    Without adding the extra flexibility of digital printing available these days, even offset printing has come to a point where they can just about print anything, when you take into account 8+ plate printers. Bottom line is if it is effectively within the sRGB gamut, then something will be able to print it.
    The darkroom/computer debate has been done to death, but whatever has been done still needs to get onto paper at some time and that is where some images die, by not being able to be replicated through a printing process.
    I think this is closer to the point the OP was trying to put forward. But I could be wrong!

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    In general, people who over-process are the first ones to resort to the "it's subjective" / "my artistic freedom" / "let's kill this debate right now" defence. In my view, this is no accident.

    Oh, and Wiliam, you are spot on ..... first one is better, by about 1918 kilometres. Second one is rubbish.
    Tony

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    The more I look , The more I like the moodyness of the original

    'Onya Bill


    As other posters have pointed out, PP is subjective, and a matter of personal taste.

    I'll admit to being in the 'less is better' camp, my choice, but I won't knock those who try to improve on what they missed in the field. I have a particular dislike for the end result of most sharpening apps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    The more I look , The more I like the moodyness of the original
    Haha yeah that's exactly what I thought, the original rocks.

    If anything I would have gone the other way (made it moodier, instead of brightening it up).

    I didn't see this thread otherwise I would have posted in here (I guess a mod could merge if they felt like it).

    Anyway, I was having the same internal debate.

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    Last edited by Kym; 06-09-2011 at 4:44pm.
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    It's all about the Light!
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    The acid test is to print and frame them and put them up for sale. What sells for the most and the fastest

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    Yep !! Thats it Kym , Well said , - Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildenikon View Post
    First photo is miles ahead of the second, which is what I call over processed.
    But for printing purposes, often alterations have too be made from out of the camera files. My son does alot of fashion shoots for Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair magazines, and he says that almost without exception the Editors returns all photos several times to have the colour, brightness and/or saturation boosted. What are exceptional shots with lighting, shadows and colour out of the camera always get pumped right up for high quality mags.
    Over processed to me really means unnatural.
    you got it right. the original of Williams' image above - while moodier, will print too dark. those rocks in particular would print black.

    the dynamic range of what can be captured/printed compared to what we see is miniscule. if you want your images to print anything at all like what you see in real life - you will need to process.

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