A bit of a general discussion thing here.
I'm starting to post process a few of my images a bit more than what I have in the past. By that I mean doing things that are noticably changing the perception of the image (split tones, significantly altering curves etc) rather than just tidying up (fixing horizon, boosting under etc).
I can see myself falling into a bit of a trap here though. A lot of images just look better (to me) post processed. Which is kinda the point. The only thing is, they also look quite unfaithful.
I used to stand by a rule where if i could really see what process I'd used I had over done it. I think that's a good rule really but it can also be quite restrictive.
I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't want to go on some rampage through my library massively boosting contrast, vignette and two toning it up. At the same time though I'd like to start experimenting.
Here are a couple of examples (links lead to proper size).
In this one I was genuinely trying to get a lomo type effect. That means bending the curves into a S and upping the contrast significantly. Also boosting blacks. I reckon it can look ok on metal/shiny surfaces which the helicopter is. At the same time I think I overdid the contrast judging by the trees in the background. I added blue to the highlights from memory to make the paint stand out a bit more than it would otherwise. Added a (very strong!) vignette to lead the photo a bit.
Didn't change much here except for adding a two tone process. I gave the highlights a strong yellow and the darks a dark blue tinge. In this case this reflected the colours already present but exagerated them quite a bit. Added a vignette which I now think was a mistake. I also applied the correction data in LR3 and saw for the first time how much barrel distortion my has.
Another genuinely 'contrasty' image. All I've done here is experiment with the curves, contrast
but then also split toned the image again. Here I've used blue in the darks and green in the highlights, again trying to exentuate the contrast that's there already.
Most of the processing here is overdone (imo) as it's the first time I've experimented with the different techniques. Hopefully though I've given a decent indication of what I've tried to do and why.
At the same time I hope I've sort of pointed out a slippery slope I seem to have found myself on.
I could probably apply split toning to anything, likewise a vignette will always lead a viewer toward a subject near the centre...so why don't all images have big black vignettes? Is it right/wrong to exentuate everything that makes an image pleasing to begin with?
Anyway, just some ramblings while I experiment with LR/PS and hopefully get some good discussion happening in the meantime.
I might post the originals as well for reference.