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Author Topic: Post-Processing Woes  (Read 2824 times)

bdunbar79

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Post-Processing Woes
« on: February 10, 2013, 11:43:58 AM »
Just a friendly question here.  Has anyone ever done post-processing of photos and thought they looked good and they looked the way you wanted them to look, only to go back say, a week or two later, and think that is awful, what was I doing?  For instance I had a series of photos that I thought were exposed correctly and looked good to my eye as I was doing it.  Then about 2 weeks later I looked at them again and thought, these aren't bright enough.  This happens time to time and I wonder if it has to do with staring at a computer screen for long periods post-processing and then going back "fresh."  Just a fun question I thought I would pose.
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Post-Processing Woes
« on: February 10, 2013, 11:43:58 AM »

AmbientLight

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 12:14:42 PM »
The same happened to me. I had to correct exposure corrections I had done in Lightroom a couple of times.

It is quite normal that our eyes adapt to our environment. There is an additional factor, which slowly drives me mad, in case it is switched on: My post-processing laptop's default settings make it adapt screen brightness to match what it detects as available light. The same goes for my other laptops. I have now switched this off on all my computers.

What I consider good in post processing consequently may depend on weather conditions and available light. The only way out of this is to keep your work environment in a more stable condition regarding lighting and to switch off that automatic screen brightness.

Spooky

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 12:19:55 PM »
Almost every time!

A lot depends on my mood as well, I do like dark pics... Having your monitor profiled and ambient lighting adjusted is important.

I've noticed an awful lot of images seem to have their colour saturation boosted too far, IMHO, these days. I'm guilty of that too and often go back to tweak them down.

candyman

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 01:33:13 PM »
Yes, happened to me as well. Also, I think it looks good on my screen only to find out it doesn't look good on other peoples screen. I just downloaded Lightroom while I normally use my DxO Optics Elite just to see the difference in use and output.
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distant.star

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 01:34:15 PM »
.
Happened when I first started using Lightroom.

I'd process a lot of pictures in my dimly lit room at night. Next day they all were too dark.

So, I've learned to keep the light as good as I can get it -- and always be aware of it.

Once in a while I have to go back and straighten a crop, but that's about it.
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RMC33

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 01:43:22 PM »
.
Happened when I first started using Lightroom.

I'd process a lot of pictures in my dimly lit room at night. Next day they all were too dark.

So, I've learned to keep the light as good as I can get it -- and always be aware of it.

Once in a while I have to go back and straighten a crop, but that's about it.

I was the same way. I do all my processing during the day if I can in a room with natural light if possible.

Zlatko

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 02:19:09 PM »
It helps to have a reference image up on the screen and to compare the image you're working on to the reference image.  If you work on pictures of people, the reference image should be a correctly exposed and processed portrait.  The white balance should be right on.  There should be a good skin tone and a neutral white or gray.  Because the reference image is a known constant, it keeps your eyes from getting fooled.  Otherwise, it is easy for your eyes to get fooled if you've been staring at the screen for a while.  Just pop the reference image up on the screen next to your current image and you can instantly see if anything about your current image is technically off (including brightness, color and contrast). 

Helpful advice and reference image here:  http://www.atkins.com.au/2012/07/colour-correcting-using-a-reference-image/

Oh yes, and it is essential to calibrate the monitor using a calibration device.  But even with a calibrated monitor, it is easy for your eyes to get fooled.  A reference image is a constant, so it is helpful even if your monitor gets mis-calibrated after a while, or if your brightness setting is way off one day.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 02:33:36 PM by Zlatko »

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 02:19:09 PM »

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 03:06:54 PM »
It happens, particularly with older images.  Perhaps I've learned something new in the ensuing time that can enhance a previous image. 

distant.star

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 03:35:34 PM »
.
Great tip. Thanks!

It helps to have a reference image up on the screen and to compare the image you're working on to the reference image.  If you work on pictures of people, the reference image should be a correctly exposed and processed portrait.  The white balance should be right on.  There should be a good skin tone and a neutral white or gray.  Because the reference image is a known constant, it keeps your eyes from getting fooled.  Otherwise, it is easy for your eyes to get fooled if you've been staring at the screen for a while.  Just pop the reference image up on the screen next to your current image and you can instantly see if anything about your current image is technically off (including brightness, color and contrast). 

Helpful advice and reference image here:  http://www.atkins.com.au/2012/07/colour-correcting-using-a-reference-image/

Oh yes, and it is essential to calibrate the monitor using a calibration device.  But even with a calibrated monitor, it is easy for your eyes to get fooled.  A reference image is a constant, so it is helpful even if your monitor gets mis-calibrated after a while, or if your brightness setting is way off one day.
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Harry Muff

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 04:17:34 PM »
It's called a learning curve. Worry when you don't look back and think that you could do a much better job now.
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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2013, 05:02:46 PM »
It's called a learning curve. Worry when you don't look back and think that you could do a much better job now.

Amen to that, when scrolling through my older shots I am sometimes wowed how I could manage to not see particular things that I'd process the s**t out of nowadays. But I let it stay the way I did them in the first place. It is joyous to have a recognizable progress.
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Hobby Shooter

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 08:22:21 PM »
Short answer: Yes!

I normally come back from a trip or similar and have a few hundred pictures to process, so I work through them over the course of a few days before I export them. I always though save all my RAW-files so it's easy to pick them up in LR again. I often find myself wanting to work a little more on my best pictures, could be exposure, WB, saturation, just about anything. On the other hand, I am still a novice using LR so I'm on a steep learning curve which actually means that when I look at pictures I processed a couple of months ago I only see crap compared to what I can do today.

For me it's the same when it comes to writing (where I am more accomplished than in photography) I like to re-work my articles over and over again to get them exactly where I want them. I guess this is how it goes in the creative field. Doing photography almost exclusively for myself I have the luxury of not needing to meet deadlines.

For you I would think it is different as you have to submit your pictures towards a deadline. I guess you and other pros will have to settle for a level that will work for what the customers expects.

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 09:01:23 PM »
Thankyou Zlatko. Shirley now has yet another home. Very useful - and so simple.
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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 09:01:23 PM »

Hobby Shooter

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 09:43:48 PM »
Short answer: Yes!

I normally come back from a trip or similar and have a few hundred pictures to process, so I work through them over the course of a few days before I export them. I always though save all my RAW-files so it's easy to pick them up in LR again. I often find myself wanting to work a little more on my best pictures, could be exposure, WB, saturation, just about anything. On the other hand, I am still a novice using LR so I'm on a steep learning curve which actually means that when I look at pictures I processed a couple of months ago I only see crap compared to what I can do today.

For me it's the same when it comes to writing (where I am more accomplished than in photography) I like to re-work my articles over and over again to get them exactly where I want them. I guess this is how it goes in the creative field. Doing photography almost exclusively for myself I have the luxury of not needing to meet deadlines.

For you I would think it is different as you have to submit your pictures towards a deadline. I guess you and other pros will have to settle for a level that will work for what the customers expects.
Wow, that didn't come out right. I did not imply you settle for a lower level. I meant, ah never mind, I think you know what I meant.

FatDaddyJones

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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2013, 10:04:05 PM »
I try to keep the lighting in the room the same... dark with ambient lighting positioned as not to cause glare on the screen. I say dark because the surrounding environment can cause distraction and even color cast, tricking your eyes into seeing the photo differently than it would display otherwise. Minimizing the modules on the LR interface and changing the background to black also seems to aid in helping your eyes visualize the proper exposure and color correction. I say "proper" and not "correct" because for the most part, post processing is a subjective experience.

That being said, what looks good to you today may not look right to you tomorrow. Even when all other factors are equal, our own subjective opinions may change.

I've also noticed that upgrading from LR3 to LR4 has changed my opinion on how the process many of my images. I've gone back numerous times and updated the process to rework the photo in LR4. With the improved controls, there are ever more possibilities within our reach to manipulate a photo to increase its eye appeal.
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Re: Post-Processing Woes
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2013, 10:04:05 PM »