September 23, 2014, 06:30:31 PM

Author Topic: Post processing workflow  (Read 2277 times)

gigabellone

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
    • GIGAphoto
Post processing workflow
« on: July 16, 2014, 04:46:24 PM »
Searching the web about the subject, i found what it seems to be a quite detailed description of a photography workflow here. What bugs me about this, and all the other articles i found on the web, is that no one cares to explain why a certain operation is done, why that way, why at that certain moment in the sequence. And all the workflows i found differed from each other, irregardless of the gear used, the type of photographs, or the subjects. Every workflow looks like a "magic recipe". There are many things i don't know about how to deal with the processing of a picture for artistic purposes, and i'm eager to learn more about it.
I want to learn the basics, for example: raw converters give us the option to tune almost everything in a picture, from white balaance, to sharpening, to noise reduction, to curves, everything. And so do the raster pic editors, like Photoshop. What are the advantages and disadvantages in doing any of this operations during raw conversion? Which ones should i do during raw conversion, which after? Why are there so many different functions and algorithms for sharpening? And why should i use one over the others in any given situation?

I would like to learn these, and many other things about image processing, from a scientific point of view. I want to learn facts, not magic recipes. Is there a book (or several) that can help me quench this thirst for knowledge?

canon rumors FORUM

Post processing workflow
« on: July 16, 2014, 04:46:24 PM »

asmundma

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 36
    • View Profile
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 05:26:28 PM »
It very easy, buy Ligthroom. Shoot raw, import into ligthroom, do your adjustments.
For 90-95 % of your photos, its all you need.
- read on internet what Ligthroom can do.
1DX, 5D3, 5D2, 24L, 16-35L II, 24-70L II, 24-105L, 100L  f2.8, 70-200L 2.8 II IS, 85L f1.2, sigma 50, 2x600RT

Marsu42

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4571
  • ML-66d / 100L / 70-300L / 17-40L / 600rts
    • View Profile
    • 6D positive spec list
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 06:09:16 PM »
And all the workflows i found differed from each other, irregardless of the gear used, the type of photographs, or the subjects. Every workflow looks like a "magic recipe".

That's because every photographer is different, and the workflow reflects this. This isn't some empty wisdom, but it's really worth it to figure out what *you* want to do in which steps and then adapt your workflow accordingly. LR is a great tool for this with smart collections and keywords. Beware, this takes time.

What are the advantages and disadvantages in doing any of this operations during raw conversion?

A complete raw workflow is non_destructive, a biiiiiiig advantage since you can always go back any step in your history and don't waste disk space on storing rendered images. So if possible keep the raw workflow as long as possible, and only do the final steps on the rendered image.

Why are there so many different functions and algorithms for sharpening? And why should i use one over the others in any given situation?

You can spend the rest of your life researching this issue - it's a tradeoff hassle vs. quality. If you process a shot that will be printed on a large wall and get paid $10k for it, it's worth it to really fine-tune sharpening and noise reduction. If you downsize - which you will do most of the time - it's a wash and you won't see much of a difference in the final exported image.

Is there a book (or several) that can help me quench this thirst for knowledge?

Probably :-) ... but it pays to experiment for yourself to develop *your* style. Also look at video tutorials, either free (yt) or commercial like Lynda.

jdramirez

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2355
    • View Profile
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 06:39:27 PM »
I play with light room... for instance, I had a shot at 24mm and I was maybe three feet from my subjects.  I normally remove the distortion... but in this case, distortion added to the aesthetic of the image.

Also, with lr, you can just copy the setting of a previous image to the new image.  Much was the same, the light, the subject, the distance to the subject, the focal length and aperture... but when I used the last button the new image was dramatically different from it's cousin.  So I had to fix that individually.  My point is that similar isn't identical. 

Also... I have a really bad habit of over contrasting and over saturating my images... So I go back later and check them and fix them.  So that's probably my most important step... making sure I don't go off the deep end.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100L->85mm f/1.8 USM-> 8mm ->100L & 85L

Mt Spokane Photography

  • Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 8698
    • View Profile
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 07:14:16 PM »
There are various workflows using Lightroom and Photoshop.  It gets complex if you have several people involved in the process, each with a different task.

Martin Evening has his, Scott Kelby has his, Victoria Brampton has hers, and lots of other book writers have theirs.  Each explains the reasoning why they do it their way in their books.

Some publish their preferred method, but have no technical reason for doing things in a certain order except that it works for them. 

Just search on workflow for Lightroom, or for Photoshop, or whatever editing software you use.  If there is no explanation as to why they do it the way they do, and you need one, look elsewhere until you find someone who does.

TexPhoto

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 924
    • View Profile
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2014, 07:23:55 PM »
So the problem is a bunch of people spent a lot of time detailing the way they do something.  They provided this information to you for free.  But not exactly the way you wanted.  And they did not consult each other to make sure they all agreed?

Those bastards!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7ky-N0J9Yo

My workflow can be completely different if I am preparing sports photos, landscape, specialty (HDR, Panorama Black an white, Etc).  And I have developed my methods over time incorporating what I have learned from others with things I have discovered myself.  Much like ll of my photography skills.  i would imagine that's pretty normal.


Besisika

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 161
  • 1DX, 5D III
    • View Profile
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 09:00:31 PM »
from a scientific point of view. I want to learn facts, not magic recipes. Is there a book (or several) that can help me quench this thirst for knowledge?
To me, photography is an expression of point of view. I really like when everybody is allowed to have his own point of view, especially when it comes to beauty. As such, I do appreciate the fact that photography tools allow every single one of us to express ourself in our own way.
You choose your lens, body, shutter speed, light color, vantage point, ..., you name it, according to what  you want to capture.
Post processing should not differ from that. It should give you the freedom to represent whatever you want to convey.
If all post processings were the same, how would you stand out from the crowd? How would you envy someone else's work? How would you admire the effort put on it? Wouldn't you get borred at yours if you do the same thing over and over again?

I see post processing as another tool on top of my shooting parameters in order for me to better express myself. It helps alot in learning how to shoot too.
To explain myself, see below pictures (Sorry for the quality, I am not a great retoucher).
The first one is what I have after ACR (I don't use Lightroom).
The second is my "standard" post (magenta).
What I saw during Zombie Walk was really a World War II mood but my camera couldn't give it to me. I had to modify my standard workflow to get there in post.

It pleases me that you are eager and mad about it. Was there a year or two ago and still searching for my "way". Some photogs simply don't want to know anything about post and some of snapshooters just want the magic solution (click and poof).

When I began, someone made a suggestion; choose one book that you like, focus on every single detail in it and don't jump all over the place, it will give you a nice head start; the scientific part you want to discover. Later study the internet and find your own style.

He suggested this one, but choose what suits you best.
http://www.amazon.ca/Adobe-Photoshop-Book-Digital-Photographers/dp/0321703561/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1405556912&sr=8-11&keywords=photoshop+for+photographers


« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 09:06:57 PM by Besisika »

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 09:00:31 PM »

Marsu42

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4571
  • ML-66d / 100L / 70-300L / 17-40L / 600rts
    • View Profile
    • 6D positive spec list
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2014, 10:13:40 PM »
Some photogs simply don't want to know anything about post and some of snapshooters just want the magic solution (click and poof).

Thank the maker for that, or otherwise it would be even more difficult to separate oneself from the crowd now that every joe sixpack can buy a ff dslr in the next radio shack (including me) :-)

wtlloyd

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 148
    • View Profile
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2014, 10:28:53 PM »
Books help. Spending time with other photographers, either in a class, seminar or club helps too.

**The single most helpful exercise is regular image review with a group of photographers.

Pretend I just repeated that sentence a couple times for it's importance.
Bottom line, you can't learn to get what you want until you know what that is. What makes a good picture? What are the midtones, and how do I find them? Are selective color adjustments a cheat, or a means to exercise artistic vision? Etcetera.
Learning how to use the tools is easy, learning what you want to use them for is not.

gigabellone

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
    • GIGAphoto
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2014, 09:48:08 AM »
It very easy, buy Ligthroom. Shoot raw, import into ligthroom, do your adjustments.
For 90-95 % of your photos, its all you need.
- read on internet what Ligthroom can do.

That's what i usually do. I got a free LR 5 license bundled with my 6D, and i really enjoy using it. Some other photog friends, one of them being a professinal photographer/videographer, pointed out that LR is too simplistic, that the pros use Photoshop, and that to improve the quality of the results of post processing, i need to invest time learning how to use Photoshop, and also spending a great deal of time fine tuning the looks of my images. I don't enjoy post production much, what i enjoy most about photography is being there, freezing the moment, looking for a better composition. I fell in love with LR, it's simple to use, yet capable of delivering impressive results. I was just afraid that refusing to learn to use other software and techniques would have hindered my progress in becoming a better photographer.

There are various workflows using Lightroom and Photoshop.  It gets complex if you have several people involved in the process, each with a different task.

Martin Evening has his, Scott Kelby has his, Victoria Brampton has hers, and lots of other book writers have theirs.  Each explains the reasoning why they do it their way in their books.

Some publish their preferred method, but have no technical reason for doing things in a certain order except that it works for them. 

Just search on workflow for Lightroom, or for Photoshop, or whatever editing software you use.  If there is no explanation as to why they do it the way they do, and you need one, look elsewhere until you find someone who does.

I'll have a look into Martin Evening's LR5 manual, thanks for the kind suggestion. ;)

To me, photography is an expression of point of view. I really like when everybody is allowed to have his own point of view, especially when it comes to beauty. As such, I do appreciate the fact that photography tools allow every single one of us to express ourself in our own way.
You choose your lens, body, shutter speed, light color, vantage point, ..., you name it, according to what  you want to capture.
Post processing should not differ from that. It should give you the freedom to represent whatever you want to convey.
If all post processings were the same, how would you stand out from the crowd? How would you envy someone else's work? How would you admire the effort put on it? Wouldn't you get borred at yours if you do the same thing over and over again?

I see post processing as another tool on top of my shooting parameters in order for me to better express myself. It helps alot in learning how to shoot too.
To explain myself, see below pictures (Sorry for the quality, I am not a great retoucher).
The first one is what I have after ACR (I don't use Lightroom).
The second is my "standard" post (magenta).
What I saw during Zombie Walk was really a World War II mood but my camera couldn't give it to me. I had to modify my standard workflow to get there in post.

It pleases me that you are eager and mad about it. Was there a year or two ago and still searching for my "way". Some photogs simply don't want to know anything about post and some of snapshooters just want the magic solution (click and poof).

When I began, someone made a suggestion; choose one book that you like, focus on every single detail in it and don't jump all over the place, it will give you a nice head start; the scientific part you want to discover. Later study the internet and find your own style.

He suggested this one, but choose what suits you best.
http://www.amazon.ca/Adobe-Photoshop-Book-Digital-Photographers/dp/0321703561/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1405556912&sr=8-11&keywords=photoshop+for+photographers

I totally agree that what we try to express through photography is subjective, and each and every one of us sees and feels the world in a different way, but photography is also a craft, it's what makes the impressions become understandable by others. Post processing is part of this craft, the part that i enjoy the least, to be honest, but curiosity and thirst for knowledge are pushing me through these boundaries. Or maybe i'm just overthinking this, and should rather be taking more photos. :D

mackguyver

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2983
  • Who Dares Wins
    • View Profile
    • My Personal Work
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2014, 09:52:34 AM »
One of these days I'm going to document my workflow (it's a long overdue project I said I'd do here on CR), but at the end of the day, other than learning how to use the software, each person's style is different. 

Also, I regularly read about people spending 10, 20, even 40 or 50 hours editing one photo.  Assuming they are telling the truth, that sounds INSANE.  My most complicated edit/retouch has never taken more than 2-3 hours.  I really wonder what these people could possibly be doing.
EOS 1D X, 5DIII, M + EF 24 f/1.4II, 50 f/1.2, 85 f/1.2II, 300 f/2.8 IS II || 16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 f/2.8II, 70-200 f/2.8II || TS-E 17 f/4, 24 f/3.5II || M 22 f/2, M 11-22 f/4-5.6 IS | 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS || 1.4x III, 2x III
I only shoot at ISO 100 with perfect technique - should I get a Nikon?

GammyKnee

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 43
    • View Profile
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2014, 12:26:37 PM »
I would like to learn these, and many other things about image processing, from a scientific point of view. I want to learn facts, not magic recipes.

Edit: Just read through the thread properly(!) so here's my shortened response:

PP is just about getting a finished image that's a decent match for the mental vision you had when you took the photo. That's the driving force; when you don't have the PP knowledge/technique or tool to produce what you want, then you learn/buy and expand your repertoire. There's no need to use Photoshop if you can get what you want without it.

Personally I think a good way to get a handle on this is to join a forum that has an active "PP This" type of thread - a thread where someone posts up an image and other members each have a go at processing it, describing what what they did along the way, and why.  Here's one I'd recommend, in that it generally avoids the more adventurous edits (such as background/subject replacements) and has a generally helpful atmosphere:

http://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/the-pp-game.347318/

You'll see lots of different "takes" on the same image. Which one is best? How long is that piece of string?
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 12:36:59 PM by GammyKnee »

mackguyver

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2983
  • Who Dares Wins
    • View Profile
    • My Personal Work
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2014, 01:00:04 PM »
I'm somewhat bored at the office today, so I'll give you a quick rundown of the primary adjustments (tool-agnostic) that I make to most photos - in order and why I make them:

0. Cropping (as needed) - I usually begin by cropping so the photo I'm working on is exactly the framing I want

1. White balance - fix this first as it affects exposure and colors
2. Global Contrast - again, this affects other adjustments - I typically add a touch to most shots, but more if there's flare, fog, or other things that have reduced contrast, unless that's the look I want
3. Exposure - I expose the right for everything but studio lit stuff, so I usually bump down the midtones a bit with the exposure setting, or if there are no true blacks or whites, I adjust for the midtone level I want
4. Black & white points - usually with curves tool.  I make sure to adjust with the over- or under-exposure shown so I don't go too far.  If the shot is high or low key, I'm careful about doing too much or too little at either end.  If the shot has no blacks or whites, I generally skip this step.
5. Color - using HSL- if there is a color cast left after WB adjustments, I correct it here. 
6. Vibrancy - with most lenses, I leave this alone or just add a touch, but some of my older lenses seemed to need a slight bump.  If the light was flat or the High ISO robbed the color, I'll add it here.
7. Saturation - using HSL - If there's a specific color I want to emphasize (yellow flowers in a landscape, perhaps) or reduce (say reds in skintones), I'll use the HSL slider to add or reduce saturation for that specific color
8. Local contrast - I'll typically add some local contrast to most shots, but will reduce it for portraits - this affects sharpness
9. Sharpness - this is usually my final global adjustment and I will tweak it depending on how sharp the focus/lens is, how high of ISO I used, and the subject matter.
10. Local edits - dust spots from the sensor, red eye, blemishes, etc.  I try to do as much work with global changes during raw conversion and I prefer to do as much in camera as possible, but Photoshop is great for layer blends, retouching, masking, and much more if that's what I need.

I may have missed a step or two, but I think that covers 90% of what I do on 90% of my photos.
EOS 1D X, 5DIII, M + EF 24 f/1.4II, 50 f/1.2, 85 f/1.2II, 300 f/2.8 IS II || 16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 f/2.8II, 70-200 f/2.8II || TS-E 17 f/4, 24 f/3.5II || M 22 f/2, M 11-22 f/4-5.6 IS | 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS || 1.4x III, 2x III
I only shoot at ISO 100 with perfect technique - should I get a Nikon?

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2014, 01:00:04 PM »

c.d.embrey

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 471
    • View Profile
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2014, 01:00:54 PM »
What is your hobby? Photography or Retouching? What do you enjoy doing, taking photos or spending hours on your computer?

Me, I'd learn to get-it-right in camera. Also learn to use Custom Functions Here are a couple of links to help you learn  http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/app/pdfs/quickguides/CDLC_EOS_Cfn_QuickGuide.pdf  and http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/custom_functions/custom_functions.do

Also I'd use Canon's Digital Photo Professional, it's FREE software that comes with all Canon cameras.  http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/galleries/galleries/tutorials/dpp_tutorials.shtml

A properly shot file should require little work, maybe some tweaking of curves.

jdramirez

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2355
    • View Profile
Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2014, 01:15:11 PM »
One of these days I'm going to document my workflow (it's a long overdue project I said I'd do here on CR), but at the end of the day, other than learning how to use the software, each person's style is different. 

Also, I regularly read about people spending 10, 20, even 40 or 50 hours editing one photo.  Assuming they are telling the truth, that sounds INSANE.  My most complicated edit/retouch has never taken more than 2-3 hours.  I really wonder what these people could possibly be doing.

When I was thirteen, I would spend a few hours a week looking at a photo... Jenny mccarthy specifically.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100L->85mm f/1.8 USM-> 8mm ->100L & 85L

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Post processing workflow
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2014, 01:15:11 PM »