Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to observe it close up. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics of photography to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom
F-4 Phantom

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Post Processing - A Little Goes a Long Ways

Ansel Adams would have loved Photoshop...I'm sure of it...He also would have loved the computing power we have at our disposal today.  It was amazing what he accomplished in a darkroom.  Just image what he might have accomplished had he been exposed to the various photo enhancing capabilities we have today.

I always strive for and promote 'In the field photo technique'...there is no substitute for a correctly exposed image...(probably a habit from my film days).  Although no photo enhancing software can save a badly exposed or composed image, almost every digital image can benefit from a little bit tweaking.

Through trial and error I've developed a workflow that seems to work well for me.  About all I do is make minor adjustments to the levels (lights - darks - midtones), a bit of color correction/saturation, contrast, and sharpening...and not all images are treated the same.  The time it takes me to complete the process is in most cases is less than a minute and not more than two or three.

Today's photo editing software are marvels of computing power and open the windows to some incredible techniques if properly used.  My take on it is to keep it to a minimum and using the least amount of correction required to bring out the texture, flavor, color, and character of the moment.  I don't really have space to go into techniques and such in this blog...just wanted to touch on the subject

How you approach post processing depends a great deal on what format the image was taken...RAW or JPEG.  Don't expect a long description of both because I couldn't do it justice anyway...but JPEG is a type of compression algorithm that reduces the size of the stored image...then re-expands it when opened.  RAW simply stated captures and stores more information allowing for more extended post processing.

What's the difference?  Well...there's actually a lot of difference if you start looking closeup and become a pixel peeper...but in reality, a well composed and exposed JPEG image will look just as good as an image taken in RAW format that has undergone extensive post processing.  JPEG images may not quite contain enough pixel information to blow the image up to large sizes where as RAW images will probably work better for those types of prints.  But...RAW images are harder to work with and require RAW converter software before you can do anything with them, plus they take up lot more storage space...(By the way, RAW images by themselves look like crap and require significant post processing to turn them into a finished picture).

I know some photographers who shoot strictly in RAW while others shoot only JPEG.  I do mostly JPEG but will from time to time shoot in RAW.

Anyway...don't think the image that comes out of your camera is in its final form...a little bit of tweaking goes a long ways.

1 comment:

-jen- said...

Great post!

And I agree about Ansel. He would probably not NEED to spend hours with Photoshop, because his technical skill was, of course, impeccable, but I bet he would do it anyway out of love and pure enjoyment!