Posts Tagged ‘beforeafter’

Another Processing Example

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

I got lots of great feedback on my last post about the processing I do on my photos. In that case, it was an image that I took conisderable artistic license with – much more than usual. I thought I should perhaps share an example that still required considerable processing – but only to return the image to what I saw when I took this photo of Central Presbyterian Church last week.


In this case the lens I used (a borrowed Tokina 11-16mm) caused considerable distortion to the vertical lines because I had to angle the camera up slightly in order to fit the steeple in. You’ll also note how flat the colour is in the original photo compared to the processed version. This was corrected by adjusting the blacks down and the whites up and boosting the contrast (see Lightroom settings on the right – click to enlarge). An adjustment to the white-balance was also necessary.

In most consumer digital cameras, these adjustments are made automatically by the camera as it converts the image into JPG format. Because I shoot in the much larger RAW format, the camera doesn’t make any guesses as to how the finished photo should look. I make those decisions manually in Lightroom as I “develop” each photo. It may sounds tedious to have to “develop” each photo like this, but I quickly becomes a discipline that, in the end, improves my photography.

What does post-processing really mean?

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

I “develop” or “process” every photo I publish. Every photo gets a little colour-correction, some cropping (usually), some exposure-correction, and usually a little constrast boost. People sometimes ask me “has that been altered?” or “did you photoshop that?” when they see one of my more compelling photos. I’m never sure how to answer because, technically, yes, they’ve all been altered one way or another and yes I use Photoshop Lightroom to alter them. And yet I know that’s not what they mean when they ask. If it were then it would be like asking a film photographer if his photos “have been developed” or “did you darkroom that?”

What they mean, of course, is did I change the reality of the scene? Did I remove or add objects or “airbrush” certain features? For me the answer is almost always no.

Here’s an example using a photo I took of my daughter this weekend:

  • I’ve corrected the colour so that her skin has a more natural tone – if just a touch paler than it actually is.
  • I’ve also lowered the “clarity” quite a bit to give a softer, dreamier look – a side-effect of that is much smoother-looking skin.
  • I lightened up the corners of the image (a reverse vignette) to draw the eye into the centre of the photo.
  • her eyes were quite shadowy so used the paintbrush to lighten them up a bit
  • the whites of her eyes were also a little pink, so I corrected that – the side-effect of which was to turn the iris a shade of green — Hannah’s eyes are blue. I decided to leave them green because I’d already mucked around with this photo far too much. ;)

This photo has FAR more corrections than I would normally do on image, but I thought it would make an interesting before/after illustration. The full-size “after” photo is here:

If you would like to see a before/after treatment on any of my other photos, leave a comment here or on the blog post with the photo – or even on Flickr.