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Archive 2023 · How much post processing?

  
 
Ferrophot
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · How much post processing?


My best photos end up in two places, one for publication and the other for my own enjoyment with some friends. Mostly I don't have control of the light and the locations are restricted. For publication I leave everything in, poles, bushes etc as these are historical records and will out live me by a long shot, so I only play with exposure and then minimally to avoid the slightest HDR look.
For those shots for myself I get in and hack out all distracting elements, and push the post processing as far as I can without getting that HDR look. The main criteria is that the image has to look real. I find that it is often necessary to come back to an image after some time and ask myself, "is this still looking real?". Post processing tends to numb my sense of colour and contrast so it is easy to go too far. Most of my second looks result in colur, exposure and contrast being wound back slightly.
I guess in the end PP is a personal thing, and what I like others may not. I still get a buzz when a friend says he passed on one of my shots to a well respected expert and they come back with high praise.



May 17, 2023 at 11:48 PM
Zenon Char
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · How much post processing?


Ferrophot wrote:
My best photos end up in two places, one for publication and the other for my own enjoyment with some friends. Mostly I don't have control of the light and the locations are restricted. For publication I leave everything in, poles, bushes etc as these are historical records and will out live me by a long shot, so I only play with exposure and then minimally to avoid the slightest HDR look.
For those shots for myself I get in and hack out all distracting elements, and push the post processing as far as I can without getting that HDR
...Show more

It's kinda like using flash. The secret to flash photography is like making it look like you didn't use one.



May 17, 2023 at 11:56 PM
Peter Figen
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · How much post processing?


Zenon Char wrote:
It's kinda like using flash. The secret to flash photography is like making it look like you didn't use one.


I would not agree with that at all. The secret of flash photography is to have enough control over your lighting to create any mood or effect or to help push the narrative of the image. Almost always that flash will be readily apparent but if it's done right you won't care. I always refer people to movies where the lighting is paramount and most often to the old black and white film noir classics like Double Indemnity or perhaps Welles' 1958 classic Touch of Evil where every scene is just delicious with not a bad shot in the film.

You have to know what you are trying to say as a photographer and once you know what you want to say then you need to know how to either find the light or manufacture the light and use it in a way that tells your story the way you want it told. And it doesn't have to be strobe or flash. If you're ever in L.A. get out to the Panavision headquarters in the valley and walk through their collection of classic George Hurrell's that line the hallways there.

Or watch how James Wong Howe lit Kim Novak in the 1958 film Bell, Book and Candle. Some of the best lighting I've come across in a movie, but then you don't need to do much to Kim Novak in her prime. And also it's a late entry for three strip technicolor or at least there's Henri Jaffe credited as Technicolor Color Consultant. Or another film that James Wong Howe shot in '57 where still photographers can learn a lot from is the gorgeously lit Sweet Smell of Success with Milner, Lancaster and Curtis.

So, yeah, if the lighting is done right and it's telling the story then of course you're going to see it, and we as photographers ought to be able to see it, pick it apart and try and re-create what might work for our own images. In fact I'd go as far to say that the weakest part of many of today's photographers is their ability to light effectively. Even after a half century of doing this it still tickles me to find existing light that tells the story or come up with a lighting variation I had never explored before when shooting in the studio. Kinda what keeps you going.



May 18, 2023 at 02:07 AM
Zenon Char
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · How much post processing?


Peter Figen wrote:
I would not agree with that at all. The secret of flash photography is to have enough control over your lighting to create any mood or effect or to help push the narrative of the image. Almost always that flash will be readily apparent but if it's done right you won't care. I always refer people to movies where the lighting is paramount and most often to the old black and white film noir classics like Double Indemnity or perhaps Welles' 1958 classic Touch of Evil where every scene is just delicious with not a bad shot in the
...Show more

Preparing for my first event I spent a lot of time studying Neil van Neikerk. Directional flash which provides depth to your shot. If you have to use direct flash the using something to get it higher. Basically avoiding that flat look. The big one is balance between ambient and flash to prevent it looking like your subjects were in a cave. Shots Neil showed bouncing off a wall making it look like the person was sitting by window.

I guess I should have described it like one the sections on his site Tangents. Natural looking flash.

I liked Syl Arena who said in one if his books controlling shadows is more important an/or harder.



May 18, 2023 at 07:15 AM
Zenon Char
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · How much post processing?


I was on the old school DLSR thread and posted a shot from 2009. I didn't have LR at that time but I'm sure between DPP and PS I could have made the file I edited 14 years ago a little richer looking. Second file run through Adobe Denoise, applied my post Denoise preset and pressed Auto.









  Canon EOS 7D    EF300mm f/4L IS USM lens    300mm    f/5.0    1/8000s    500 ISO    -0.3 EV  




May 18, 2023 at 09:41 AM
Zenon Char
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · How much post processing?


As for my input I decided that age water was too dark so I masked it which also took few seconds.






  Canon EOS 7D    EF300mm f/4L IS USM lens    300mm    f/5.0    1/8000s    500 ISO    -0.3 EV  




May 18, 2023 at 09:51 AM
Sy Sez
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · How much post processing?


Unless the degree of post-processing is to deceive for a malicious purpose; "how much" is up to what suits the individual applying it, and/or those that they are hoping to impress with it.

"How much" cosmetics are appropriate, how much spices to a dish, etc., etc.

It's all down to "The eye of the beholder".



May 18, 2023 at 10:05 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · How much post processing?


Peter Figen wrote:
I would not agree with that at all. The secret of flash photography is to have enough control over your lighting to create any mood or effect or to help push the narrative of the image. Almost always that flash will be readily apparent but if it's done right you won't care. I always refer people to movies where the lighting is paramount and most often to the old black and white film noir classics like Double Indemnity or perhaps Welles' 1958 classic Touch of Evil where every scene is just delicious with not a bad shot in the
...Show more

I agree with you... and disagree! :-)

Those who are tuned into how light works will be able to see what was used and how it affected the image. And, as you point out, they/we will be conscious of how the lighting choices impact the effect of the image.

On the other hand, we usually would not want the lighting mechanics themselves to become the dominant impression for "regular" viewers.

I used to teach in the area of electronic music and audio production. When we began using audio effects in my classes it was inevitable that students would initially go nuts with them — tons of reverb, echo effects, lots of side-chaining, overdone EQ, and all the rest.

I would sort of smile and encourage them to "go there" at first (thinking back to my own long ago first experience with an antiquated thing called "tape loops") and get it out of their systems. My way of explaining the eventual ideal: If people listen to your music and their response is "cool effects!," you have probably failed. If they listen to your music that think, "what a great sound," you have probably succeeded.

I think lighting is perhaps similar. If we look at teh photograph and think, "That's beautiful" we have succeeded. But if someone looks at it and thinks "nice side-light," maybe less so. Here, of course, I'm referring to target viewers, not to other practitioners who are attuned to analyzing how these things are done.

I think we're largely on the same page, but this distinction might be useful.




May 18, 2023 at 10:10 AM
Zenon Char
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · How much post processing?


True. My curiosity peaked with the minimal Jpeg SOOC to that Jan was doing. Figured it would be interesting to find out how people approached this. My duck shots was again curiosity about how tech has changed in the last 15 years.


May 18, 2023 at 10:19 AM
OregonSun
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · How much post processing?


RoamingScott wrote:
SOOC is a pointless term to me. If you're shooting RAW, you're not posting the RAW. If you're shooting JPEG, your camera is doing post work, just post work you have little control over. It can do noise reduction, saturation and contrast boosts, etc based on profiles. Why would a "SOOC" JPEG be more "pure" than a RAW tweaked to taste? All a JPEG is is a RAW file post processed by your camera to your camera manufacturer's taste.


The only circumstance I can think of where 'SOOC' is accurate is shooting slide film and viewing it with your eyes.



May 18, 2023 at 10:33 AM
Peter Figen
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · How much post processing?


gdanmitchell wrote:
I agree with you... and disagree! :-)

Those who are tuned into how light works will be able to see what was used and how it affected the image. And, as you point out, they/we will be conscious of how the lighting choices impact the effect of the image.

On the other hand, we usually would not want the lighting mechanics themselves to become the dominant impression for "regular" viewers.

I used to teach in the area of electronic music and audio production. When we began using audio effects in my classes it was inevitable that students would initially go nuts
...Show more

Then you probably hate Les Paul and what he did back in '49.

While I normally make a lot of comparisons to audio in what I do, and while my favorite side chain and one I use all the time is Universal Audio's Capital Chambers reverb plugin, I don't think this applies to what I was saying. Everywhere we look, images are presented with light that has been manufactured and manipulated and that's been happening since the dawn of photography, first probably through large window light and careful placement and later being able to duplicate that look inside a studio or any room or even outdoors. But really, all this is about your vision and what you're trying to say, and the best examples still come from film, and that's usually because they spare no or little expense to get the shot right, but just go watch the Hungarian film Silence and Cry (it's only 79 minutes) and compare and contrast that to Sweet Smell of Success. Completely opposite ends of the lighting spectrum but both create their own feel and mood about what they're trying to convey.

Last year I was learning Jimmie Rodgers' Blue Yodel #6 and for reference I listened not only to the original version but also Haggard's version from 1969's Same Train Different Time tribute to Rodgers. I kept listening to Merle's really great version and the more I listened the more the slight amount of reverb on his voice seemed to be sounding very much like what I was putting on my own voice in Logic with the UA plugin, so I looked up where Merle recorded that record and sure enough, it was recorded in late '68 right there at Capital. So, just because I could recognize exactly what reverb (and no, I could not tell you which chamber it was) doesn't really take anything away from that recording for me. Hell, most people would not have even been aware of any effects at all but it's there. When they recorded Robert Johnson in that hotel in Texas, they put him facing the corner and the mic at the opposite end of the room. They didn't have effects, per se, back then so they took advantage of whatever was available to create the sound they were after. Mellencamp later did the same thing in the same hotel room chasing that sound T-Bone Burnett. All of that is no different than anything we do as photographers, only some of us are more adept at recognizing and/or creating effective lighting than others. It is funny how some folks get in a twist over this stuff though. Who the hell really cares anyway. Oh, apparently more than a few.



May 18, 2023 at 11:41 AM
Sy Sez
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · How much post processing?


Photo-Journalist VS Photo-Artist:

A Photojournalist should ethically strive for accuracy. Should a Photo-artist be so obligated?

Artistic expression: "The conscious use of the imagination in the production of objects intended to be contemplated or appreciated as beautiful"

Advice to Landscape Painter's: https://www.paintandsiplive.com/blog/10-tips-and-tricks-for-painting-landscapes

Tips and Tricks for Painting Landscapes
Give the Illusion of Numbers. ...
Avoid Putting Everything In. ...
Remove Items that Don't Work. ...
Emphasize a Focal Point. ...
Use a More Complex Color Palette. ...

The notion that a Landscape photographer must ethically avoid such manipulation, and adhere strictly to "accuracy", is IMO nonsensical!

So, keep in mind folks, unless you're a Photo-Artist, even adding or removing a vignette from your image is a no-no!



May 18, 2023 at 11:50 AM
AmbientMike
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · How much post processing?



Zenon Char wrote:
I was a die hard DPP user and finished in PS. When I started shooting events I found the DPP to PS approach a real pain. It took several trials to warm up to LR5 at the time. I decided to get it and over the years I started to appreciate it. Figures 6 month later Canon added DLO.

I still use DPP to pre-cull files. DPP combined with something like Affinity is on list of possible replacements if Adobe ever ticks me off. I have said if I could get LrC with the Canon engine I'd pay big
...Show more

I can see people saying DPP not the fastest but like I've said on other threads I tried others and didn't find them faster than DPP, really. Never used adobe much so I can't really compare Lr. Does that do individual edits fast or better batch functions

Using DPP 3 lately seems pretty fast. Older body. Probably a minute per image or so, if not less for some, on contrast, WB, shadows, etc slider adjustments. Even cropping is pretty fast

Still need to get more familiar with the preview (Quick Check?) you've mentioned. Should've gotten around to it by now



May 18, 2023 at 11:54 AM
Zenon Char
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · How much post processing?


Sy Sez wrote:
Photo-Journalist VS Photo-Artist:

A Photojournalist should ethically strive for accuracy. Should a Photo-artist be so obligated?

Artistic expression: "The conscious use of the imagination in the production of objects intended to be contemplated or appreciated as beautiful"

Advice to Landscape Painter's: https://www.paintandsiplive.com/blog/10-tips-and-tricks-for-painting-landscapes

Tips and Tricks for Painting Landscapes
Give the Illusion of Numbers. ...
Avoid Putting Everything In. ...
Remove Items that Don't Work. ...
Emphasize a Focal Point. ...
Use a More Complex Color Palette. ...

The notion that a Landscape photographer must ethically avoid such manipulation, and adhere strictly to "accuracy", is IMO nonsensical!

So, keep in mind folks, unless you're a
...Show more

Ha. I started a post and deleted it. If I remember correctly from the other thread a member said some old newspaper person told him SOOC and minimal processing. That is off course an opinion and nothing wrong with it if it works for you. I got the hint that we are all over cooking our files and wasting our money on software. I'll waste my money in any manner I see fit.

After seeing what Jan was doing in that video and SOOC I was wanted to see what others thought. I was not viewing it for editing, only for Adobe Denoise vs other NR apps comparisons and opinions.



May 18, 2023 at 12:03 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · How much post processing?


Peter Figen wrote:
Then you probably hate Les Paul and what he did back in '49.

While I normally make a lot of comparisons to audio in what I do, and while my favorite side chain and one I use all the time is Universal Audio's Capital Chambers reverb plugin, I don't think this applies to what I was saying. Everywhere we look, images are presented with light that has been manufactured and manipulated and that's been happening since the dawn of photography, first probably through large window light and careful placement and later being able to duplicate that look inside a
...Show more

Les Paul is a great way to challenge my point. ;-)

I actually love Les Paul's crazy stuff... and the fact that he did it with some really old school technology. (My mentor was a huge Les Paul fan, so I was exposed to this stuff early on.)

Here's the point I'm trying to make. Most people who aren't savvy about how this stuff is done — and that's the great majority of people who listen to music or look at photographs — don't generally think about the effects in the way that we do. They probably don't hear Les Paul and think, "amazing how he overdubbed all of those tracks of himself and played with recording speed!" They might be sort of subliminally aware of how he "got there," but the bottom line is that they just really like the sound he produced.

It is different for those (of us) who are practitioners and who really are interested in the techniques at work in this stuff.

I'll give you a very recent example. A coupe of days ago I was at the "Ansel Adams in Our Time" exhibit at the De Young in San Francisco. (I recommend the show. If anyone is interested, I wrote about my response to the show, mentioning what I liked about it but also offering a critique or two.)

One of the slight "misses" in the show was its implicit and occasionally explicit reinforcement of the myth that Adams "eschewed manipulation" as an adherent to "straight photography." (These are words taken from the exhibit itself.) As we know, that's actually exactly wrong — he embraced what we now call "manipulation" in-camera and in post. There were several prints in the show that would have been excellent examples of this, including the famous and icon photograph of Mt. Whitney in which a horse in a meadow is caught in a fortuitous patch of sunlight.

As I looked at the print, noticing that this particular one burned down the hills beyond the meadow and in from of the distant mountains to near black, a young fellow next to me said something about the photograph and about Ansel. I couldn't help myself from pointing out the "secret" of this photograph to him, namely that if you look closely (very closely in this print's interpretation) you can make out where Adams burned down the letters "LP" (for Lone Pine) that had been placed on the hill by local high school students. "Eschews manipulation," indeed!

Of course, I'm fascinated by understanding how Adams got from the reality of the scene that was in front of him as he exposed the photograph to the very different print that we all know. But that other guy I was talking to? He wasn't interested. It was just a beautiful photograph to him and, if anything, thinking too much about the mechanics interfered with his response to it.

So, my point about lighting (and audio effects) is that the general rule (to which there are some clear exceptions) is that the best application of technique is usually when it improves the thing without drawing attention to itself, and when it draws too much attention to itself it can distract from the power of the image or the music.

Like many things, it is complicated and not a purely this or that kind of thing.

Anyway, too many words. But it distracted me from getting to work on some prints I need to make today. Back to work...



May 18, 2023 at 12:16 PM
Sy Sez
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · How much post processing?


Zenon Char wrote:
After seeing what Jan was doing in that video and SOOC I was wanted to see what others thought. I was not viewing it for editing, only for Adobe Denoise vs other NR apps comparisons and opinions.


I was pleased to see Jen's conclusion that DxO Pure Raw was the all-around winner, as it is my current first go-to with my RAW files, with generally "amazing" results.

I still use Photoshop CS6, with a number of plugins, including Topaz Denoise, so the latest from Adobe is irrelevant for me.



May 18, 2023 at 12:45 PM
AmbientMike
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · How much post processing?




Zenon Char wrote:
I read the scientist believe children live in a more vivid world. Grass is greener (not intended as a pun), skies a bluer and so on. As we age our rods and cones are not exempt to that process.


I think people's perspectives change over time. People's outlook gets less rosy over time but I'm skeptical the colors actually change



May 18, 2023 at 01:01 PM
AmbientMike
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · How much post processing?




Peter Figen wrote:
It all depends on what your vision is for a particular image. Yeah, I AM one of those long time (over 28 years now) high end Ps users who has never used Lr, and in those nearly three decades buried in Ps and getting really good with that what has happened is that, when you're composing your initial image in the camera, you're also considering, based on your current knowledge and skill level using Ps, just where you might think the image can go or needs to go or just wants to go. The more adept you are at
...Show more

That's a major reason I went back to shooting jpegs the last couple years or so, though. I just don't enjoy shooting and thinking about pp during shooting. I understand your point but it goofs me up.



May 18, 2023 at 01:08 PM
Sy Sez
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · How much post processing?


AmbientMike wrote:
I think people's perspectives change over time. People's outlook gets less rosy over time but I'm skeptical the colors actually change


Certainly, not the case with me--it was in my 70's, after my Cataract operation, that the skies, once again got bluer, and the grass greener, erc.



May 18, 2023 at 01:16 PM
Zenon Char
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · How much post processing?


Sy Sez wrote:
I was pleased to see Jen's conclusion that DxO Pure Raw was the all-around winner, as it is my current first go-to with my RAW files, with generally "amazing" results.

I still use Photoshop CS6, with a number of plugins, including Topaz Denoise, so the latest from Adobe is irrelevant for me.


You haven't tried it though. At minute 4 he says he could see the difference but I'm OK with his all around conclusion. What I have read is the super users are say to really get the most out of PureRaw 3 which has DeepPrime XD you need PL6. PureRaw 3 is showing some false detail/artefacts and the sliders they added are not enough. Every year all companies have to do better and sometimes that window starts getting pretty small, especially with a mature product. You can always shut sharpening off. I can't back that, it's just what I read.

I had no choice to upgrade to PR2 in January for camera support knowing PR3 was coming out in March. I tried it but I'm not going to spend the money now and I'm not spending $219 US for PL6 just for NR.

Adobe Denoise far exceeded my expectations and it will just get better. I've mentioned before Jan and many others do not cover additional editing when the Adobe DNG comes back to LrC. DXO and Topaz both apply sharpening when they are used. Either way DXO makes a very good product.



May 18, 2023 at 01:18 PM
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