Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: where to begin with digital editing

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    354
    Post Thanks / Like

    where to begin with digital editing

    just moved over from shooting 35mm slides and negatives into the digital realm. never was a fan of post processing and i didnt need to post process since i was shooting a lot of slides, but now that i am shooting with an M9 and using software like aperture 3 and silver effects where does one begin since there are so many options to edit?

    I guess my general question is do most digital photographers enhance there photos a little or are there some digital "purists" that really do not post process their work?
    I know this is a subjective question. just looking for some opinions from those that have been using digital for some time already.

    i am thinking the least post processing the better.

    thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,347
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    12

    Re: where to begin with digital editing


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    354
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    thanks for the link.

    btw are there many photographers that do not post process their images at all or is some amount of post processing a given?

    it seems to me that most good digital images are definitely enhanced through software and i wondering if this is accurate.

    thanks for the help.

  4. #4
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    10,486
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1031

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    Stated as simply as possible, consider good post-processing routines to be the analog equivalent of selecting a specific type of film (and processing) for the way it renders your vision. So in that, ALL digital files get some degree of post-processing, even if it is with all the raw conversion settings at their defaults, or in-camera jpeg settings at their defaults.

    Beyond that, one can "artfully" enhance the image as you might have done with dodging and burning, filters and lighting and push or pull processing -- but I leave the definition of "artfully" to the artist and viewer.

    Beyond that again, one can definitely over process or "overcook" an image digitally. Again, the threshold for what makes an image "overcooked" is probably still somewhat up to the artist, but probably more critically up to the viewer.

    Next, you get into digital composts, collages or other various digital assemblages, and therein lies the distinction in my mind between digital photography and digital art --- and again, it's up to the artist and viewer as to how they perceive each relative to the other.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  5. #5
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central Maine, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,406
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    I'm going to go out on a limb and generalize a bit. It's my practice (and also my impression that it's fairly typical for others) to process most of my photos beyond the simple default settings applied by my capture software. This is especially true since I shoot RAW exclusively.

    For those images that I deem worthy of further "development", it is often the case that each image requires a unique approach to processing. Sometimes a set of photos will allow one group of settings (in C1 Pro, Lightroom, Aperture or whatever) to be applied across all of them. But I find that I tend to spend more time fine tuning my keepers.

    If you shoot JPEG, you might be very happy with the standard processing applied as they are imported to your software. But RAW will often look flat and lifeless without some application of the processing controls available. You can take those adjustments to extreme and many do in pursuit of a unique or specific "look".

    If you were shooting slides, it's easy to understand your reluctance or dread of having to process each image. However, the digital realm offers amazing control and IMHO is worth learning how to go about it to suit your tastes. There are a few things to learn but a wealth of information available in this very forum and elsewhere on the internet that can help.

    Have fun!
    Tim

  6. #6
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    32 31' 37.06" N, 111 6' 0.9" W
    Posts
    4,333
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    I've felt that there is little difference between the wet darkroom and digital darkroom as most images are processed to some degree in both.

    I also agree with the premise the least post the better in "most cases"

    Don
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
    Blog
    Tucson AZ

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    354
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    i have started shooting my m9 in raw and i am still getting used to aperture 3, but in general if i were to shoot in jpg mode , would the "out of camera" images have more "pop" or "color", i guess what i am asking is does a camera add info to an image in camera when shooting jpg?

    does a camera when shooting jpg mode try to present a more finished image as opposed to shooting raw and getting info only?

  8. #8
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    32 31' 37.06" N, 111 6' 0.9" W
    Posts
    4,333
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    While shooting in Jpeg might seem easier you end up loosing so much. The easiest way to explain is compare a Jpeg to RAW files for size difference, you'll see the RAW files are much larger - for a reason. A RAW file gives you complete information on the image not what the camera "thought" it saw. Having the RAW file is the same as having a negative which you can then process.

    I shoot my landscapes with 2-seperate cameras, one that doesn't offer Jpeg the other does but I never never never (okay you get the point) use it.

    Don
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
    Blog
    Tucson AZ

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    354
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    understood. i totally understand that the jpg compresses and you lose info etc but i was just wondering in general besides throwing out info, does the camera try to add info or process info to make the image appear as a quick finished product?

    does the camera perform exposure adjustments or color tweaks to try to give you a quick finished product or is the camera just giving you a smaller file size to work with?

  10. #10
    Workshop Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    3,274
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    7

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    Choosing to use a particular raw processor with a particular default look is in fact an active processing choice. It's one of the most boring choices one can make (in my opinion) but it is a choice. Similarly when you process a given film in a given chemistry option with a particular dev time and agitation level you are actively choosing to do so.

    In my opinion accepting the default values of a particular raw processor isn't "avoiding post processing" - it's simply (actively) accepting a very bland default post-processing of the image. Worse, the variation in "default" raw processor settings is much less than the variation of film emulsions. Which means if you refuse to "post process" by adjusting away from defaults you are essentially limiting yourself to exactly one "DRP emulsion" (Default Raw Processing Emulsions - just made that up).

    In the days of film it was universally accepted advice that a developing photographer should play around with a variety of film emulsions to determine which one provided the look/feel/response that they felt suited their style best. Similarly in the digital age I think it's important for photographers to experiment around with and develop their own repertoire of "styles" of post processing. You can base them directly off old films. You can base them off fusions of looks you've seen from photographers you respect. You can base them off a book or an article you read (e.g. our Capture One Styles).

    Once you've developed a few styles that suit you I think in general it's good to work largely inside that set of styles as it alleviates a lot of tension and anxiety caused by having infinite directions every image can go, and also because it helps you develop a consistent and cohesive body of work. Most great photographers that I respect/admire experimented with different films and development styles, but most also stuck largely to a few favorites which became part of the allure of their work.

    I should point out that while I believe the above is solid advice that I've found in the last two years I'm doing a pretty poor job adhering to it. Though I have a pretty good excuse in that my job here at Capture Integration is always exposing me to drastically different kinds of cameras, shooting styles, subject matters, techniques, and processing methodologies. I've also taken the lead on developing the Capture Integration Capture One Styles Pack. So isolating a personal set of styles in this "noise" has been hard. As a result as I review my last dozen weddings I find that while each wedding is cohesive to itself the weddings don't mesh with each other very well making it hard to present a collection of my favorite images.

    One area I have found personal consistency is in my bodyscape series where a few numerical presets and a good sense for what I want to accomplish at a technical level has led to enough consistency that I feel okay presenting almost any subset of that collection. This series would be utterly without interest to me if I had developed them with default raw processor settings (in addition to converting to black and white there are several non-default settings I hold as important to the look/feel/consistency of the images).

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
    __________________

    Head of Technical Services, Capture Integration
    Phase One Partner of the Year
    Leaf, Leica, Cambo, Arca Swiss, Canon, Apple, Profoto, Broncolor, Eizo & More

    National: 877.217.9870 *| *Cell: 740.707.2183
    Newsletter | RSS Feed
    Buy Capture One 6 at 10% off

  11. #11
    Workshop Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    3,274
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    7

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    Quote Originally Posted by gooomz View Post
    understood. i totally understand that the jpg compresses and you lose info etc but i was just wondering in general besides throwing out info, does the camera try to add info or process info to make the image appear as a quick finished product?

    does the camera perform exposure adjustments or color tweaks to try to give you a quick finished product or is the camera just giving you a smaller file size to work with?
    The long answer to your question is more complicated than you'd think since there is no "universal default" way to develop the raw data to a final image. The raw data off the sensor contains no color, no inherent/absolute response/contrast curve, no universal-truth regarding the way detail, clarity, transitions, and dimensionality are rendered. Every raw processor (including the one inside the camera) uses proprietary math to make the color/contrast/detail/clarity/transitions/dimensionality. The default look in Capture One, Adobe Camera Raw, Aperture, and the In-Camera JPG of any given camera are all going to be different.

    But it's a moot question because from here on out you will never shoot another JPG :-). You will take responsibility for developing your own "go to" styles.

    By the way, I'd recommend Capture One over Aperture - especially since you're using m9 files - but of course I'm biased.

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
    __________________

    Head of Technical Services, Capture Integration
    Phase One Partner of the Year
    Leaf, Leica, Cambo, Arca Swiss, Canon, Apple, Profoto, Broncolor, Eizo & More

    National: 877.217.9870 *| *Cell: 740.707.2183
    Newsletter | RSS Feed
    Buy Capture One 6 at 10% off

  12. #12
    Workshop Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    3,274
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    7

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Stated as simply as possible, consider good post-processing routines to be the analog equivalent of selecting a specific type of film (and processing) for the way it renders your vision. So in that, ALL digital files get some degree of post-processing, even if it is with all the raw conversion settings at their defaults, or in-camera jpeg settings at their defaults.

    Beyond that, one can "artfully" enhance the image as you might have done with dodging and burning, filters and lighting and push or pull processing -- but I leave the definition of "artfully" to the artist and viewer.

    Beyond that again, one can definitely over process or "overcook" an image digitally. Again, the threshold for what makes an image "overcooked" is probably still somewhat up to the artist, but probably more critically up to the viewer.

    Next, you get into digital composts, collages or other various digital assemblages, and therein lies the distinction in my mind between digital photography and digital art --- and again, it's up to the artist and viewer as to how they perceive each relative to the other.
    Just re-read the thread and I think I missed your comments the first time Jack. Not surprised to see us agree on a lot here.

    Re: "overcooking" a file digitally... I have a box full of darkroom prints I "overcooked" (usually overly aggressive dodging and burning, or over-spotting) and more than a few examples where I "overcooked" a film processing technique (e.g. overexpose/underdeveloped taken too far, or over use of bleach or toner).

    I don't think digital has (overly) increased the tendency for photographers to take new (to them) techniques too far. I think that's part of the natural learning curve for any technique. Though digital surely has greatly increased photographers ability to share the results of their "overcooking" or overuse of a new technique. See also: "HDR" Google Image Search

    Heck on a recent thread here I overcooked a portrait in a rushed demonstration of the skin-tone uniformity tool in Capture One. It's often hard to determine you've overcooked a file (or print/film) until you've walked away from it and come back with fresh eyes.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,148
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    Quote Originally Posted by gooomz View Post
    understood. i totally understand that the jpg compresses and you lose info etc but i was just wondering in general besides throwing out info, does the camera try to add info or process info to make the image appear as a quick finished product?

    does the camera perform exposure adjustments or color tweaks to try to give you a quick finished product or is the camera just giving you a smaller file size to work with?
    To answer your question directly, yes, the JPG output of cameras has had processing applied to it by the camera based on some default settings plus whatever choices you've made in the camera's menus.

    To make an extreme example of this, if you chose B&W JPEG out of your M9, then the software in the camera is applying its conversion/adjustment algorithms to produce a B&W JPEG and store it on the card. You get a little bit of control over this process in the M9's menus, for example by choosing the amount of contrast adustment applied at conversion time.

    Some people are perfectly fine letting the camera do the work to produce a JPG. It is still digital, and can still be adjusted, but it just can't be adjusted as much. The analog (sort-of) in the film world is to choose your film based on price, or just what your corner store has, to shoot that film at box speed, using your built-in meter, and letting the lab develop the film and provide prints. All the decisions have been made for you by the time you get the print. On the other hand, shooting RAW is analogous to carefully choosing your emulsion, doing your own dev/printing, etc.

    HTH

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,083
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    6

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    My question is: why post processing any photo either film or digital is not something good to do? I don't say it is bad, but i see there are people asking if there is any PP or not, it is like they don't believe that photos should be post processed or we as photographers if we are high level and talented that we have to produce photos out of camera perfect always without any PP, for me the nature is the only subject can be done perfectly, but humans are not perfect to be out of camera without PP, LOL, we need to be PP'ed before some taking photos of us.
    Tareq

  15. #15
    EnthusiasticPeter
    Guest

    Re: where to begin with digital editing

    gooomz, start with free editors like GIMP, or with the cheap edition of Photoshop -- Elements -- and decide, whether it's for you or not.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •