Saturday, March 05, 2011

On Post-Processing

Years ago I bought my first digital camera. A Pentax Optio 555 point-and-shoot. I loved that little beast. It went to Key West, Banff, and Israel with me along with anywhere else I went. At the time, I was newly transitioned from using film cameras, and didn't do anything in the way of post-processing. I like the pictures well enough, but looking back years later, I've realized what an important part of the process a little editing is.

Case in point, a shot from my trip to Banff in 2006:

An odd white balance, too much boring sky, lots of white, and what I saw vs what I shot are worlds apart.

The other day I started with picture #1 in my Lightroom catalogue and started working forwards. This may have been the most striking change so far:

And the changes weren't major - the white balance was corrected to give a colder tone, the contast increased, noise reduced, and most importantly, the image was cropped to focus on what I was attempting to make the subject in the first place - the line of the fence. Being a slave to the 2x3 aspect ratio that most cameras have (so you can get nice tidy 4x6 photos) results in so much wasted space.

Too much contrast? Too sharp? Too blue? Maybe, but those things are easily changed and tweaked.

When I stopped being afraid of changing what came out of my camera, and when I finally learned how to use something other than Photoshop for adjustments, I started feeling a lot better about the pictures I produce.

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