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Just how much?
Old 12-07-2007, 05:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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So........
There I was, taking a shower after a long day of working hard for my money, and reflecting on all the fantastic images I view almost everyday on this site all the while wondering how they get the lighting so spot on. (Disclaimer: Shower and images are not related, I have to throw that in there)

So here is the question, Just how much of the images that are posted are as fabulous as they are solely because of knowledge of lighting or because of knowledge of post production processes?

Example: If the image straight from the camera was posted for review without post production is equal to 100% then what percent would you estimate the images I look ate are original (for the lack of a better word)

The images are fantastic, rich with color, eye popping and explosive. So which is it?
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Re: Just how much?
Old 12-07-2007, 05:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I would guess that 95% have at least some post processing. And if you count resizing for the web and sharpening it may be higher then that.

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Re: Just how much? 

This one has some work done on it.
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Re: Just how much?
Old 12-07-2007, 08:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I wouldn't count resizing and sharpening as "post processing". In the true sense of the word yes, but it doesn't alter the ultimate impact of the image. Technically when you resize you must sharpen because the bicubic filter actually induces additional softness into the image.

That being said I would still say that a huge majority of them have alterations to contrast/brightness view levels or curves. I know a huge portion of them have skin smoothing and eye touch ups. Some people cheat in vignetting.

I prefer as much as possible to get the lighting spot on when I snap the shutter. Here are examples of completely untouched photos other than resizing. (Ok the one has my name tagged on it but that's an action)



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Re: Just how much?
Old 12-07-2007, 12:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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All photos have always had post processing. In the past, we would shoot a shot and have prints made. Those prints were post processed. They were cropped in many cases by the printing process. They were color corrected by the printing process. And so forth. If we did our own processing, then often we pulled or pushed the development of the negatives, then we dodged and burned in printing (and almost always had to crop if printing 8x10 for example from a 3x2 format negative).

Nothing much has changed. The photos that come directly out of a digital camera almost always need a little contrast punch and sharpening.

Often the 3x2 ratio of the average digital format is not what is desired for optimal composition and so cropping occurs to change that ratio.

The question is whether the post processing makes the photo better. If it does, then it should be used.

Overall, it is still very desirable to do as much in the camera as one can. The more done there, then the more data that is available to be spent in other manipulations of the photo.

Regarding your three example photos: They are all reasonable photos from the camera, but each could do with a little improvement and some of these improvements can be done in post. #2 and #3, for example, would be better with some cropping. #1 seems to have no detail in the blacks of the dress and probably in post this could be corrected. #2 will be hard to correct since the in camera cropping is not going to allow much in the way of more favorable cropping.

If we shoot RAW, then we always post process. So I think post processing is a part of our photographic adventure.

My overall take on how I make a photograph is this: I see a scene in my minds eye. It combines model, background, lighting etc. Rarely does that vision in my mind equal what I can create by manipulating of the scene and its components. I can get close sometimes, but often not, and the amount of work to get close, may be excessive. So I think about my vision and the reality and with a knowledge of what I can do later in Photoshop, I make the final in camera shot (and know in advance what PS work I plan). I learned this concept or approach from Ansel Adams. Every shot he made was manipulated in Post (file development and darkroom) and pretty much followed the idea that I have just presented.

Hope this all makes sense.

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Re: Just how much? 


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Re: Just how much?
Old 12-07-2007, 12:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Just how much?
Old 12-08-2007, 12:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Just how much of the images that are posted are as fabulous as they are solely because of knowledge of lighting or because of knowledge of post production processes?
Well, I've never known any image, no matter how Photoshopped it was after the fact, that didn't start off as a strong image in it's own right before post-processing. If an image starts off as crap, then after Photoshopping, well, you're just left with Photoshopped crap.

As for me personally, I tend to not do very much PP. I try to keep it to what you could do in a darkroom -- dodge, burn, contrast adjustment, etc. A few blemishes removed are usually in order as well, but when you get into beauty shots, the amount of PP work for me does tend to go up.
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Re: Just how much?
Old 12-08-2007, 01:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm striving to do as much as possible in camera and how successful I am determines how much post I do. What I do basic tweaks i.e. brightness/contrast or hue/saturation. If what I'm trying to achieve is too impractical to achieve in camera I'll use PSE (though I'm not very good at it) to assist.

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