Old 02-15-2007, 05:46 AM   #1
Mike B.
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Default Processing Really Needed?

Hello,
I've only been using my dSLR for a month and I haven't really done any type of processing. All I do is convert and resize the photo and maybe do a slight crop. I don't do any type of sharpening or adjustment of the exposure.

Am I missing out on a lot of quality by not editing my photos?
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Old 02-15-2007, 05:47 AM   #2
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Can you show us an example?

BTW, here's an example of straight from the camera vs. a processed image:

Out of the Camera:
http://paulhamus.rrpicturearchives.n...aspx?id=173147

Processed:
http://paulhamus.rrpicturearchives.n...aspx?id=173148
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Old 02-15-2007, 06:04 AM   #3
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Chris, your 'processed' version looks a little over-saturated to mine eyes.

As for post-processing, I maintained what some might call the "dull" texture to it, and attached it to this reply.

My extent of post-processing, outside of resizing (and occasional sharpen), is working the histogram slightly for any shots which might be 1/3-stop over or under-exposed. I don't mess with all those funky saturation or hue settings, personally.
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Old 02-15-2007, 06:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Chris, your 'processed' version looks a little over-saturated to mine eyes.
Yeah, but that's not the point. It is probably oversaturated, but the point is to show that out-of-the-camera shots are just the start...there's so much to be 'unlocked' with post processing. My example is to show the night and day difference between the two versions...
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Old 02-15-2007, 06:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Hello,
I've only been using my dSLR for a month and I haven't really done any type of processing. All I do is convert and resize the photo and maybe do a slight crop. I don't do any type of sharpening or adjustment of the exposure.

Am I missing out on a lot of quality by not editing my photos?
Most likely, the answer is a big YES.
I tend to edit or process anything short of a grab shot.

Keep in mind, your camera may be "processing" your images for you. Certain cameras have adjustable settings allowing you to specify whether the image remains flat (unmodified) or in some cases, allow you to boost the saturation (color (extra color)), increase the sharpness (the effect of sharpness), and in most cases adjust the color temperature (depending on what type lighting you are shooting under). Of course choosing a lower ISO setting will yield less grain. Other settings allow you to shoot in B&W or Sepia.

I shoot completely flat - unmodified and in RAW (most of the time). This gives you the most control on the final outcome, however, editing photos can be quite time consuming so choose as your needs desire.

Typical post processing routines - routinely discussed here and via a quick search on GOOGLE include the following:
Sharpening /unsharpening (which is another form of image sharpening).
Contrast adjustments (loose that hazy look and increase the contrast and brightness).
Levels and Curves
And lastly, a bag of tricks which can be used legitimately such as dodge (lightening certain areas of a photo) and burn (darkening certain areas of a photo) and, regarding RP, illegitimately - manipulations (removing poles and such) basically altering an image so that it no longer represents what you really saw.

Editing is all part of the picture (pun intended). Before digital, film was edited and manipulated as well, usually chemically or perhaps variances in process timing. Some photos are even enhanced with airbrush.

Look at your photo - if it's not as you saw it, or in certain cases, if it is not the finished product you are looking for, then it's time to begin the editing process. Much easier now in the digital realm.

At the very least, I would suggest experimenting with sharpening filters and contrast /brightness controls.

/Mitch
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Old 02-15-2007, 02:10 PM   #6
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On perfectly sunny days I don't usually need to saturate, lighten or other work on photos, but practically all photos could use some sharpening.
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Old 02-15-2007, 07:01 PM   #7
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Here are a few photos I've submitted to RP that haven't been processed.
http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=18181
Could a lot more be had with processing of these photos?

I'm using a Nikon D80 and have upped the sharpness by one level but everything else is on default.
In my photos I try to accurately replicate what I saw and disagree with editing out phone poles, boxes etc. If I mess up a photo while taking it, I won't try to save it with editing. I came from slide photos and kind of miss them because no processing was needed on the user end. The advantages of digital far out weigh that plus to slide film though.

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Old 02-15-2007, 10:26 PM   #8
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I think they could use a round or two of USM. They look good as is, but a some sharpening wouldn't hurt any...
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:29 AM   #9
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What's USM?
Does PS support D80 RAW/NEF files?
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Does PS support D80 RAW/NEF files?
See the thread right below this one:
http://www.railpictures.net/forums/s...ead.php?t=4893

As for USM, that's 'Unsharp Mask.' It's a common technique people use to sharpen their image. Here's an awesome thread on different techniques on how to sharpen:
http://www.railpictures.net/forums/s...ead.php?t=4522

Typically images come out of the camera a tad soft as a built-in feature to reduce noise in the image (Canon is probably more known for this than Nikon). But some post-shot sharpening is almost always a must (for me anyway)...
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Hello,
I've only been using my dSLR for a month and I haven't really done any type of processing.....
In six months, you will come to look at photography entirely different than you do now. I've gone through various stages of doing little processing to understanding that processing digital files on a computer is the darkroom of old school photoraphy.


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Old 02-16-2007, 01:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
In six months, you will come to look at photography entirely different than you do now. I've gone through various stages of doing little processing to understanding that processing digital files on a computer is the darkroom of old school photoraphy.


Joe
I actually really enjoy it. I think it's just another aspect of getting the most out of digital photography.
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:48 AM   #13
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Some folks already know this, but recently I had a big time scale back on my workflow. I've gone to shooting RAW + Jpeg but processing the Jpeg ( ) and doing the basics when it comes to post processing. I had gotten too in-depth and this back to basics approach has renewed my motivation to process images!
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:08 PM   #14
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My take is that if you're not doing ANY post processing, you're not getting the most kick for your buck with that DSLR you bought. To me, it's like writing a 1,000 word essay for school..... and then not checking grammar and spelling before you turn it in.


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Old 02-21-2007, 07:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Hello,
I've only been using my dSLR for a month and I haven't really done any type of processing. All I do is convert and resize the photo and maybe do a slight crop. I don't do any type of sharpening or adjustment of the exposure.

Am I missing out on a lot of quality by not editing my photos?
I think you're missing out on a whole heap of a lot. It's the analogy from above. You're turning in an essay for grading without doing any proofreading.

Consider --



versus the one on RP --

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=172916

or



versus the one on RP --

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=172310

This is just a small taste of post processing using auto features in Elements 2 with a touch of sharpening. It's by no means a detailed look, just a quick glance. Also, most people edit before they resize, not after they have crunched it down for the web. The quality of these won't be as good s if you had done your post and then sized it down. The fun part for us is to find what we like to do in post processing and do it. Every shot is different and should be post processed differently. I mean, I love to shoot at f8, but that doesn't mean I shoot at only f8.

Hope this helped.


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Old 02-25-2007, 05:35 PM   #16
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Mike, you have some nice pictures, but this one kind of baffles me as to why it didn't get rejected for not being level:



The screener must have had tired eyes that day. Nothing to complain about this photo, though...I love CP red in the winter.
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:05 AM   #17
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Here is the problem with this comparison, IMO.

The EXIF data (assuming the camera was set up correctly) clearly shows that
the photo accepted to RP was shot at 4:10pm on 1/24/07. Therefore, accenting the low-light attributes which Mike shot this in. Joe, your post-processing dilutes the photo into nothing more than a mid-day action shot.

As for the 2nd photo (BNSF), the only time these engines were EVER that bright is when they are fresh out of A) Erie, or B) the nearest wash rack. So the "dull" colors are fitting, why oversaturate the photo? That is why post-processing kills off the art of photography. It's just editorial work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
I think you're missing out on a whole heap of a lot. It's the analogy from above. You're turning in an essay for grading without doing any proofreading.

Consider --



versus the one on RP --
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Mike, you have some nice pictures, but this one kind of baffles me as to why it didn't get rejected for not being level...
Different strokes for different folks. Like when Emmett Bell was a moderator, I found that what he approved was far less adequate than what was OK'd by the other mods. Since then, Rob Palmer & Drew B. have done a pretty good job keeping quality a part of the site.

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Old 02-26-2007, 07:47 PM   #18
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He obviously does not have to do what I did to his shots. He can decide part of the post processing is good while deciding that part of it is not. Hence the line about finding what he likes. I like color saturation. Mike should decide what he likes for himself just as you and I have.

But I can't believe that anyone would look at his shots and say they do not need some sharpening to them.



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Old 02-27-2007, 12:53 AM   #19
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Thanks for all your input guys, I appreciate it.

The photo of the TCWR 3516 was shot in low light. The processed version looks very good, but it's not an accurate representation of what the scene actually looked like which is what I try to stay away from. Same thing goes for the BNSF shot.

I've started to add some sharpening to all of my photos now. I've been playing around with different methods and I'm pretty happy with what I've seen. I'll have to just find what methods works best for me.
Thanks again.

Jim: My eyes must have been taking a break that day too as I never noticed it being unlevel until now. Oh well, too late now.

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Old 02-27-2007, 01:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B.
Jim: My eyes must have been taking a break that day too as I never noticed it being unlevel until now. Oh well, too late now.
Not so! Just use the Re-Submit Photos option under Members to put in a level version. I used this once for the very same reason, to replace an unlevel shot that snuck by the screener.
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