Do you actually edit your photos?

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I'm starting to wonder this after looking some of the threads in the photo show off forums on here. I keep downloading there pictures and seeing what they look like edited, and the difference is THERE. These pictures are going from mediocre to damn good after 20 seconds of solid PS work. Granted this is my job at both my jobs, and maybe I can see an end result clearer than most people b/c I know what I want from a photo, but even just a quick auto color would help most of the time. Even Picassa has a great auto-coloring option built in, and its free.

I don't mean to rant, but photos have ALWAYS needed editing. Back in the day when we all shot film, they were edited through light...you just don't realize that b/c the person printing your photos at your mini-lab just handed the photos back to you w/o saying anything. It bugs me that most of the people who shoot digital assume that the photo is perfect b/c it IS digital.

[/rant]
 
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I guess the difference lies in the term "edit" versus "process". I process 99% of my shots, I edit about 1%. An edit is cloning out something, adding something for effect.... I think all digital photographs require processing, adjust the light with levels, adjust the colour, etc.
I've stream-lined my whole processing process :smile: by putting them all on Fkeys in a row. The last one throws it into the Upload folder and closes the pic. Very quick process.

I see quite a few photos posted (most NOT on this forum) which could be vastly improved by a simple levels adjustment. Just bringing out the beauty.
 
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Paul, there is no real universal edit all tutorial that could ever be written. Just the realization that something can be done the enhance the viewing experience. In the lab, I might say...this could use -1 magenta -1 yellow and it will get rid of an overexposure or someone else might thing -2 magenta and be done with it; or maybe with fluorescent lighting, the fix I use is -1cyan -1yellow, and the problem for the more part is taken care of, but with digital the whole concept is far more personal taste. Even just adding 2 to 5 points of contrast to a photo can make a huge difference in the photo, but people don't realize that till it's done. I know it takes experience to see the final output at the very beginning of the process, but like I said, this is just a rant.

Sandi, unless you are just shooting RAW, then process is the wrong word. If you are shooting jpeg, then the processing is completely done by the camera. Everything after that is degrading to the quality of the image and is called editing, which includes cloning, healing, color correcting, contrast/highlight/shadowing, and sharpening/softening. If you are shooting RAW, then that is similar to working a mini-lab machine (just 100X more time consuming).

What can I say, I see wedding photos that look dull and crappy here at my job, I see AP photos that come in (when at the newspaper job) that NEED a touch of work, and I see people try to pass themselves off for professionals all day long.

Btw, I work a mini-lab on the weekends, and I'm a photo-editor for a newspaper on the weekdays.

I'm not trying to boast that I'm better than anyone in any way whatsoever, I'm just saying that people don't seem to care quite as much about final output quality.
 
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Zachs -

As much as I enjoy photography, I probably have more talent using Photoshop than in capturing images. Not that I am a Photoshop expert, but I spend a lot of time getting white balance correct, doing selective tone and exposure corrections, and occassionally opening closed eyes. Of course if I put as much effort into becoming a better photographer I could spend more time looking through the viewfinder and less time staring at a monitor :smile:

I shoot raw exclusively and use ACR (now Lightroom) for conversion. To me capturing the raw file is the first step in a somewhat complex process that produces the best image possible from that file. Of course, we all have our own vision of what "best" is. Mine changes over time (as do my post-processing skills) and I find I can go back to a raw file taken several years ago and produce a much better image now than I did then. To me, the ability to revisit and refine my images is one of the most appealing aspects of digital photography.
 
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It bugs me that most of the people who shoot digital assume that the photo is perfect b/c it IS digital.

[/rant]
Well, we are all on a learning journey. Since there is no one recipe, perhaps you can contribute with some gentle constructive criticisms when you see photos posted that could use a little help. You will have to be careful - not everyone posts to get feedback. Also, some posters are so excited about their first capture of a sunset or a bird that we do not want to deflate their enthusiasm.

I think you will find as you look through posting histories that new members to this forum are brought along gently, and that much feedback is given when requested.

Anyway, to get the ball rolling, I will repost my last post to the cafe for you to critique. While not a neophyte, I am just an amateur photographer and I look forward to hearing where I can improve.

In this one I struggled with what is level. I tried rotating it and could not decide. Anyway, that would be my personal criticism. I imagine you would call that an edit :smile:

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Regards
 
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I believe my shots could improved quite abit in photoshop.
I just dont know how to use that program , and at present dont have time to take a class on it. So for now I only use NC , which is basic photo processing.

I plan to take a class as soon as I find some free time.
 
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Zachs, you seem to be arguing that there is one single absolute best presentation for every photo. If so, nothing could be farther from the truth -- in any art form, the ultimate test is the perception, interpretation, and response of the individual viewer. I am happy if one other person "sees" what I think I have seen. However, I also learn a lot when someone sees something else -- sometimes I agree, sometimes not, but it does teach me about the variability of human response, likes, and dislikes.

I suspect that your attitude stems from the nature of your work -- you need to satisfy the largest possible audience. A photographer friend of mine is fond of saying, "Art be damned -- I know what sells." Nothing wrong with that, but we amateurs who don't rely on photography for a living should have the freedom to explore well beyond the limits of popularity.

I agree with Sandi (and you, I think) that many photos (including some shown here) could benefit from some very simple adjustments -- levels and color at the very least. The vast majority of folks here are open to constructive criticism -- if you see an area for improvement, make the suggestion.
[/my rant]
 
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So, do you take the time to respond to ....

those of us who ask for Critiques on images? One of the most frustrating things for me on this, as well as other forums, is when I ask for a Critique, using both the Critique icon as well as generally putting "Critique" in the subject line, but often I don't get many replies with specific suggestions. This Link of One Of My Images is a good example. In this case I used the Critque Icon, didn't get many "looks" and not much "critique".

I think you will find that many do care about "final quality". But those of us who do need more than a "-2 Magenta", we need some idea of the "why" behind it if we are to learn anything.

I'll also comment that a lot of folks may not be looking for that critical an examination, but are posting to show a hobby, get a "Wow, cool" comment, so sometimes a "snapshot" is not only acceptable but the whole point of a posting. Point being, don't expect that every image posted should be examined in a critical manner, accept them as what you might see in a scrapbook.
 
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I think people seem to want to criticize, but then are afraid to offer suggestions for corrections out of fear of someone saying oh no, you don't do that! Maybe...

I have found that post processing is an evolving process. Nothing is pure science about it, and what one photo needs, another one doesn't neet. But generally, I've found that a bit of sharpening is ok, and I like to despecle many images, especially lower light selections. Some people use Noise Ninja I think for this, me, I don't have noise ninja, and if I wanted it, where do I get it?

I had someone the other day, say, use unsharpening mask, I thought well this is strange, I thought we always almost wanted sharper. But I have since experimented with this and found it a way to make some photos more pleasing to the eye. Smoother, perhaps more film like, less digital.

Anyway, I want to see the magic formula if someone completes it.

But as far as images that I consider ready without any pp? Not many, less than 1% probably, and they mostly come from my 200VR! I have found those to be the positively cleanest images I create.

I think image readiness is more art than science, or at least 50/50. I want to improve my skills further on both counts. Time is my enemy, no time to learn of late it seems. :(

Doug
 
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How about a section for "edit this image" where we can post an original and see how others handle the processing. Each edit would include the steps taken.

It's not easy working on a 800x600 save for web image but the idea would still come arcossed

Greg
 
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I shoot exclusively RAW and PROCESS every image.
Yes some editing or maybe alot of editing:>))))

Please feel free anytime to help the process and editing on my images.
I do miss color cast at times, everyone does.

So please be my guest.

(When my images go to the local PRO printer, he checks them all for color casts or any other prob I may have overlooked.)

I agree there are alot of snapshots. That is fine.
Folks just enjoy sharing here. Kinda like family:>)))))
 
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Rory, I would actually leave that photo alone. That yellow tint makes the photo absolutely beautiful and draws the viewer into a world of wonder...such as "What a wonderful sun-rise photo".

biggs- Every month I learn at least 2 new things in photoshop and at least 15 new ways to improve my current work. Photoshop is a constant learning experience and takes a very long time to fully understand and master. Always open yourself up to new different ideas. For converting to black and white, try using a black to white gradient map (image - adjustment -gradient map -select b/w one) or try LAB and go to layers and deselect A and B leaving only lightness and work in that...there are tons of ways to do anything... the gradient will give a very smooth look while the LAB will give it a rougher look (that I find works VERY well for my newspaper print).

Bob- actually just the opposite, hence my reason for mentioning how one person sitting at my printer may feel more magenta should be removed while I would feel less...either might look great, or there might be a better combination of colors that could be used/removed. Beauty absolutely lies in the eyes of the beholder when it comes to any art form, whether it be photography, painting, or photo-editing :)
I never really noticed this problem on this forum mainly b/c I've never dabbled into the photo-show-off sections here. I always try to rework a picture b/c I comment on it, then I say what I did, and if asked how, I will go back and rework it with through documentation.



Luke-
I totally agree that my quality gets better and better as time rolls on, especially with photography and editing as they are both an ART which can only get better with constant practice.

Bill - Those terms (-1 magenta) are for film printing, not quite for digital editing. For digital printing those terms are important, but for web use, not so much. I would saw it could use 10% less magenta or something like that.
Now if you don't know cyan, magenta, yellow, and density and you are printing with film, then I would hope you would get your *** away from the printer! lol
The Digital workflow is such a different beast then film printing...just totally different.
I find your photo to be very dreary and sad, but lacking in contrast. Adding contrast didn't really help out with that mood, so I'd almost leave it alone. I tried LAB saturating it, but nothing changed. I'm not really sure what to do with that one :) lol
 
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I understand what the "terms" mean, I think you missed my point. It is one thing to have a "rant", quite another to get involved, take the time and effort to support teaching not just the "how" but the "why". I used your terms from your post, not trying to equate it to digital, even though "-1 Magenta" has great utility within the digital workflow as well.

You are right, that was an incredibly, dull, dreary, freezing my lazy butt off morning while I was praying for the fog to burn off, so I tried something I don't usually do. Again, I think you missed the point in my post. If I have a Rant in this regard, it is that even posting images and asking for a critique, it is difficult to have people take the time to do so.

My question to you is, while you "rant" on this issue, do you offer help and advice? This may sound harsh, it isn't meant to be, but frankly I get tired of people telling me they can make something "better", a very subjective term in and of itself, with no indication of either the "why" or the "how".

I'll pick on Rory and Gale for a moment, as they are part of the thread, as people who freely offer suggestions and help, and who are not afraid to say "Sorry, not much you can do" when needed. I hope, that over time, I can give back at least a small part of what I have learned from folks such as Rory and Gale. My challenge to you is, become part of that group of folks who will take an active role, you never know, it may even lead you to a new Rant or two :biggrin:

I had missed the last part of your first post, not sure why, but I am in 100% agreement with your last paragraph. Many people who have never done any "wet" darkroom work do not realize how much goes on in the development and printing of that first batch. We, even if we shoot JPG, have now become that entire process.

Bill - Those terms (-1 magenta) are for film printing, not quite for digital editing. For digital printing those terms are important, but for web use, not so much. I would saw it could use 10% less magenta or something like that.
Now if you don't know cyan, magenta, yellow, and density and you are printing with film, then I would hope you would get your *** away from the printer! lol
The Digital workflow is such a different beast then film printing...just totally different.
I find your photo to be very dreary and sad, but lacking in contrast. Adding contrast didn't really help out with that mood, so I'd almost leave it alone. I tried LAB saturating it, but nothing changed. I'm not really sure what to do with that one :) lol
 
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Bill
Just for kicks and giggles. I did try to POP dreary. I could do nothing so I thought it was fine and conveyed the mood:>))))) Thats why I had asked how do you pop dreary.
I already had tried ,before I commented on it.
 
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Bill, I got a bit overwhelmed by trying to respond to everyones post that I obviously overlooked your points! lol sorry!!

Now that I have actually taken the time to go over to these threads on (non-existing examples) "does this look right?" or "my day at the horse track" I will try to offer advice if I feel I can help. I never really know until I put the photo in photoshop what advice I can give up. I'm not saying after I mess with it, but when actually put it in there, my light bulb clicks on and I know exactly what I want to achieve. New Desires may appear throughout the editing process, but thats just trying to be a perfectionist is all about. lol

You will never see me saying...well this photo is just a POS and should not be online. I might instead just offer advice on exposure, aperture, or composition.

Gale- I have read your posts in the retouching forum and have agreed with a lot of what you have said, so i'm not going to be negative to you! :) I do understand family photography and that 50 random shots for fun is what it is...for fun.

Greg- I agree. I would love to see this forum exist. The retouching forum is a bit different than..."Edit my photo and tell me what you did".
 
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Let me start by saying this is absolutely absurb. I really have to work harder to find disagreements with Paul, he is from "over there" and is "one of them" after all :biggrin:

As may be apparent to some, but I'll note this again, Paul and I have had this discussion on and off over time, and most unfortunately, I do understand the issues involved in opening up a "full-on-critique" venue. What an invitation for starting a "gang war" :biggrin: :biggrin:

So, while I may "rant" on wanting more information myself, even I at times get stung a bit personally, and often have to take a step back. Case in the point, the Dewey has a Too Blue Great Blue Heron episode of a couple of years ago, as I recall both Mr. Paul the Dog and Gale caught me on that one :redface: :redface: :biggrin:

Bill,
AS you know "we" (The Mgtmt Team) have wrestled with this on and off since day#1.
,,,
Good point about needing the "why" apart from a few stars like Iliah, very few experts (here or elsewhere) ever explain why in posts (some books have some of that, such as Dan Margulis et.al.).

This is also a good point (hmmm, that's a worry :tongue: agree with all of one of Bill's posts)

Don't you find even the same person sometimes wants different things on different occasions?

I post "snapshots" for many reasons: sometime to share an interesting sight, sometime because I need some practice but couldn't find what I wanted so "made do" with a casual subject - sometimes for threads like "Something" and "CS#xx" etc.

Sometimes I recognise a shot has a problem - but am stumped what to do about it.

Finally, when I've worked hard and managed to capture what I intended and made it my own image - THAT's when I feel it needs to be taken seriously and C&C'd or Mentor'd etc.

Some of your shots, Bill, I feel fall into all three of the above rough groups - do you disagree?
Now, to comment on a couple of Paul's comments above, from the bottom up. You bet I post in all 3 of those categories, and when I ask for a critique, such as the link I posted, it is either because I see something I don't like, and can't figure out what to do about it, or because it is out of my "comfort zone", as that image was, in both cases I need to learn. Those are the ones that "hurt" when no feedback comes, it looks like nobody even wants to try to help, must be a really cruddy image :wink:. There are times, my first Peregrine and Kestrel, which aren't good shots, but more "Hey, finally FOUND one!", you bet those are in the "snapshot" category.

Your point about "wanting different things" is the tougher one. If someone post with a Critique icon, that indicates to me that they want a "deeper look". Sometimes you can tell from the post and context, but if I don't really "know", I'll either ask or won't respond if there is not something directly positive I can say. Tough call sometimes, for sure.

Now, the fun one, the "Experts". Iliah, what a great example. I have rarely found someone who can at times frustrate the dickens out of me, until I take the extra 2 seconds to realize that he is "teaching" and not "spoon feeding". And what a wealth of knowledge and help, 90% of over my feeble brain :biggrin:. You can't buy help like that.

Zach, I have to apologize, I was rather annoyed when I first read your post, glad to see that you have taken my comments the way they were made. Every now and then I think my "exasperation" leaks through :wink:
 

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