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How far do you go?

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by Terri French, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. The more years I post process, the further I go with my photos. I watch a lot of tutorials, especially on landscape post processing. Recently I shared some photos of my trip to a rainforest on a very sunny, blue sky day. Several commented that they hadn't had great results in similar situations. When I first looked at my photos I thought that they were a total failure. I tried to preserve highlights when shooting and looked for areas with lots of shade. But other than that I just took a lot of shots and hoped I could make a few of them work.

    I thought it would be fun to share an example.

    Here is the photo straight out of the camera with the Adobe Color profile applied in lightroom.

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    Here is my result after tweaking the photo. I'm pretty happy with the results. There were a lot of neat details hiding in those black shadows. It was dark and moody in the forest and I tried to preserve that feeling. What do you think, did I take it too far? Or, could I take it further? I realize that there are some who like to do all they can to minimize post processing and feel that post processing is wrong. I love the process and enjoy working on the photos and don't feel that it is wrong to enhance what comes out of the camera. I thought that this might make a fun discussion.

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  2. I find the processed shot to be a much more accurate, and pleasing, representation of the rain forests. It has that green tinge that adds a clean/fresh feel. The first one is dark and lacks sense of place (it could be anywhere with big trees!).
  3. Hi Terri,

    I think both are lovely images; each has its own merits and they evoke a different mood. The processed version's dynamic range is sufficiently wide that it looks like a dramatic landscape painting where neither shadow or highlight details are lost due to the painter's freedom to create from their imagination and not be limited to what nature would provide.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. I'm glad you thought my processing represents accurately the feeling in the rainforest. Thanks for your input.
  5. I don't mind if it looks painterly. Thanks so much for your input. I'm impressed I could bring that much detail out of the shadows. It shows just how far sensors have evolved. And, this isn't even a state of the art sensor.
  6. McQ

    McQ Just your average, everyday moderator. Moderator

    Terri, I definitely like the processed photo better. Sean brings up a great comment that both have their merits and give different feelings and moods. But I have to say the photo which recovers all the greenery is the one I prefer. I think you did a nice job processing this photo.
  7. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    I think you took it too far, it doesn't look natural. But only you can know, you were there and can remember how you experienced the forest. I suspect that if you took it about 75% of the way, you would be about right.
  8. Thank you for your input, McQ. I feel like I am pushing my photos pretty far and value input as to whether I am doing too much.
  9. I appreciate your honesty Growltiger!! I'll play around with a modified version that doesn't go as far when I have some time!! There definitely wasn't anything that I couldn't see because it was too dark when I was there.
  10. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    Please say if you want me to remove my rendition below. This is roughly what I would have done. It took just two Photoshop adjustments:
    1. Shadows/Highlights, with Shadows 40 and Highlights 0.
    2. Photo filter with default settings but reduced to 10% (to add warmth).

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  11. Please keep the photo in the thread. I think it looks nice. The only thing that I would say is not like the real area is the lack of saturation. The colors there were so vibrant. But I like your dynamic range. I'll open it in photoshop and try to duplicate your results. I did my edit totally in Lightroom.
  12. I agree with Terri, Richard, the wet rain forest look is missing. That's what is so great about Terri's version.

    But then some of us have the advantage (?) of having been there.
  13. I guess I don't know how to duplicate your adjustments. Where is Shadows/Highlights in Photoshop? And where is photo filter? I love learning and trying new things.
  14. This doesn't look how I remember the west coast rain forest; it's too cold. Terri's version may have gone a tad too light in the shadows and mid-tones but I like it more.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  15. nu2scene


    Sep 27, 2007
    Las Vegas
    Personally I don't think a photo is processed too far, unless the person editing it thinks its gone too far. It's your photo, you should do with it whatever make you happy.

    Half the fun of the final image is the post processing. For me, I don't have the hang up of, does it look like this in real life. I not about documenting anything accurately. I'm not documenting a war and these images will be in history books, so they better be accurate. I'm all about making the final image look as good as it can, for me. The final image doesn't have to look anything like what I saw. I always try to make it look better than what was there.

    For these examples, Terri, the processed image is much better for me. I would say, if it were me, I would try to push it even further. I would saturate the moss on the trees more. I would dodge and burn the lighting like crazy and make it more moody. So for me, it's not pushed too far at all. I say have fun with it.

    But if you think it's too far, than it's too far. Otherwise, push it like crazy until you say, um that's too far. Then pull back a bit.

  16. Good advice and a great perspective.
  17. My take. I think the first one has too much black - look at levels.
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    I took your processed image and just slid the mid level slider over a but to darken the midtones. That is the way I would leave it, but that is just me. I like your colors and saturation.
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  18. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    Here is where to find them:
    1. Image/Adjustments/Shadows/Highlights.
    2. Image/Adjustments/Photo Filter.
    Here is a version the same as before but with Photo Filter using the default 25% warming (given that people say the forest is a warmer tone)

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  19. This one I like the most so far.
  20. It's still too cold for me.
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