PP: Before and After

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I thought it might be fun to post before and after versions of this photo as an example of the amount of PP that goes in to a shot like this. The first photo is only resized for web and converted from RAW to Jpeg.... so basically exactly how it came out of the camera.
The second photo has my usual PP workflow for portraits:
1. Initial sharpening
2. Levels adjustment
3. Woody's Beautiful Skin Tutorial which in this example includes massive amounts of detail work with the healing and clone tools as well as a very minor blur layer.....I think the final opacity setting was about 15%)
4. Iris lightening via Dodge tool
5. Teeth whitening with sponge tool
6. 15% contrast bump in CS3 Beta
7. Resize to 800 on longest side for web
8. USM to de-cloud the image (amount 10%, pixels 50, threshold 3)
9. Smart Sharpen (amount 70%, radius 0.3, Remove Gaussian Blur)
Jpeg conversion with color space assignment to SRGB Profile

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


AFTER:
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
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Jeez Stu........... and there was me thinking you were a photo GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

A good example of how it is in reality my friend! :biggrin:

You are too smart for your own good!

G
Ya know.....I remember when I first started shooting thinking that I wanted to get it right in the camera. Without understanding how much PP goes in to a typical finished product like the one I posted folks just getting started could easily think that the photo's posted here are straight out of the camera and therefore get very discouraged.

It took me a few months of really mediocre "finished product" to embrace photoshop for what it is....the modern equivalent of the darkroom/retouching room and therefore a necessary part of the process for this type of photography. Methods will vary greatly from photog to photog and not everyone wants this kind of finished product, but all new shooters need to at least understand that PP is vital to making the most out of their images.

I've noticed a whole crop of new shooters here recently and was hoping this would explain some things to them and keep them from getting discouraged.

Hope it helps...........and yes I'm just a little man pulling levers behind the curtain. :biggrin: Folks who participate here are mighty fortunate to have talented and experienced people showing us which levers to pull!!

The greatest thing about The Café for me is that it isn't an ego driven place; it's a place where all levels of photog's can hang out and where tips and tricks are shared freely and selflessly. Most folks who post here do so either to get honest help via C&C or to show examples of what's possible as you learn how to better use your camera and editing tools like photoshop. As a result of this attitude It's a truly unique forum and a very special place to hang out.
 
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Good job Stuart!
Thanks for the insight. Being very new to to dig photography I have been struggling to get the best exposed pic on my hard drive and giving little thought to PP. I guess it is time to pay more attention to pp. I have owned and operated my own dig recording studio here in Detroit for the past 12 years. Capturing music, processing and mastering for the final product reminds me a lot of photography. In my mind the microphones are equivalent to my lens, the dig converters are equivalent to my camera. I guess ProTools would be equivalent to C2. Looks like its time to start learning my way around C2......Ted B
 
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Good job Stuart!
Thanks for the insight. Being very new to to dig photography I have been struggling to get the best exposed pic on my hard drive and giving little thought to PP. I guess it is time to pay more attention to pp. I have owned and operated my own dig recording studio here in Detroit for the past 12 years. Capturing music, processing and mastering for the final product reminds me a lot of photography. In my mind the microphones are equivalent to my lens, the dig converters are equivalent to my camera. I guess ProTools would be equivalent to C2. Looks like its time to start learning my way around C2......Ted B
Yay! 'If this post reaches and helps just one person"......that was my goal so I'm glad you chimed in. :biggrin: Your analogies are absolutely spot on the money!

Thanks!
 
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Very well said, and thanks for opening the book on your magic.

IMO the Nikon Café is hands down the best photography site in the internet. The best photography site in the internet because of the wonderful people that hang out here. Finding this place was the best thing that ever happened to my photography.
 
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IMO the Nikon Café is hands down the best photography site in the internet. The best photography site in the internet because of the wonderful people that hang out here. Finding this place was the best thing that ever happened to my photography.

I'll SECOND THAT!
 
G

Gr8Tr1x

Guest
Nice Stuart. Thanks. I recently read a post of yours where you mentioned working on the eyes alot. I also started thinking more about the eyes in a portrait and spend more timeon them now. Also, thank to you and Woody, I discovered the levels adjustment. It made all the difference for me in my photography. Thanks.

Also, as an aside...I notice that you Sharpen first. I have always read and gotten the advice to sharpen last...but, I always sharpen first. "Hello, my name is Joshua, and I can't wait til the end to sharpen my photos."

I'm glad I'm not the only one. Its like being a kid on Christmas...I want to see how crisp my photos are, and I can't wait til the end of the process.
 
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Kidding aside, some people guard their processing techniques like it's the secret of the universe, but I can't tell you how many times I've sat down and showed someone every single step and why it's done and they still wind up developing their own techniques.

It's the same with me... I learned from others but eventually gravitated to my own technique.

But if someone just wants to memorize what I do, that's no sweat off me. They'll never do it as well as I do because they don't comprehend WHY they're doing it. It's sad in a way but there are some people who just can't grasp the concept. But that's okay because there's something they excel at that I couldn't grasp the concept of.
 
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I have been struggling to get the best exposed pic on my hard drive and giving little thought to PP. I guess it is time to pay more attention to pp.
Yes and no.

Do sharpen your PP skills but always remember the old saying... You can't make a silk purse from a sows ear. NEVER give up trying to get the best raw material you can.

Good glass, a steady hand, and fundamental technique are the better part of half the battle.

Be your own worse critic.
 
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Stuart and Woody, you are both great to share your techniques and talent. I appreciate you both here on the Cafe.
I second that!! Also, many thanks to you for being one of the founders of this remarkable site. This is an amazing place and you should be very proud of your accomplishment. I'd be very interested in hearing how this site got started.
 
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I second that!! Also, many thanks to you for being one of the founders of this remarkable site. This is an amazing place and you should be very proud of your accomplishment. I'd be very interested in hearing how this site got started.
Actually Patrick and Frank (flew) are the founders, I was just invited to be one of the first members and have been here ever since. We worked hard in the beginning and were able to attract lots of good members, I am just glad I could be part of that.
 
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Stuart,

"The only difference between a pretty waitress and a super model is a good photographer and some great photoshop work."

I don't know where I read that, but it does hit home these days. Thanks for sharing your process.
 
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Howdy Stuart

Howdy Stuart,

I just wanted to also Thank You for your thoughtfulness on sharing your Portrait technique, that was very kind of you. Like another poster stated, this forum has been such a wealth of information and help.


Kindest Regards,
 
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"The only difference between a pretty waitress and a super model is a good photographer and some great photoshop work."
Wellll.... It takes three things to become a successful model:

1. The camera has to love you because you own it.
2. You have to have an indomitable work ethic.
3. One big break

Nobody makes it in that business by looking pretty or hot or whatever.

A photographer doesn't make a model. That would be denying the hard work and dedication required to just get your foot in the door to the most fickle and insane profession in the world. At best, photographers and models live in a very symbiotic world where they feed off each other supported by cast of make up artists, hair stylists, set designers, lighting experts... it's a grand production when you get near the top.

Trust me, I'm a hack of the highest level in that world.

You want to see good?
CLICK HERE
 
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Woody - you just haven't gotten your "big break" yet.

Stuart - I do many similar things that you do (without the same wonderful results, of course), but can you explain #8 and #9? I don't understand those extra two sharpening steps.

DAB
 

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