It’s no secret that photographers do post-processing on their images. All those great shots you see over on 500px or flickr by your favourite photographers or even images in magazines have had some level of post processing applied to them whether that is basic white balance adjustments or fixing the whites and blacks or even converting an image to black & white – if they say that’s how it came out of camera then there is a good chance they are lieing, basic adjustments are needed to all RAW files.
I’ve been wanting to do this little series now for a while where I show you the power of raw and how my images look coming out of the camera and how they look after some post processing. Yes it goes without saying though that you should try and get a well balanced images in camera, but I do the best with the equipment I use. I don’t have any fancy filters apart from a polarizer, and the GND/SGND cost an absolute fortune – in the region of £300 just for the basics.
I’m going to aim at doing this series once a week, every Wednesday to be exact where I will show you the before and after, along with a quick overview on the tools I’ve used and what adjustments I’ve made to each image.
I use 3 different tools (software) to process my RAW files. Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop & Niks Collections (Color Efex Pro 4).
I start off with just basic adjustments in lightroom, for this particular image the only thing I needed to adjust was the whites and the blacks. That’s lightroom finished!
My next step is to open the image in Photoshop, and specifically I use Nik Collections Color Efex Pro 4.
Again, basic adjustments is all that is needed for this and for this particular image (and 99% of all my images) I’m using Pro Contrast as I want to make the colors pop!
My dynamic contrast is around the 50% – 60% mark, correct contrast is around 40% and if I need to fix a color cast I will adjust it, but for this particular image the color cast was pretty much spot on so I left it.
All in all, this probably took me 15 minutes to do and you can see the difference between the 2 images is huge. The RAW file out of camera, the image looks very flat, it lacks contrast, overall it’s pretty boring, no great detail in the image.
My final image has a lot more clarity in it (no not the clarity slider!!), it has more depth, the colors are more vibrant, and overall it has a greater range of contrast.
My final image is as close to how I saw the scene at the time.
Before & After
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