Post Processing - Why, What, and How....
WHY? Today's digital cameras have many options and settings. In years gone by, memory was extremely expensive. I remember being ecstatic when I was able to buy 1 megabyte of memory for only $100. But I digress. Photos can be saved in different formats (RAW, JPEG, BMP). JPEG is the most commonly used format . It utilizes complex math to shrink the size of the file. This allows photography to be something we could afford, allowing us to take more than 10-12 pictures on a memory card. Of course, there is always a trade-off. We lose quality when we compress these photos. Additionally, the sensors in our cameras rely on light to "excite" each pixel. In low light conditions, they strain very hard to gather every possible photon. This creates what we call digital noise, and can be compared to the graininess we used to see when shooting very fast film. Neither one of these conditions are acceptable if we wish to present our best shots for viewing.
HOW? Now that's the real question, isn't it. I could be myself and simply say play and practice, but that just wouldn't be right. So let's start by selecting software. If money is no object, by all means contact Adobe and purchase Photoshop, Lightroom, and/or any combination of packages they offer. They are the "industry standard" that everyone refers to. Add to that a couple of thousand hours for classes, practice, and watching YouTube how-to videos to be able to use it. You won't be sorry. If it can be done to an image, Adobe can do it! As an added bonus, many companies offer "Plug-ins" that can do miraculous things!
Working with a "no budget" budget? From the open-source projects there is the offering of "Gimp". This full featured package holds much of the power of Photoshop, but is FREE. The learning curve, however, is also quite similar. It is powerful, but not recommended for the beginner.
|Post Processed, Signed - Silent Escort|
|Saint Augustine, Florida Lighthouse|
3 photos stitched together
Start simply, make minor adjustment at first. Use factory defaults to see how they work. Play, play, and then play some more. Check out tutorials and YouTube videos. Remember, most will be written about Photoshop, but the basics will transfer to most of the packages. Experiment with the order in which you make your adjustments. You will see that this has a huge impact on the finished product.
In the future, we will explore more about techniques, but for now, just start playing and see what you can do! I should note that while we do use Photoshop, all of the processing you see on this post was done with Paintshop Pro X-6 without any additional plug-ins.
Thanks for following my posts! Feel free to comment if you have any questions or thoughts that you would like to have me address.