There is one thing I’ve never talked about anywhere on this website, which is about post-production (a.k.a. post-processing). We all know that digital post-production has become an important part of photography. Then, why don’t I talk about it at all? There are three reasons.
Reason No. 1 – I Don’t Do Much Post-production
It’s true that I don’t do much post-production (although I do shoot in RAW) so there’s nothing much to talk about. I always try to keep my post-production to a minimum because editing images is like hurting pixels, and over-editing causes more noise in the photos (I hate noise!). FYI, my typical post-production workflow goes as follows.
1. Open a RAW file with Adobe Camera Raw software.
2. Fine-tune by adjusting sliders (I typically tweak Temperature, Exposure, Blacks, Vibrance and Saturation).
3. Open in Photoshop, removing sensor spots, fixing lens distortion (e.g. straightening buildings, etc.) and applying unsharp mask filter.
4. Save as PSD (native Photoshop format) and then use “Save for Web” function to output the image in a web-optimised format (e.g. 1280 pixels width, JPEG 70 quality for photos uploaded to this website and Tumblr ).
Reason No. 2 – I’ve Never Used Adobe Lightroom
Let me confess. Coming from graphic design background where I used Photoshop extensively, I’ve never used Adobe Lightroom, not even once. In recent years, Lightroom has become an industry standard software for editing images, and a lot more photographers today seem to be using Lightroom rather than Photoshop. So I’m assuming that there is not much demand on post-processing tutorials that completely ignore Lightroom.
Reason No. 3 – Not a Fan of Post-processing
It’s a debatable one. I apologise first if this offends anyone. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of post-processing, especially excessive editing. Nowadays, we come across a lot of photos online that look more like digital art than pictures. I agree that many of those photos look beautiful, but more like “unrealistically beautiful”. I’d rather like to keep my photos looking natural than wowing people with heavily-edited unrealistically beautiful photos. Where to draw a line between “enhancement” and “manipulation” is up for a debate, though (too big a topic to handle here).
Well, all that said, there is no denying that post-processing today is an essential part of photographers’ workflow, whether we like it or not. I’m hoping to venture into Lightroom one day (probably near enough future), which might change my view towards post-production altogether. Nobody knows…