Amateur Photographer - - Technique -

I try not to do much post­pro­duc­tion as I don’t get much time af­ter a shoot, so I do what I can to get the shot as close as pos­si­ble to the way I want it at the time I take the pic­ture. How­ever, al­most al­ways, there are things for which soft­ware is needed.

I ac­tu­ally re­ally like in- cam­era raw-pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties that al­low me to skip the soft­ware stage, but not many cam­eras have a pro­cess­ing abil­ity that is ex­ten­sive enough for this. Fu­ji­film X-se­ries mod­els have de­cent pro­cess­ing fea­tures and those in the Lu­mix cam­eras are ex­cel­lent.

I al­ways shoot in raw to al­low my­self the best start­ing po­si­tion, and I usu­ally use Adobe Cam­era Raw and Pho­to­shop or Phase One’s Cap­ture One Pro.

1 Lift tones

If I am gen­er­ally happy with my ex­po­sure, the first thing I do is deal with the mid-tone con­trast us­ing the Curves tool. For a shot like this, I’ll pull down the shad­ows and lift the lighter tones to em­pha­sise the dif­fer­ence be­tween the sun­shine and the shade.

2 Ad­just con­trast

Next, I deal with other more sub­tle tools for in­creas­ing mid-tone con­trast – the High­lights and Shad­ows slid­ers. I often use the Clar­ity slider to help with the process, but al­most al­ways draw the Con­trast slider down so the con­trast doesn’t look crude.

3 Boost colours

Colour is im­por­tant here, so I’ve added a touch of Vi­brance and a bit of Sat­u­ra­tion – but not too much of ei­ther as Curves has al­ready lifted the colour. I’ve also tweaked the colour tem­per­a­ture by a few de­grees to warm the late-af­ter­noon light.

4 Sharpen

All im­ages need a bit of sharp­en­ing and the way you ap­ply that sharp­en­ing de­pends on the noise, de­tail and base sharp­ness of the pic­ture. This one is fine grained, so I set the Ra­dius low and in­crease the Amount. I rarely use Noise Re­duc­tion and rather en­joy a bit of tex­ture.

5 Clean up

I usu­ally shoot at a wide aper­ture so dust spots tend not to show. As this was shot on a very bright day, I used an aper­ture of f/6.3 – so there’s a vis­i­ble dust spot in the sky. To re­move this I’ve used the Heal­ing Brush in Pho­to­shop, but I’ll often use the stan­dard Cloning tool.

6 Re­size

I save im­ages at their largest size and with as lit­tle com­pres­sion as pos­si­ble. For In­sta­gram, Twit­ter or Face­book, I’ll re­size to 1,920 pix­els on the long­est edge to re­duce the size. I also use JPEGmini Pro by Beamr Imag­ing to make file sizes as small as pos­si­ble for my phone.



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