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Thread: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

  1. #1
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    I had an image I took back in 2005 that I wanted to see if I could salvage and as I've been playing with Photoshop I thought I'd give it a try. You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear so they say, but I'm stubborn enough to try! LOL!

    Here is the SOOC original ---

    Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    And here is the reworked image. I am hoping for some C&C on the photoshop technique as there is nothing I can do to reshoot at this point.

    Yellowstone River - Lower Falls

    Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Sony Cypershot DSC42
    ISO 100
    F2.8
    1/400 sec
    3MP
    Last edited by FrankMi; 23rd September 2011 at 02:37 AM.

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Looks like you really worked it over Frank..

    The distant hills have a decidedly different appearance, and the new version has a
    "postcard" look to it now, but to my untrained eyes (emphasis on the "untrained"),
    it looks to have had a bit of "over-everything"...or was that intended?

    I do like the improved waterfall, and the bridge is much more apparent. I think you
    got as much out of it as the image had to offer.

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 23rd September 2011 at 05:54 AM.

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    If you had taken the original with a digital camera, as well as the film camera, both images would have looked different anyway. I haven't had the chance to do this in years, but you have to consider what film speed (ISO) you were using and what changesin you make in photoshop. Did you change the temperature of the image, the contrast, etc.? Also, how closely did the image reflect the actual scene or are you recreating the memories to your own liking?

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Hi Mike, It probably is over-done but that wasn't my intention. The goal had been to have the eye start at the falls and be able to follow the river back to the bridge but the tall tree is offering too much competition for the subject. I was also trying to get it to look as natural and pleasing as possible with a sense of the tremendous depth involved. I think having the tree stand out as much as it does provides the depth but maybe too much so.

    I did replace the sky as it was almost totally flat. There is also a lot of grain owing, in part to the small image size, significant cropping, and numerous combinations of attempts get to try to get the soft image sharper without over-sharpening. I don't think I succeeded on that point. I found that getting an effective cropping was difficult given the size of the tall tree on the right.

    The overcast lighting produced a really flat image so I tried to increase the contrast. What really surprised me was how this increased the vibrancy of the tall tree. I would have preferred to mask the tree when I increased the contrast but selecting just the tree would have been almost impossible against this background.

    The people on the overlook of the falls were almost impossible to see so I increased the vibrancy of that small location to make them a little more discernible.

    Hopefully some of the post processing gurus will chime in with some suggestions.

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Hi John, thank you for commenting. This was shot with an old 3MP digital camera at ISO100.

    The color temperature checked out on ACR as not needing adjustment but given that it was an overcast day it would have been around 6500k. There were blown out highlights in both the sky (which I replaced) and in the falls (which could only be marginally addressed as the original was a JPG image).

    I did try to increase the contrast to compensate for the lighting being so flat. I likely increased the contrast too much which contributes to the 'over done' look. Obviously it doesn't have the contrast of a noon-day sun but there may be a fine line as to how much you can increase the contrast of a flat image and still have it look natural.

    I'm not sure I can remember exactly how it looked that day but in general, to me, most scenes are more vibrant in real life than the photographs portray. I can't tell if this is because we look at 2D images of a 3D experience, or if most photographs are actually duller than real life, or that's just how I see the world. Here is another SOOC shot of the same subject taken at the same time. Compositionally, we can't see the bottom of the falls, the river leading to the falls, or the bridge but it may help give a better sense of what it actually looked like that day.

    Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi John, thank you for commenting. This was shot with an old 3MP digital camera at ISO100.

    The color temperature checked out on ACR as not needing adjustment but given that it was an overcast day it would have been around 6500k. There were blown out highlights in both the sky (which I replaced) and in the falls (which could only be marginally addressed as the original was a JPG image).

    I did try to increase the contrast to compensate for the lighting being so flat. I likely increased the contrast too much which contributes to the 'over done' look. Obviously it doesn't have the contrast of a noon-day sun but there may be a fine line as to how much you can increase the contrast of a flat image and still have it look natural.

    I'm not sure I can remember exactly how it looked that day but in general, to me, most scenes are more vibrant in real life than the photographs portray. I can't tell if this is because we look at 2D images of a 3D experience, or if most photographs are actually duller than real life, or that's just how I see the world. Here is another SOOC shot of the same subject taken at the same time. Compositionally, we can't see the bottom of the falls, the river leading to the falls, or the bridge but it may help give a better sense of what it actually looked like that day.

    Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo
    Frank,

    Sorry for the confusing comment I made. When you said you took the photo with an "old point and shoot", I automatically thought you meant with a film camera.

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Original image data: 9.3mm, f/2.8, 1/400s.

    Reworked image data: 21mm, f/3.2, 1/500s.

    Colin's image data: 9.3mm, f/2.8, 1/400s.

    Philip

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by MrB View Post
    Original image data: 9.3mm, f/2.8, 1/400s.

    Reworked image data: 21mm, f/3.2, 1/500s.

    Colin's image data: 9.3mm, f/2.8, 1/400s.

    Philip
    Hi Philip, good catch! That is likely because there was some of the waterfall from the third image above blended into the first image. I'm guessing that the order of the layers when I did the blending may have something to do with it. You may also notice a subtle difference in the number of spectators at the overlook as well.

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Philip, good catch! That is likely because there was some of the waterfall from the third image above blended into the first image. I'm guessing that the order of the layers when I did the blending may have something to do with it.
    As far as I know, it keeps the metadata fromthe base image, even if the layer associated with it is deleted.

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo
    Hi Colin, I was a little reluctant to crop it that tight as it seemed to have an awkward 'feel' to it, but it does offer an alternative.

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    That is likely because there was some of the waterfall from the third image above blended into the first image. I'm guessing that the order of the layers when I did the blending may have something to do with it. You may also notice a subtle difference in the number of spectators at the overlook as well.
    It now seems clear that three significant elements of the original image - the sky, the people, and most of the waterfall - have been replaced, rather than reworked. The image resulting from this artistic licence is much improved compared with the originals! Except, that is, for the insertion of the green part of the border, which is a distraction.

    Philip

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Hi Philip, thank you for the feedback! I wish the original image was as detailed as the zoomed-in image was or that the zoomed-in image didn't have the river, bridge, and bottom of the falls cropped out. I tried to combine the best of the two images but in an attempt to minimize focus issues at the blend points, I over-sharpened the original. This was most noticeable in the large tree on the right.

    I really thank the kind folks at CiC for their critiques that help me isolate and correct the issues. It looks like I'll need to rework the image from the original again and be more careful about the sharpening! I really don't mind running into these issues as long as I learn from them. Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    There's an old sailor's saying...

    A smooth sea, a skillful mariner never made.

    Thank you, too, for commenting on the border. I try to pick a color from the image to help the border to complement the image. It's not always obvious to me what is an appropriate color (or no color) to choose. Unless someone provides feedback, I can't always tell what works and what doesn't. If the border color bothers you then it likely bothers others as well so I'm glad to get a response I can take action on. What color, if any, do you think would help the border complement this image?

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    Re: Post Processing Practice on an Old P&S Photo

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    What color, if any, do you think would help the border complement this image?
    Frank, I think that borders are really a matter for personal preference - I am happy to view photos without borders here on CiC, but many members do appear to like them. If a border is applied, just as with many things, simplicity seems to work best - there is a nice example above from Colin, using just a white border with shadow.

    Philip

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