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Thread: PP or No PP that is the question

  1. #1
    JPS's Avatar
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    PP or No PP that is the question

    Hi all,
    This question is something that I’ve been thinking about, since speaking to another member who is not keen on carrying out any PP other than converting the file format from RAW to JPEG.
    I fully respect someone who wants to keep their pictures as shot and certainly have no desire to try and change their views. But, what I was wondering was how many members would be happy / willing to post their work onto this site, without any sort of PP work, other than converting the file format?
    Both my camera and PP skills are limited, but I feel the extra work I carry out in PP (I use Adobe Elements 9) does improve my pictures. However, could I or should I improve my camera technique, so that I do not need to PP my work? Is that possible, if I had a good set of lens, filters etc.
    Would you post as shot?
    I don’t know how to set up an automatic “poll”, like I’ve seen done in other threads, so I will just see what feedback I get.
    Best wishes to you all.
    John

  2. #2
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    I myself would not post photos without PP. No matter how good they are in camera, they are not finished. Cameras today are good but whether it is processing in a dark room or in the camera {shooting Jpeg} or PP on the computer if shooting RAW {which I do} is needed to make at very least small adjustments.

    I can see some wanting to post straight out of the camera, but if they are shooting Raw they will be posting an unfinished version in my eyes. If they are shooting Jpeg...then there is PP going on....althought the shooter has less control as to the outcome, leaving it to the techs whom made the algorithums used to process the image.

    Everyone has their opinion and thank goodness, it would be a boring world if everyone saw things the same way. I will continue to PP and at the same time work on the rest of my skills. Of wich I believe my PP to be on the weak side.

  3. #3
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    Hi John, I don't think it is just about getting it right in-camera. How often can I get everything right in-camera?

    I am referring to getting every technical aspect of the image perfect from Composition to White Balance, Black Point, Exposure, Focus, Subject Placement, Movement, Bokeh, Camera Angle, Keystoning, Contrast - the list goes on and on.

    Am I also willing to not do any Eye Retouching, Blemish Removal, Stray Hair Removal, Vignetting, Selective Sharpening, Focus Stacking, Panoramas - that list goes on and on as well.

    Will I see and correct every single object that is out of place or distracting in the composition?

    Am I willing to NOT shoot an image because of telephone wires that will ruin the shot or because there is a car parked in the wrong location, or because one part of the image is too light while another part of the image is too dark (or too vibrant, or too contrasty, or too much atmospheric haze, etc.)?

    And if I get the perfect image except for some small detail that can easily be fixed in post processing and the image cannot be ever reshot, do I just throw away the only image I have of the event?

    I know my answers to these questions.

    The bottom line is - are you are satisfied with YOUR answers to questions like these?

  4. #4
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    The anti-post processing folks like to say that a "good photographer" will get the shot right in the camera!

    I agree in getting the best original image possible but PP is an integral part of digital photography.

    Ansel Adams was certainly a "good" or "great" photographer, yet he spent hours upon hours in the darkroom perfecting his images. If it was good enough for Ansel, it is certainly good enough for me!

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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    Twice I tried answering this without getting carried away and going on too long. Couldn't do it.

    So the short version.

    JPEG out of the camera works for a bazillion people all over the world and most don't know what a pixel is. Your friend doesn't need a third party program to produce prints and if that's all he is doing then shooting in raw is an unnecessary step to start with. He is doing himself a disfavour if he is bypassing the manufacturers translations to jpeg files and using someone else's best estimates. Keep in mind that unless your name is Neo, you can't see a photo in raw data. Every photo from a camera is manipulated data just so you can see it. If you are looking at the results of your shot on the display on the back of your camera, that's a JPEG. Each manufacturer has their own raw to jpeg translation algorithms and each put their own slant on the data. Nikon is said to go more for the red saturation to help with portraits and Canon prioritizes the green for landscapes. Canon takes it even further by using two colours of green in their Bayer matrix to add that emphasis.

    As for editing software for use after the fact I agree with you. That software is used to address a perceived shortcoming in the photo produced in-camera. Whether it be for a lack of photographers ability, situation timing, poor lighting, whatever, I believe most non-professional editors are just trying to make it that little bit better for a personal sense of satisfaction. Right from the person who only uses it to straighten horizons all the way up the pixel peeper software types living in their mom's basement under a desk surviving on chocolate bars and cola. The next level are the creative ones changing the original even further.

    Again, getting too long. Shoot in JPEG and 95% of your shots will be great. Manufacturers have a better handle on their data and third party editing packages have their own processing which is the best average for all they could arrive at. In-camera results will be as good or better than any person other than an advance editor could achieve and most of us would be hard pressed to spot any difference.

    As for your comment about spending more time learning to do it right the first time I whole-heartedly agree. Good photography did not just start with the advent of the digital camera. The better you know what your are doing and can achieve it in camera the less time you will need to spend fixing it later. Many professional wedding photographers only need to set and copy a white balance.

    Then there are the many who just do it to have fun or to keep entertained on a long winter night. (really! I know two people who only edit during the winter.)
    Last edited by Andrew1; 6th June 2012 at 04:54 AM.

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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    I just wanted to add another aspect in this discussion to consider. A JPEG photo from any digital camera has translation software applied to it to meet the JPEG standard. Those are a minimum and as a benchmark, produces wonderful photographs on its own. My wife’s P&S Canon gives us some great ones. As indicated in my last post, Nikon, Canon, and I’m sure the others, apply more information than what is required. So here’s another thought. What about the editing software options over and above the JPEG minimum standard that is done in-camera? Depending on the option, before or after the shot has been taken, I can adjust sharpening, contrast, saturation, hue and brightness. I can crop. I can fix mid-range contrast. I can switch to the programming Nikon used in a different model of camera. I can create and store my own preset profiles. I can even change the programming to emulate the results of 12 different types of Kodak, Fuji and Agfa film. It’s all still JPEG.

  7. #7

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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    Here you go ...

    PP or No PP that is the question

    Having thought about it ... I want to get the best possible results - but - in the most efficient way possible. So generally speaking, I'll take the time to get something right "in camera" if that's the most efficient way to do it (eg removing a hair from across a models face takes less time than photoshopping the hair out of 800 shots) - but on the other hand I'll also have no hesitation in doing something in Photoshop if that's the more efficient or practical way to achieve it (eg "hanging a model underneath a helicopter").

    Getting something 100% right in-camera is a great-sounding THEORY, but I've get to find an in-camera shot that I couldn't make better with some post-production.

  8. #8
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    I would post as shot. But it would only be an example of how unfinished the photo is when it is taken.

    I think this would be a good learning subject for people new to digital processing. It will show how to capture the best starting point in camera for later post processing. Taking control of post-processing is very similar to moving away from auto settings in camera. You realise that auto settings are a good but compromised solution. For the best result you must take full control.

    Incidentally if I posted as shot the image would look flat and over sharpened. I turn the contrast on my camera to the lowest setting and my sharpening to maximum. This allows me to quickly review the dynamic range and sharpness of the photo on my LCD screen. An example of negative processing in camera. These settings are then ignored when I process the raw image.

    Alex

  9. #9

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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    Hello,

    here's my opinion.

    As i said, i was reading a book about landscape photography. The guy wasn't so computer friendly, and yet was using PS for some processing.

    A photo without PP is like a girl without a MAKE-UP. At first i become so dissapointed when i've seen how the images look like straight from the camera, but now i'm not such affraid of this.

    It depends. I'm thinking that most of the people doesn't know what a pixel is, now think about the hundred other details about your camera. Are they willing to learn all these stuffs? I gues not. So they take the easy way, in the end the risult matters, no? Personally i don't want to run, i believe that if you try to understand in detail all the process, maybe you will be able to PP less. My opinion. If you are taking a picture in less than a second and then process it 4 hours, you can't call yourself a photographer, right? You can call yourself a manufacturer or something like this. I am not against PP, just i want to be sure that i do it because other way it can't be done, not by running away of the problem.

    Good day.

  10. #10
    MrB's Avatar
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    It is just a year since I started to take this hobby seriously and bought a dslr. Here is a brief summary of my personal views -

    Aim (long term achievement) - To become more proficient in digital photography.

    Goals (short term achievements) - To produce some good photographs from each different shooting session, images that not only mean something to me, but that also might appeal to others.

    Objectives (methods used to achieve goals and aim) - To learn and develop knowledge, understanding and skills in the two main aspects of photography - image capture and image presentation. The objectives in image capture involve vision, composition, and the control of the camera, in order to record a good image of a scene at a moment in time. Those of image presentation involve all the techniques of processing the image to optimise it for display - either temporary, by transmission or projection on a screen, and/or permanent, by printing on paper or some other medium.

    The aim is always achievable but could never be completed - there is always room for improvement. However, it seems obvious to me that it is not possible ever to achieve the aim unless one meets ALL the objectives.

    Philip

  11. #11
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    If you want a good example of what PP can do to help you get your message better across to your viewers then I suggest you Google any information you can get about Jeff Ascough, David duChemin, and Vincent Versace for a start. Of course there are so many more fine and well respected photographers out there that can tell you that most images need some amount of post-processing to become more potent on their impact and message but even then, if you are not comfortable taking that route you are always free to do what pleases you.

  12. #12
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    I think all my photos get some PP. It may be little more than sharpening, but to my mind sharpening, cropping, adjusting the levels, getting the horizon horizontal, conversion to B&W, using HDR software are all OK by me.

    Sometimes, perhaps I should say often, the results I get are not that good - it is usually a couple of days later that I decide I have overdone it.

    Most of the time I try to get the light and shade and colours to look the way I remember them, but that has its own problems - memory is fickle and I can't honestly say I can remember they way every shot looked.

    I draw the line at adding things that were not there. If, for example, the sky wasn't great then I do my best with it, but I won't add a more dramatic sky from elsewhere, but that is just a personal view. I'm very much in the 'less is more' camp.

    As has already been noted the pre-digital age was not free of PP by a long way. I recall dodging and burn in the darkroom many years ago, which could be said to be counter to what I have just said about about not adding something that was not there

    PP is just part of the process. How far anyone goes with it is up to them and I'm sure we have all seen photos that were a long way from the original scenes and have never realised.

    If you want to see a photo from out of the camera to what I was finally happy with, have a look here -

    I propose a motion!

    Dave

  13. #13
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    PP or No PP that is the question

    No it's not. It doesn't even rate as a thought, never mind a question.

    Pressing the shutter is the end of the first part of making an image. The second part starts when you begin processing in the darkroom (if you're shooting film) or on computer (if you're shooting digitally).

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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    "There was a young German photographer who was also shooting 'Old Faithful' at the same time and he said to me, 'Will you tell me what exposure you are giving?'
    I said, 'I'm using Isopan film.'
    And he said, 'Ja, I have that here too - very good.'
    Than I gave him 1/200 of a second at f/22 and he said, 'This is impossible. You will get nothing.'
    I said, 'I think I will.' Of course he didn't know how I was going to apply the negative development, so I was four stops off according to him!"

    Ansel Adams, in conversation with Pat Booth for Master Photographers (1983, Macmillan, London)

    All photographs need PP... whether you leave that to the manufacturers' processing choices as Andrew indicates - perhaps having first chosen to apply a particular JPEG algorithm for conversion in line with how you roughly want the end-result to appear - or with your own post-processing in mind... And though I'm far from an 'advanced editor' I can't agree the manufacturer's algorithms for raw conversion will almost always be better.

    Intrigued, I googled "Nikon Red Canon Green" having red your post Andrew... This: Colour-blindness and sensor quality might be interesting for the very technically-minded... or good for insomnia..!
    Ian

  15. #15
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    John,

    People who argue that you should take an image SOOC (straight out of camera) really misunderstand digital photography, IMHO. The raw image is not the "right" image. It often isn't even particularly realistic. One person posted:
    A photo without PP is like a girl without a MAKE-UP.
    I think that is the same misconception. It implies that a photo without PP is like a girl without make-up--i.e., the real deal. It isn't.

    Even if you want nothing more than the most accurate rendition of what you saw (or, to be more precise, perceived), you will need PP. For example, you won't perceive tungsten lighting as particularly yellow after you have been in it for a few minutes, but the camera still will.

    But beyond that, the point is to create a pleasing image, and that often requires PP.

    Dan

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    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    Thank you all for your wonderful feedback and comments.

    It seems that most of you do agree that PP is an integral part of the whole “Picture Producing” process.

    There are so many comments that I cannot respond to each individually, but I can happily say I’ve read and absorbed them all.

    The one comment that did make me smile, but also made a good point was: “A photo without PP is like a girl without a MAKE-UP” posted by Ana.

    Once again I thank you all for taking the time to respond.

  17. #17
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    I just tuned into this station, but will quote Donald's statement as this is my approach to digital photography.

    I also agree with the comment made by Ana (Anita). Like the good looking girl that tastefully applies make-up and becomes smashingly good looking, a good in-the-field shot is where I start to get something much better.

    I have countless shots that were almost thrown out, and then I did a bit of PP, and they became keepers.

    Glenn

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    No it's not. It doesn't even rate as a thought, never mind a question.

    Pressing the shutter is the end of the first part of making an image. The second part starts when you begin processing in the darkroom (if you're shooting film) or on computer (if you're shooting digitally).

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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    It seems that most of you do agree that PP is an integral part of the whole “Picture Producing” process.
    Post Production is intergal: but it might be omitted dependent upon what the END of the PROCESS actually is.

    (i.e. what is the actual purpose of a particular image or set of images).

    It is understood that the Original Post assumed some element the worthiness of the work and how good can you get it in camera and how much touching up the image requires - for "the final product".

    But "the Final Product” is not necessarily a 10 x 8 glossy.

    For example, here:
    PP or No PP that is the question
    is what in film days we would refer to as a “Proof Sheet”.

    This is one set from a series taken for the recent International Oceania Swimming Championships – the purpose of these images was to choose “a suitable smile etc” for later publications, press releases etc.

    Certainly later on, the final chosen images would be edited to enhance each image: but the purpose of these images above and all like them, was just simply to choose on appearance of the Subjects – and no post production is required for that purpose.

    Similarly for some Web Publication, a JPEG SOOC (Straight Out of the Camera) is a most suitable and also most desirable, if there is a serious time element for deadline.

    Similarly for Sale of images on Site - JPEGs SOOC are most desirable for the Customer to View and Choose - because of the rapid speed of the turnaround required to initiate a sale.

    Certainly these are not types of situations that most Photographers will come across, but sometimes in general shooting we might just want to get an image very quickly via email – to enhance a description or to make a complex machine part simpler to describe or a problem easier to understand – and in these circumstances a JPEG SOOC could be the better option, especially for example if one only has a camera and a cell phone at hand. . .

    These are some of the reasons why I choose to shoot raw + JPEG (L) for mostly all shots and also some of the reasons why I desire to get it the digital file (JPEG) as close as I can to perfect, generally, for each shot.

    WW

  19. #19

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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    Perhaps a "good" way of thinking about this is to consider that

    - There are some things best done "in camera"

    - There are some thing best done "in post-production"

    - There is a HUGE overlap between the two options for many things though.

    At the end of the day, it's really a personal choice; some may prefer to invest more time getting something right in-camera because they're not as proficient in PP - some may prefer to PP something because they lack equipment or skill to get it right in camera. Neither approach is right or wrong - they're just different.

    I'd often said that I try to get things looking as good as possible in-camera, but I think that even that's a bit misleading. In reality I'm very just much avoiding the lazy mans mantra of "who cares what it looks like now -- I'll just fix it in Photoshop later". Bottom line for me is that if it's easier to fix some aspect of a photo before I shoot then that's what I do (eg hair on the face, lighting etc) - and if it's easier to fix some aspect in Photoshop then that's what I do (eg far easier to remove acne in Photoshop than it is to wait 5 years until the model is acne free!).

    In my opinion, Post-production is there to augment the photography process - to "build upon the foundation of the capture" if you will. It's NOT there to act as a crutch to lean on for poor photographic technique though.

  20. #20
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: PP or No PP that is the question

    Quote Originally Posted by colin southern View Post
    (eg far easier to remove acne in photoshop than it is to wait 5 years until the model is acne free!).
    ROFL

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by colin southern View Post
    in my opinion, post-production is there to augment the photography process - to "build upon the foundation of the capture" if you will. it's not there to act as a crutch to lean on for poor photographic technique though.
    +1.

    Ww

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