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Thread: Only one adjustment!?

  1. #1

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    Only one adjustment!?

    If you could only make one adjustment, for a whole year, to your images in post-processing what would it be?

    It will be interesting to hear what each of you would choose. Do you think you could do it? Please give reasons....
    You can bend the rules and keep sharpening if you have to.

    Mine would have to be contrast adjustment because I can't live without it!

    Competition. I am having a few problems so whovever comes up with the best way to word this question wins
    Last edited by RicoC; 12th July 2013 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Clarity

  2. #2

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    The answer to your question doesn't take into account the in-camera adjustment. As an example, I set my camera to a global sharpening adjustment that I normally eliminate during post-processing. I then fine tune the sharpening selectively or globally as needed. If I were limited to making just one adjustment during post-processing, I would leave the in-camera sharpening as is and make an adjustment using the Levels & Curve tool.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    In my view I would never even consider doing this as I always shoot knowing that PP is part of my workflow. I shoot with margins around the sides of my images so that I can crop to the final format, I apply curves adjustments, adjust the colouor balance, usually tweak the exposure and vibrance to start. If shooting RAW I will do input sharpening and will generally output sharpen once my final format is known.

    Once that is done I will look at cleaning up defects in the image itself; dodging, burning, retouching, etc. And that of course assumes that I don't need to do any major surgery like adjustiing perspective, removing / toning down distracting elements, vignetting, etc.

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    I'm sure you will get several more answers similar to the first two which both make good points. You'll soon discover no question has a simple answer at CIC

    OK my turn. Per previous I currently shoot with all in-camera adjustments turned off. If I knew my PP was going to be limited I would do more in-camera. And when you ask about "one adjustment" what do you mean? For example I use the NeatImage noise reduction plug-in that reduces noise and sharpens at the same time. Is that one adjustment or two?

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    I think the question is confusing. "One adjustment" from what base? The image as captured by the camera is not even viewable. You can think of it as undeveloped film. So when you look at the image and start your adjustments, some adjustments have already been done. How many have been done, and what they are, depends on how you set the camera and the software you are using. If you are shooting jpeg, depending on the picture style, the camera has already adjusted white balance, other aspects of color balance, contrast, saturation, and sharpening. All of these are needed to render the image. If you shoot raw, the camera will not have made any adjustments, but the software has made adjustments in order to render the image. For example, it has to use a profile to render color, and with default settings, Lightroom will also adjust sharpening slightly.

    Therefore, I would suggest a different term. Rather than thinking off these as "adjustments," which implies some unadjusted baseline, I suggest thinking of this as "choosing settings." Personally, I would never trust a preset algorithm to develop my images. Lots of choices will necessarily be made to turn the unviewable capture into a viewable image, and I would rather control them all myself. That's one reason I virtually never shoot jpeg.

  6. #6

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    The answer to your question doesn't take into account the in-camera adjustment. As an example, I set my camera to a global sharpening adjustment that I normally eliminate during post-processing. I then fine tune the sharpening selectively or globally as needed. If I were limited to making just one adjustment during post-processing, I would leave the in-camera sharpening as is and make an adjustment using the Levels & Curve tool.
    Mike

    I mentioned sharpening because you may want to adjust this for printing at various sizes or displaying online.
    I could have been clearer but you can do whatever you want in the camera, you are only restricted once the image is on your computer.
    Thanks for the Levels & Cure tool answer though, good choice

  7. #7

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    In my view I would never even consider doing this as I always shoot knowing that PP is part of my workflow. I shoot with margins around the sides of my images so that I can crop to the final format, I apply curves adjustments, adjust the colouor balance, usually tweak the exposure and vibrance to start. If shooting RAW I will do input sharpening and will generally output sharpen once my final format is known.

    Once that is done I will look at cleaning up defects in the image itself; dodging, burning, retouching, etc. And that of course assumes that I don't need to do any major surgery like adjustiing perspective, removing / toning down distracting elements, vignetting, etc.
    Manfred
    It would have been nice if you could choose one but it seems all of these steps are too important for you to let go for any period of time. I guess your answers anr N/A and N/A. I appreciate your input.

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    I'm sure you will get several more answers similar to the first two which both make good points. You'll soon discover no question has a simple answer at CIC

    OK my turn. Per previous I currently shoot with all in-camera adjustments turned off. If I knew my PP was going to be limited I would do more in-camera. And when you ask about "one adjustment" what do you mean? For example I use the NeatImage noise reduction plug-in that reduces noise and sharpens at the same time. Is that one adjustment or two?
    Thank you Dan!

    It is looking like there really is no simple answer but your answer is the closest to what I was looking for.
    Technically that is more than one adjustment but you can have it because it is one plug-in although I would still like to hear answers that only change one aspect of the image in PP.

    It would be better if you used only one slider/changer within the plug-in

  9. #9
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Quote Originally Posted by RicoC View Post
    Manfred
    It would have been nice if you could choose one but it seems all of these steps are too important for you to let go for any period of time. I guess your answers anr N/A and N/A. I appreciate your input.
    Exactly; I don't understand why I would want to even consider going this way, given all of the tools that we have in our toolbox, from the camera right through the PP workflow to output. These artificial constraints might be of some academic interest, like going out and shooting with a single prime lens, or shooting existing light, etc. but in general, I steer away from things that interfere in getting the best image I can.

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    I think the question is confusing. "One adjustment" from what base? The image as captured by the camera is not even viewable. You can think of it as undeveloped film. So when you look at the image and start your adjustments, some adjustments have already been done. How many have been done, and what they are, depends on how you set the camera and the software you are using. If you are shooting jpeg, depending on the picture style, the camera has already adjusted white balance, other aspects of color balance, contrast, saturation, and sharpening. All of these are needed to render the image. If you shoot raw, the camera will not have made any adjustments, but the software has made adjustments in order to render the image. For example, it has to use a profile to render color, and with default settings, Lightroom will also adjust sharpening slightly.

    Therefore, I would suggest a different term. Rather than thinking off these as "adjustments," which implies some unadjusted baseline, I suggest thinking of this as "choosing settings." Personally, I would never trust a preset algorithm to develop my images. Lots of choices will necessarily be made to turn the unviewable capture into a viewable image, and I would rather control them all myself. That's one reason I virtually never shoot jpeg.
    Dan K

    Granted I could have worded the question a little better but I wanted to keep it short and trusted we could use some imagination.

    You can set the camera however you please and import into your desired post-processor however you like.

    The question I ask is what single change would you restrict yourself to?

    This could be contrast, exposure, WB, ‘vignetting’ (Manfred, 2013)…. The list goes on and on

    Thanks, I always shoot in RAW too

  11. #11

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    I think the question is confusing. "One adjustment" from what base? The image as captured by the camera is not even viewable. You can think of it as undeveloped film. So when you look at the image and start your adjustments, some adjustments have already been done. How many have been done, and what they are, depends on how you set the camera and the software you are using. If you are shooting jpeg, depending on the picture style, the camera has already adjusted white balance, other aspects of color balance, contrast, saturation, and sharpening. All of these are needed to render the image. If you shoot raw, the camera will not have made any adjustments, but the software has made adjustments in order to render the image. For example, it has to use a profile to render color, and with default settings, Lightroom will also adjust sharpening slightly.

    Therefore, I would suggest a different term. Rather than thinking off these as "adjustments," which implies some unadjusted baseline, I suggest thinking of this as "choosing settings." Personally, I would never trust a preset algorithm to develop my images. Lots of choices will necessarily be made to turn the unviewable capture into a viewable image, and I would rather control them all myself. That's one reason I virtually never shoot jpeg.
    Dan K

    Granted I could have worded the question a little better but I wanted to keep it short and trusted we could use some imagination.

    You can set the camera however you please and import into your desired post-processor however you like.

    The question I ask is what single change would you restrict yourself to?

    This could be contrast, exposure, WB, ‘vignetting’ (Manfred, 2013)…. The list goes on and on

    Thanks, I always shoot in RAW too

  12. #12

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Quote Originally Posted by RicoC View Post
    I would still like to hear answers that only change one aspect of the image in PP.
    That requirement eliminates my use of the Levels & Curves tool (both tools are built into one tool on my system). Even if I limit it to using the Curves tool, which can do everything the Levels tool can do and more, making one adjustment to the curve changes many, many aspects of the image (dynamic range, brightness, contrast, not to mention perhaps the entire curve which in itself is made up of whatever number of increments you want to divide the curve into.) That's exactly why I chose that adjustment step if I'm limited to using only one; that one adjustment can affect the image in more ways than any other adjustment step that I can think of.

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    A couple of months ago, I might have said noise reduction. But, I seem to be getting better at minimizing noise at capture (although nr is still a basic part of my pp kit). White balance and exposure require adjustments as does the old curve tool. But, again, the better I get, the less those are 'needed'. So, instead of need, I will go with a feature I get a lot of miles out of and that is hue/color/saturation. Adjustments in that area not only can help correct weaknesses in an image; they can alter an image to create different versions. Plus, they can help set up a conversion which I guess I am now prevented from doing in this universe. Oh well. Maybe another poster will allow me to add black and white as an exception to this one setting limitation. Until then: Let there be color!

  14. #14

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Mike

    I’ll take that answer. The curves tool is one of my favourite.

  15. #15

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Thanks Larry, you’ve got the idea. Good answer, I like it

  16. #16
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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    One adjustment?

    That's somewhat akin to asking someone what they would buy with two cents. Answer - pretty well nothing.

    I shoot RAW only, so there is no one adjustment that has more importance - it depends on the image.

    I have images that don't require contrast adjustment, others that are dead without it.

    Glenn

  17. #17
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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Simple question (I thought) so a simple answer - Monochrome......couldn't live without having monochrome images in my life.

  18. #18
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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    I agree that trying to pick one PP tool is like trying to pick your favorite flower from a well-done bouquet (no, I do not mean bokeh ). It's not about each piece, it's about the cumulative effect.

    But if I could only do one thing, it'd be cropping. Yes, you could compose in camera, but as an action shooter, I sometimes don't have time for that. And I have a habit of shooting a little wider than necessary. Composition is the hardest thing to get right in camera, so to me, a little leeway to change my mind in post is hard to give up.

  19. #19
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    I can't see the point either Rico, I'm afraid.

    A bit like someone that only drives their car around the 'easy' corners (left in UK, right in states, etc.) and go miles out of their way to achieve this and, more importantly, cannot get to some places because it is impossible.

    Yes; Levels/Curves has to be most versatile

    Cheers,

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    Re: Only one adjustment!?

    Quote Originally Posted by RicoC View Post
    If you could only make one adjustment, for a whole year, to your images in post-processing what would it be?

    Do you think you could do it? Please give reasons....


    Competition. I am having a few problems so whovever comes up with the best way to word this question wins
    Nope. I can't go on 1 year on only one adjustment.

    LR4 cost around $150. Then upgrade to LR5 $80.

    And I will only use 1 adjustment for 1 year??????

    Let them win. But I want my money's worth.

    just me..............


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