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Thread: Post Processing Feedback

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Post Processing Feedback

    I'm learning my way around Lightroom and trying to improve my post processing skills. Below are two versions of a goose in flight.

    #1. Processed my usual way which involves adjusting whites and blacks, and adding a gentle S curve to bring out more detail.

    Post Processing Feedback

    #2. The other (richer toned) I did by increasing clarity, increasing exposure, decreasing highlights and shadows.

    Post Processing Feedback

    Both were sharpened selectively, with more clarity than I usually use.

    Which version is nicer? Looks more natural? Do either look over-processed?

    The water I left un-sharpened but using the clarity and whites and blacks effects the look of the water, and in LR these tools are not available to use selectively.

    Thank you.

  2. #2

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    Val Mansfield

    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    I'm opting for the first image, mainly because to me the bird's head looks better.

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    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    Christina, the feathers look slightly better to me in #2. However, if it were my image I would also want to work on more clearly differentiating the neck from the wing. E.g. -

    Post Processing Feedback

    Philip

  4. #4
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    Thank you Philip. How did you do that?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrB View Post
    Christina, the feathers look slightly better to me in #2. However, if it were my image I would also want to work on more clearly differentiating the neck from the wing. E.g. -

    Post Processing Feedback

    Philip

  5. #5

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    Larry Saideman

    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    I like both and think you are definitely moving in the right direction with processing with as much power as you may want and still maintaining a natural feel. My preference is with the dark, velvety tones in the second. The first seems a bit washed out for my taste with a goose with an actual, black head. I would not worry so much about the wing contrast since that is the shot you got--the head over the wing. They were probably very close in color in real life so any adjustment to add contrast should be small (in my opinion). The real adjustment comes when you are out capturing geese the next time and you try to get a different pose. I think you may have upped the clarity a bit much on the second shot. The added detail on the belly area stands out slightly. What is your white balance? Maybe cloudy? I say that because the water lacks blue bite and the feathers are somewhat yellow (maybe as seen, dunno). It could just be when you dropped the highlights in the bird, you lost some pop. These are quibbles, though. Nice work!

  6. #6
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    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    First one for me. Very nice.

  7. #7
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    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Thank you Philip. How did you do that?
    Not yet knowing how to deal with layers, I did it by selecting the neck and head and reducing their brightness slightly; then by selecting the brown part of the wing and increasing its brightness slightly. I guess someone could tell us a better method!

    Philip

  8. #8
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    Thank you Val, Larry, John and Philip for your comments and advice.

    Larry, your analysis is very helpful. I likely set the WB to daylight (because it was daylight, golden hour and warmed it up a tad) The whole WB thing always throws me off. Here is the original raw photo as shot

    Post Processing Feedback


    Philip, Thank you for letting me know... Lightroom doesn't have brightness but Elements does so perhaps I will try it in there. Honestly I don't really know how to use layers well, except from my few attempts to combine photos as a learning exercise... One day!

  9. #9
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post

    The water I left un-sharpened but using the clarity and whites and blacks effects the look of the water, and in LR these tools are not available to use selectively.

    Thank you.
    Christina:

    Don't forget about using an Adjustment Brush on the entire BG - then the water can be adjusted separately from the bird. So in practice, one can do selective processing.

    It doesn't always work, but in this instance with such well defined objects (bird and water), the AB will work very well.

    G

  10. #10
    James G's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    Christina,

    my technique with white balance is to:-

    1) select the dropper tool to the left the WB dropdown.
    2) move it to a point on the image that you think should be a neutral gray, or if you can't find one, look for a white or black area that is not blown. Then click to select .

    The image will immediately be rebalanced. If it doesn't look right try another point in the image until you find one that works.
    You can always reset to as shot from the dropdown if necessary.

    An other technique to use which is a bit more finicky is to make a copy of the image then process one for the water/sky and then process the other for the goose.
    You then need to load both images as layers into Elements. Assuming that you load the Goose layer over the water and sky layer you can then brush out areas of the Goose layer to reveal the water and sky as you want it.

    Because Elements was around before Lightroom/ACR was developed, this used to be done totally within Elements.

    Like you I think I prefer the richer tones of #2, but both images have their merits.

    James

  11. #11
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Post Processing Feedback

    Glenn,
    Thank you. Yes, I forgot that I could edit the water. I've tried it before (just decreasing the exposure) and because my selection and processing skills need a lot of work, I gave up because my edit didn't look real but I just realized that I could decrease the clarity of the water, and other things about the water once I figure out what needs doing... It is really hard to get the birds and water looking good at the same time...

    James,

    Thank you. I will try your technique for WB, and as my processing skills progress I will try it in Elements using layers.. My problem in Elements is the same as in LR, I just can't seem to do it well enough... As soon as it starts raining here every day I will stop taking so many photos and switch my priorities to learning to use LR and Elements, well. I've definitely improved my post processing skills but I still have quite a ways to go. No worries, the rainy season in Vancouver is on its way.

    I wish to thank you very much for showing me a different way of post processing (ie; jelly fish post)... I learned a lot from that post that you helped me with. Thank you for that. For some reason it never occurred to me to decrease highlights and shadows as my books on LR and Elements don't show this, and it was very helpful for me to try, see and learn from.

    I should also thank Ken who helped me with a bear photo a while ago.. I think his technique was similar to yours but at the time I just wasn't ready, ie; it just didn't click in my head. Thank you, Ken. And also to a couple of other people who also recommended that I try it.

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