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Thread: How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?

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    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?

    It’s summer here, and that means I am on vacation and have more time for “stuff”. So, I’ve been looking at photographers’ websites . Here are my questions:

    1. How do you know if a photographer has painstakingly performed all their own post-processing work or if they have used pre-packaged actions? Some portraits seem to have, for example, the “70s” look, high key processing and vignetting all in one photo.

    2. Does it matter if the image is generally pleasing?
    I ask because I’ve seen the term “photoshopographer” and am not sure if that is someone who doesn’t bother to learn correct techniques and continually tries to “fix” their work in post processing, or if it is someone who goes overboard with PP effects.

    If this has been discussed before, please just point me to the thread and I’ll have a read. Also, if this might open the wrong kind of debate between purists and die hard PS’ers, someone delete it quickly!

    Thanks!
    Myra
    Last edited by Maritimer1; 29th July 2010 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Spelling!

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Hi Myra,

    To answer #1, if they do a good job then "you don't"

    To answer #2, no it doesn't matter - in my opinion.

    Shooting rubbish and fixing in Photoshop is a recipe for disaster -- it means a LOT of post-processing work (and the worse you shoot it, the better you'll need to be with Photoshop). Having just said all that though, the camera only captures what's there -- and with portraiture especially, that's not how we want it to look - things like skin softening - eye whitening - blemish removal etc etc etc are just part of the workflow and a reality of portrait life.

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Colin, I am relieved with your reply because there are a few techniques, like high key, I'd like to try and figure out. I saw one high key portrait of a woman standing by her horse that I quite admired. I tried it using a tutorial I found on the net. Hmm... I need practice. It's not as easy as it looks!

    The more I learn about photography and post processing the more I know what I don't know and likely never will! I've been looking at purchasing some lenses this summer and wanted to see how my model of camera and the lenses work together. Is there a trend right now to make photos look like they are from thirty years ago? I kept seeing greenish blue photos and thought it was the lens until I clued in that some kind of PP colourization had been produced.

    I've also seen othe techniques with actions that can be downloaded. Again, some not to my taste, but a few others look like they could be fun to work with once in awhile. I can see the value in actions for professionals with hundreds of photos to process. They must save a phenomenal amount of time.

    Baby steps. I just figured out last night how to open multiple images in photoshop (same basic light ), make one adjustement layer and then apply it to them all by dropping the layer on each photo. Wow! To me, that was almost like discovering a new planet. Almost

    Myra

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    I started taking pictures under the tutelage of a professional who was very good. As good as he was, he always working with his enlarger to improve what came out of the camera. We might spend several hours on one cut from Valley of Fire, Cedar Breaks or Zion. The same job takes me about 15 minutes, today.

    His philosophy was the same as we should follow today. Get the photograph right in the camera, as closely as you can. Fix the photograph in the darkroom until it becomes a picture. Then, STOP.

    Ansel Adams is known for his pictures. He stated that taking the photograph was only half of the job. The rest of the job of turning a photograph into a picture is done in the darkroom.

    Are these two very successful photographers any more "right" because they used a darkroom, instead of a computer? I, for one, am very thankful that I don't have to muck about in the darkroom, any more.

    That said, there is a definite line between taking a photograph to record a happening, versus taking a photograph which is intended to become a picture. History shouldn't be mucked about in the darkroom, nor in the computer. Putting Eddie Rickenbacher in the cockpit of an F-14 fighter jet is not appropriate. Leaving the foreground of a Grand Canyon shot muddy and under exposed is not appropriate.

    That's my rant for today. I hope it is worth at least as much as you paid for it.

    Pops

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post

    ...
    His philosophy was the same as we should follow today. Get the photograph right in the camera, as closely as you can. Fix the photograph in the darkroom until it becomes a picture. Then, STOP.

    ...
    Are these two very successful photographers any more "right" because they used a darkroom, instead of a computer? I, for one, am very thankful that I don't have to muck about in the darkroom, any more.

    ...

    That said, there is a definite line between taking a photograph to record a happening, versus taking a photograph which is intended to become a picture.

    ...



    That's my rant for today. I hope it is worth at least as much as you paid for it.

    Pops
    Always good to rant, and that was just a tiny one Agree with everything, particularly the points quoted.

    Myra

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maritimer1 View Post
    Colin, I am relieved with your reply because there are a few techniques, like high key, I'd like to try and figure out. I saw one high key portrait of a woman standing by her horse that I quite admired. I tried it using a tutorial I found on the net. Hmm... I need practice. It's not as easy as it looks!
    Best thing I can suggest is just "jump in and give it a go" - make plenty of mistakes - learn how hot to make so many of them next time - lather and repeat!

    High-key shots are one of the few things that I don't play with much though to be honest - I've seen them used mostly in conjunction with beauty shots, and for some reason it "just doesn't do it for me".

    Happy to try and help though

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    PS: How'd I do?

    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    High-key shots are one of the few things that I don't play with much though to be honest - I've seen them used mostly in conjunction with beauty shots, and for some reason it "just doesn't do it for me".

    Happy to try and help though
    Hi Colin,

    What is meant by " HIGH KEY "

    Is it Glow type effect..! !

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Ashwin

    There are probably as many attempts to define high and low key as there are interpretations of what they actually mean.

    The following came from here:


    "Everything you need to know about High-key photography is actually locked up in the name. It means that the image’s key tone is high. Right; that’s it. Lesson over. Let’s go lie on the beach until sun-down.

    But before we go, let’s unpick that in more detail. Key tones are usually the mid-tones, so by placing them high, meaning high on the exposure scale, we are making them lighter/brighter. This has two crucial side-effects. If mid-tones are bright, then the high-tones - those which are usually nearly white - will be even whiter. Well, tones can’t be whiter than white in digital photography (though they can in video) so these super-white tones are clipped down to keep them to white. At the other extreme, areas that normally register with dark tones are dragged up the brightness scale so that they become much brighter. The key to high-key photography is actually in the control of these dark tones: essentially we don’t want them."


    or

    "A high-key photo is basically white on white. This style of photography conveys a feeling of lightness and clarity. Exposing for this is fairly easy.

    With an in camera meter, you can measure the light hitting a white area, and open up two stops - such as changing the aperture from ƒ11 to ƒ5.6.

    Exercise: Put a large piece of white paper or white fabric on a table beside a large north facing window, place an egg in the middle. Take a picture with the whatever exposure the in camera meter suggests. You may have to use a tripod to keep the camera still if the shutter speed is too slow. You can also shoot a fair-haired person in light clothing against a light coloured background for a "high key portrait."

    Next, meter off a white area and open up two stops - as described at the top of the this page. Compare the images."


    from here

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    PS: How'd I do?

    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?
    Hi Colin,

    Will you be kind enough to post original unprocessed copy of this photographs..?

    I will show TRUE HIGH KEY effect without disturbing other Mid-Tones, and/or without disturbing shadow portion.

    This is a simple PP.

    To achieve this in Camera, yes it can be done where you have absolute control over lighting.( Not exposure)
    Only over exposing will not do,( I don't agree with this theory ) this will spoil your photograph, you will have to sacrify other tonal range and details also.

    Under certain condition it also can be achieved outdoor without the help of lighting equipment. But in normal outdoor photographs it is very difficult to achieve this so called High Key effect without sacrifying Mid-Tones and shadow portion or other vital loss of details. This is very easy to achieve this in controled manner in PP
    Last edited by Ashwin; 30th July 2010 at 05:37 PM.

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Ashwin

    There are probably as many attempts to define high and low key as there are interpretations of what they actually mean.

    The following came from here:
    Hi Donald,

    Do you agree with the link you are reffering to...?

    I totally disagree with what has been written, this refers to over exposure only.
    and over exposure is not High Key photography/or univarsal brightening of the whole image is also not High Key effect.

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Ashwin

    As I wrote, any search on the internet reveals a huge number of attempts to describe what 'high' and 'low' key means.

    I don't find either of these descriptions particularly helpful, but posted them merely as an illustration of the point I was making. My learning about high and low key was gained from Freeman, M. The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography. Ilex, East Sussex. 2009, to which I have referred on here on a number of occassions. That being so, I find alternative explanations unsatisfactory.

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Ashwin

    As I wrote, any search on the internet reveals a huge number of attempts to describe what 'high' and 'low' key means.

    I don't find either of these descriptions particularly helpful, but posted them merely as an illustration of the point I was making. My learning about high and low key was gained from Freeman, M. The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography. Ilex, East Sussex. 2009, to which I have referred on here on a number of occassions. That being so, I find alternative explanations unsatisfactory.
    Hi Donald

    In the old time 50s uptill early 80s, some of the creative photographer where showing their artistic talent in Portrait Photography, they were arranging Studio lighting ( CONTROLLED MANNER )in such a way that their photographs looked HIGH-KEY effect without sacrifying Mid-Tones, and other necessary details.

    Moreover this method of High-Key effect is widely used in Model/Glamour photography for Magazines.

  14. #14

    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    I ask because I’ve seen the term “photoshopographer” and am not sure if that is someone who doesn’t bother to learn correct techniques and continually tries to “fix” their work in post processing
    I would not worry about the opinions of people who feel it necessary to label everything and stick it with a specimen pin. These traits are rarely associated with artistic ability and creativity. Purists and pedants stifle artistic creation. In their ordered world we would all be judged by our pixels and text book compositional adherence. They would have us paint by numbers and then scratch off the paint to make sure we applied the correct colour to the corresponding number, regardless and oblivious of the overall effect. We have to realise that some people cannot cope with subjectivity. If it cannot be measured, named or ring fenced it becomes uncomfortable for them. We just have to accept that photography attracts a wide range of technicians and artists and we will never please everybody. So answers....

    1) I cannot tell

    2) It cannot matter good or bad because we cannot tell.

    I think I may be ranting too...but you will be used to taht by now.

    Steve

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    If it cannot be measured, named or ring fenced it becomes uncomfortable for them. We just have to accept that photography attracts a wide range of technicians and artists and we will never please everybody.
    And then the voice of common sense came upon the masses and made perfect sense!

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Hi Ashwin,

    I don't shoot high-key, so the example I gave above was done through post-processing (or more correctly, RE-post-processing) an existing image). Basically what I did to re-process it was increase the exposure by 3 stops and then adjust brightness, contrast, recovery to get skintones - mostly - just under blown.

    Here's the DNG "straight out of the camera" (the ONLY adjustment was white balancing), and the other shot below is the finished image that I actually based the high-key example on.

    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?

    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    For my money, High Key is predominantly about the subject and, to an extent, the composition - in as much as the background tone. Lighting and over-exposure can help, but they do not define it for me.

    It is about having a light toned subject on a light toned background, with very few mid or dark tones in the composition, say < 5% image content by area - now that scene should be properly exposed, so the whites come out white, not grey. You might 'get away with' a little pushing into over-exposure of some mid-toned background, but it won't (to me) be as good as if properly shot.

    Another very common trick to turn a pale subject into high key shot is to vignette to white in PP.

    Thus, for me, the "Jessica Rose" shot is not High Key, not even the Instant High Key version.

    So here's a reasonable, if unexciting, example in the 'as shot' category.

    Whereas here's an example where the exposure has been overdone to give a light toned picture some might call High Key.

    There are few images on this page I would call HK, only the first (bride) and one of the flash images. I disagree that mid-tones above 128 make for high key, the 3rd shot, of the girl in the pink top doesn't qualify as HK for me (too much mid-tone content) although I like it, whereas the one above does qualify (just), by virtue of over-exposure, but I don't like it, it is too bright.

    It's odd that I am so opinionated on this, since I don't do it and I was like that before I started looking for examples and reading what was on some of these linked pages. I think this stems from being taught it 35 odd years ago.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 31st July 2010 at 02:08 AM.

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Ashwin,

    I don't shoot high-key, so the example I gave above was done through post-processing (or more correctly, RE-post-processing) an existing image). Basically what I did to re-process it was increase the exposure by 3 stops and then adjust brightness, contrast, recovery to get skintones - mostly - just under blown.

    Here's the DNG "straight out of the camera" (the ONLY adjustment was white balancing), and the other shot below is the finished image that I actually based the high-key example on.

    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?

    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?
    Comment and suggestion welcome

    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?

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    Re: HIGH-KEY effect in Photoshop

    Your comments please

    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?

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    Re: How do you know? Does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    PS: How'd I do?

    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?
    My way of doing HK
    How do you know what's been post-processed? Does it matter?

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