Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Power Of Post Processing

Last week I spent a lot of time talking about gear, but I would like to get away from that for a little while, so today I'm going to focus on post processing images. After all one of the most powerful tools that digital photographers have at their finger tips today is post processing software. That could mean anything from basic photo organizing software like iPhoto, to powerful editors Lightroom 3, Aperture 3 and Photoshop. What kind of changes can you make to an image that helps it "pop" out at viewers though?

I wanted to find out what kind of changes could be made to some images that I took yesterday afternoon using different presets that are available for Aperture 3. The first image today is a jpeg exported from the original RAW file with no changes added other than sharpening.


As you can see the image is not bad, but the colours looks a little on the flat side. The image could really use some work, especially in terms of saturation, and a little contrast boost couldn't hurt it either! Normally I would make some simple adjustments in order to create what I consider a realistic look, but sometimes it is nice to do something a little different with your images.


This second image is the result of using a preset from group of sets ggzurli Presets. The preset applied is called 1971 - Unforgettable Trip. This preset uses a number of curve adjustments to achieve a substantially different feel and really enhances the texture in the image. The enhancement of textures in the image is one of the reasons that I enjoy using this preset, now that I've taken the time to apply it to some images. The next preset that I used focuses on improving the colours in the image, pushing them beyond reality.


This is another of the ggzurli presets, and this one is designed to give the look of Velvia 50 film. Having never shot with Velvia 50 film I cannot say whether it looks anything like it, but I do find the results that this preset delivers to be nice for some images. I also experimented with one other look for this image.


This final image uses a preset that is meant to give an image the look of Kodak Tri-X black and white film. I have seen images shot with Tri-X and although the contrast is similar, you would have to add some noise/grain to the image (shoot at higher ISO?) to try and match the other aspects of that black and white film.

I like the effect that each one of these presets has on the image, but the hard part is picking which one I enjoy the most! I've mentioned this before on the blog several times, but I'll do so again, don't be afraid to try doing new things to your images!