9.10.2012

How do you know when you've gone far enough with your post processing?


You don't. So you keep experimenting until you don't like it anymore and then back off.

15 comments:

John Driggers said...

Bingo. That's my approach too in Snapseed, Lightroom, & Photoshop and with the NIK plugins - I push the control to it's limit to see how bad it gets and then pull it back in until I like the effect. You can go a little crazy adding 1% more of an effect/adjustment and asking yourself if that's it/enough. And it's easy to go 1% too far that way. When I am coaching an editing "newbie" I always encourage them to push the sliders to the limit to see what they do so they can understand the effect/adjustment. And, without fail, they always keep trying to just nudge it up bit instead - taking 15 minutes to make what should be a 15 second adjustment. I think part of the issue is that as you make each little adjustment, your eye kind of accomodates it, making it hard to judge where to stop. Wildly push past the point of good taste and you'll have no trouble seeing it. And when you pull back and hit the sweet spot, you'll know it because your image will suddenly stop looking like crap. Think of it as adjustment "peaking". Cheers from Australia - John Driggers

arg said...

Surely taking out *all* the colour is one step too far? ;) More cheers from Oz - Arg.

SvenReinhold said...

...sometimes Aperture Auto Enhancement knows where to stop :-)

bw from Germany

Sven

Claire said...

I absolutely LOVE this portrait. And the PP on it is spot on. Personally the reason I'm still using PS and Snapseed over anything else (since I'm a jpeg shooter I can send LR to hell ;) is the ability to easily toggle with/without the effect to see exactly what I'm doing. I also tend to always back off a bit when it looks just right, as I know we all tend to overdo it. This approach has worked pretty well so far. The hardest part seems to be knowing when NO pp is actually required beyond resizing, now THAT's tough !

Frank Grygier said...

Does seeing what the latest software tool can do with an image from the past influence the way you shoot a portrait today. Would you shoot with a smaller aperture for instance knowing you can be creative in post?

kirk tuck said...

That's an interesting question and I'm not sure. I'll think about it some more...

Kevin Purcell said...

As counterpoint to "keep experimenting until you don't like it anymore and then back off" I've found with some (most?) post-processing the heuristic "keep experimenting until you DO like it and then back off" is often a good one (especially with sharpening or saturation).

Which heuristic to pick? Perhaps the latter if one is looking for more naturalistic renderings or the former if one is looking for more "stylish"** renderings.

Differn't strokes? Or perhaps the same thing in different circumstances?

** I'm having a problem with coming up with the right word but it's not a perjorative. Just a different goal.

kirk tuck said...

I get what you've written and it may be closer to what I think is right...

Dave said...

It's interesting, I remember a quote from some artist about never really being done with a painting, but just being sick of messing with it.

Patrick Dodds said...

Go to far, back off until you like it again, and then have another look after 24 or 48 hours...

Patrick Dodds said...

... and then read that Kirk Tuck said something similar two posts ago :)

Matthew Wagg said...

I do things totally differently. Do as little as possible for the intended output resolution. For example for facebook, colour correct, maybe spot removal, maybe sharpen but that's it.

For large prints its a different matter.

Rob Grey said...

brevity is the soul of wit.

Carlo Santin said...

I've really toned down on my sharpening, quite a bit. Often I do not even sharpen the file, or maybe just a touch. With digital I think we've become too accustomed to having everything razor sharp. I continue to strive for simplicity, in my processing, in my cameras, in my approach, and in my subject matter and composition.

Dave Elden said...

Only the man who goes too far knows how far you can go...
Same in the darkroom, keep increasing the contrast in half grade steps until it's too much/harsh then back off one half grade.