How much do you tweak?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by jax99, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. jax99

    jax99 Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 12, 2012
    Beek, The Netherlands
    I've looked at a lot of photo's and read a lot of comments here and got the impression that a lot of the photo's that are shown here hardly get processed in PS or LR. Am I right? I always process all of my photo's I show on sites. How much, or how little, do you process your photo's in PS or LR or some other software, and why?
  2. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord

    Nov 4, 2010
    Real Name:
    I dodge and burn. Thats it :)
  3. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    I process as little as I can. I usually use jpegs out of camera. On occasion there are shots that need tweaking. Some I convert to B&W(rarely for me, though).
  4. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I think I am in the "entirely too much" camp. :eek:

    I like old rust things, so I am almost always increasing structure and grit, and I tend to desaturate quite a lot. I don't do too much with NR, though, unless it gets out of hand with the structure increase.
  5. vidiot72

    vidiot72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 11, 2011
    Montgomery, Alabama
    I tweak a good bit, most of mine are jpg as well. I usually crush the blacks and sweeten the color a bit. I like vignettes so I add those sometimes. Of course black and white shots are processed. I don't use the in camera art filters at all so I make up for it in ps I guess.
  6. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I process all of mine, in Aperture. Sometimes just my default RAW import preset to lower exposure, add a little definition and vibrancy, and do an auto-curves. Other times I have a few B&W presets that I try out for those kind of shots, or some color presets I've found on the web and adjusted to my tastes. I start with one of those presets and make specific adjustments to get the photo looking "just right."
  7. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    It depends on the end location of my photos.

    If they go on Facebook - leveling, contrast, exposure.

    If I decide they'll be screensavers/wallpapers/prints - leveling, contrast, color profiles, sharpening, etc.

    Why do I PP?

    - Because my GF1's RAW files are malleable enough
    - Because additional PP can take a shot from good to great
  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I always process, and I'd say "tweak" is the very rare exception. I generally look at an unprocessed image as the skeleton around which I'm gonna put a body and maybe even some clothes! If its not a good skeleton, its not worth the effort because it'll just collapse under the weight, but if its sturdy, its gonna look a lot better with some meat on those bones! I have a few family snapshots that I never do anything to, but even most decent family shots I do some processing to, probably more than most would consider "tweaks".

    Photography can serve many purposes. For me, a literal interpretation of what's there is just sort of pointless - anyone can just go see what's there and its generally gonna look more interesting in reality. I'm after an impression or a feeling or something that's based on reality but enhanced. Because we don't actually "see" in a square or rectangular box, so in order to get the impact of what I saw in a full 3D world into a small box, I have to enhance what's in there. I don't recall a photograph of mine that I (or anyone else) would consider to be "good" that didn't work far better for me after processing than it looked straight out of the camera.

    And this goes all the way back to my B&W film days when I spent too many evenings in darkrooms. I shot a lot of color slides when I travelled in those days, and even THOSE generally work better for me now that they've been scanned and I can work on them than the originals did.

    • Like Like x 3
  9. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Real Name:
    A bit, sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends on the subject. All my b&w pictures are processed from raw so they probably get the most work.
  10. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Almost every photo I'm going to display gets at least some editing: cropping, saturation and contrast, black and white points, sharpening and/or NR. Sometime B&W conversion or other 'effects' presets. Not every image gets everything, but most images get something. The idea that my camera knows what 'look' will work best every time, or that the standard image format (whether it be 4:3, 3:2, or whatever) is right for every image just doesn't work for me.
  11. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    As much or as little as a particular shot warrants. It is just one more step in the creative process. I'm not precious about recording everything as "true to life". I don't use in-camera filters or one-touch presets since I evaluate every image on it's merits.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. hodad66

    hodad66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 27, 2010
    Indialantic, Florida
    My enjoyment of photography IS in the post processing.
    "Let's see what I got..." is my first thought as I get home.
    I crop, burn, dodge and layer mots everything.
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I sometimes tweak a lot, but that only means that I messed up in the first place but still want to keep the shot. ;)
  14. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    ^This *in bold* is why I take pictures.

    It's also why I can't help but do at least some post-processing or tweak on every capture.

    "Bumping up the exposure, contrast and bringing out the blacks to emphasize what I weren't there so deal with it." :cool:
  15. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I shoot JPEG+RAW. If the picture is fine, I leave it as-is. If I feel that it could use a little improvement, then I'll tweak it (contrast, saturation, sharpness, etc). Then there are the few occasional shots where I'll do a lot of editing.

    With my E-P3, I would say I can manage to leave about 1/3-1/2 of the shots untouched. The rest are minor pp.

    With my GF-2, I've given up on JPEGs. I have to adjust all the RAWs and they're all significant tweaks to get them to look "good".
  16. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    First off, this is my hobby and the goal is to create and interpret. Sometimes that means representing the image as I saw it, sometimes that means adding a little 'mood.' My workflow summary:

    I shoot RAW

    I process ALL photos with Lightroom as post processing is as enjoyable as the picture taking.

    I adjust all photos for proper color, light, sharpness and composition

    On the good 'keepers' I make one or two or three virtual copies and interpret the color, change the mood and light, make B&W, etc.

    I rank my photos by star rating them and placing them into a category. This IS where the candidates for public posting are determined.

    I post my best photos to a public forum so that I get feedback.

    It's a very rewarding and educational loop...

  17. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Real Name:
    Never. I am so good that reality tweaks itself to match my photographs. lol kidding.

    All my photos get tweaked to some extent. I am not big on heavy pp but like to play around once in a while. Everyone has their own style, just find what's right for you.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I agree with your sentiment. I generally use lighting and setup to achieve that enhancement though, rather than post-processing. That's my workflow. ;)
  19. Panut

    Panut Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 25, 2011
    One point I don't see anyone bringing up yet in this thread, is tweaking the whole picture versus making local tweaks (e.g. dodging specific parts of the picture).

    For me, that's the borderline.
    I do postprocess practically all my photos (contrast, exposure, WB, vignetting, cropping at least), but only using global adjustments that affect the whole image (with the exception of vignetting or lens aberration corrections, which I still consider "global" in the sense that they are not arbitrary modifications to given subjects).

    Resorting to dodging or burning some parts would take me, in my personal feelings, away from photography, and into graphical arts or something.

    That said - sure I do local tweakings if I'm creating a poster or alike, but I don't call the result "photo" any more, and I do not include the result in my "photo" gallery.

    EDIT: The "why" part: I make tweaks to tickle out the mood I was thinking of when shooting, and to fix to composition by cropping. Why I feel that local tweaks take me away from photography is because then I feel I have failed with the shot itself: I should have found better available light for the subject, used a flash, used larger/smaller aperture for DoF etc.
  20. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    it depends on how i saw the scene i guess
    sometimes just click a preset in silver efex pro, and sometimes im in 3 or 4 things trying to get it just right
    tho i cant say that ive EVER left anything straight out of camera
    i even snapseed my iphone photos... lol