Image quality methods

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by jjbigfly, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. jjbigfly

    jjbigfly Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 6, 2013
    O.K. It's an odd title. I have had this "thought" in my head for sometime now that I do not see much on this forum regarding basic image quality out of the camera. I see a good deal of discussion about post processing software and work flow and so on.
    Perhaps because I started in film (photo and processing) waaaay back when color film was not quite universal in the photo world I may have a skewed opinion about post processing images too much. I see some incredible images that have been processed a great deal and wished that I could have taken those pictures myself. I used to be anti-post processing but that opinion has waned somewhat. But I am now of the mind that some folks may be considered "artists" with processing software, while others are artists with the camera. Then there are the folks that are quite good with both mediums....I guess that if you look at the results only then a good picture is a good picture.
    But I wonder if there is too much importance placed on processing AFTER the picture is taken, rather than working at taking a good picture that require little or no processing. I remember back in the film days that one of the goals was to simply get a picture that was acceptable from a roll of 36 exposures. I think it was more important to operate the camera correctly rather than rely on being able to "fix" (?) the image later. We could make some changes in the darkroom, but nothing like what we now have available. And I do use very simple software but only as little as possible as I have always been of the mind that I needed to take the best image possible with the camera (even though it may be a rare occurrence:confused:).
    Perhaps I am just an odd duck or simply lacking education in post processing. And I do think that post processing is a skill, art form, talent or whatever, but I wonder if it detracts from learning to take the best possible picture with the camera. Maybe learning what these software programs do might tip me over. I do not know.
    Any thoughts on this?
    I will go back in my cave now :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 3
  2. rbelyell

    rbelyell Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2013
    Mountains of NY
    i think theres room for both. if one considers photography an art form, then there must be many ways for the artist to achieve his vision. your vision, and mine much of the time, is to convey reality through the lens. thus we may be happiest when our results convey our vision OOC, as they say, with no need for PP. others may have a completely different, yet equally valid vision that requires PP. i think we all would object to PP used simply as a method for covering up bad technique, and i think that can almost always be discerned.

    i saw a show hosted by ansel adams son who gave a tour of his fathers 'darkroom', which was twice the size of my home. he said something like 'this is where the magic happened'. obviously adams spent a great deal of time enhancing his images. i was amazed at how different the original renderings of iconic photos were from how we ultimately saw them. food for thought.
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  3. The most striking and highest quality post-processed images don't begin as poorly exposed and poorly composed images out-of-camera. Whether someone is using the camera's jpeg engine to process their images or Lightroom/Photoshop/Aperture etc, you get better results when you aren't having to fix problems caused by getting the basic image wrong.
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  4. I am an immediate results kind of guy. I like taking photos, but I don't like working with them after they come out of the camera. Part of this is time related, but most of it is lack of skill and confidence. My favorite college Art Professor would say "You have to know when a piece is finished". So for me, it's usually finished when it leaves the camera. With my new E-M10, I shoot in both RAW and JPEG, so I can always go back if I develop the skills.
  5. jjbigfly

    jjbigfly Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 6, 2013
    One of the really good things about this forum is the differing views of the members. I am seeing some things that I had not considered before.
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  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I've started seriously shooting with film only after years with digital...

    And one thing I notice is that you will never get a digital file that looks as good out of camera as a properly exposed shot with good 35mm film. Film just has a depth and vividness and whatever else that digital files can't match. Give me some Kodak 400 speed Xtra or something in my little Konica C35v and I can come up with some beautiful results, whereas with my GX1 I would need to up colors, adjust contrast and maybe even out highlights and shadows to get similar results.

    That's my gut reaction, anyway, comparing results from both.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Ger.mcg

    Ger.mcg Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 17, 2013
    I think minimal or heavy post processing are equally valid approaches, it just depends on the final image the photographer wants to achieve. As others have stated the strongest images are ones that are enhanced by processing rather than "fixed". I reckon my best images are taken with an eye to what I can do in post processing whether that be minimal or more "developed".
  8. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    Well said.

    The final result is all that matters. In some cases, one might be working with the limitations of the hardware, or making split second decisions, where minor tweaks are not possible in camera. There are so many variables. Some people see bad/overly done (in their opinion) "HDR" or "photoshopped" images and automatically think any PP is bad. I came into digital photography (from being a rank amateur film shooter) with the intent to get OOC images only...but as I learned more, I came to love the possibilities of PP....not that I go nuts with it, but simply try to get the best image I can from my raw files...whatever that may be. Now I enjoy it as much as taking photos, if not more. It's kind of an art in itself.

    Anyway, I don't see the need to be obsessed with this. If you don't enjoy PP, that's another story altogether. If you search you can find out how to get good OOC images, but it still might not satisfy you w/o opening your mind to post processing. IMO You can use a GND or you can PP later...or both....just depends what you want. 6 of one, half dozen of the other.
  9. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    Im of the mind that a poor image taken in camera with all the best post processing in the world can't be made into a great image. Only a great image done in camera can be a great image. While this belief is likely to be proven wrong by magician like editors with software but for the vast majority of us a poor image taken will still remain a poor image. Of course what is a "poor" or "great" image is all up for debate as any art is subjective.

    Its been my experience anyway that any image i took/made that was bad out of camera no processing could make it a good image and conversely if I took a good image post-processing it the wrong way actually could make it a bad image! I think anyone not utilizing the "tools" available to you in the present is short changing themselves by putting a limit on what they can achieve with there images. What you do with these tools is entirely up to you... you can use PP software to make just slight adjustments and augment your image or make drastic changes and alter the image altogether.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. marcsitkin

    marcsitkin Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 24, 2013
    Harwich, MA USA
    Marc Sitkin
    You'll probably get the best results when you can previsualize what you are looking for in the final product (hopefully a print!), and use your camera skills and technical abilities to accomplish your goal.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I couldn't have said it better. How much work you want to put into processing is up to you and what kind of a result you want, but you can't turn garbage into gold. The gold has to be there to start with, and how good the final result is depends as much on what you had to start with as it does on what you did to extract it.
  12. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I think there is an esthetic that has evolved that makes s appreciate the results of film (which has many decades of maturity). Many strive to get that film like look from digital while some look for an esthetic that cannot be achieved using film (or are remarkably difficult with film).

    Of course, whenever I think there is a clear distinction between film and digital I remind myself about the many differences in the various types of films and processing (Fuji vs Kodak anyone?).

    In the end it comes down to an artist with a vision using the most appropriate tools and techniques within their capabilities to render the image they are looking for. And there is luck. Oh yeah, and timing. And a bunch of other stuff.