My Canon DSLR Journey Part 5 – Post Processing

Overview

Next is editing and storage of pictures. Following the previous post hopefully most of the pictures were taken in RAW format. This post will address why.

Editing Tools

The king of photo editing software is Adobe Photoshop. Being a professional software package it is not cheap. The next one down is Adobe Lightroom. It has some advanced features but nowhere near the level of Photoshop but it will be sufficient for most up to prosumer users. The two go hand in hand because Lightroom can manage and do some post editing but there’s also a menu option to open the picture in Photoshop right from within Lightroom.

In this article I will describe Lightroom (v5) because I do not have Photoshop.

Workflow

There are many ways to do this but the method I will describe is what works best for me. There are other methods of doing the same or similar thing so research and pick and choose what’s best for you.

These are steps I go through and I will explain in more detail below:
Import > Rate > Edit > Export

Import

I let Adobe Lightroom manage my catalog (library) for me. It resides on an external drive over USB3. It’s not the fastest connection and new features such as smart previews allow edits when the drive with the catalog is not available e.g whilst away from home.

During import I let Lightroom manage the collections automatically and only editing the meta when necessary. I try to copy all the pictures after each shoot so all of them are usually related and therefore general tags apply.

Once the pictures have been imported, the SD card is automatically ejected and I shutdown Lightroom and perform a backup. This is to ensure I still have a working backup should anything happen whilst I’m in Lightroom. This is simply backing up all the files where the catalog resides.

Rate

I use the star ratings to sort the good pictures from the bad ones. I never delete any pictures just in case I need them or should there be a great moment lost due certain circumstances. this may change if I run out of space on my drive. Each star have certain criteria in order to meet before I apply. Any rating above 1 star must meet the criteria below. For example 2 star must meet 1 star in addition to 2 star criteria:

  1. star – Out of focus and generally not usable. Usually a junk status
  2. star – In focus but not a great shot. May be badly framed or too under / over exposed to be salvaged
  3. star – Possible candidate for use. It will require major work
  4. star – Very good shot with only minor touch up needed
  5. star – Perfect shot and publishable

I may skip rating some photos and come back to them later. In this case I leave them unrated or no stars.

Using the criteria listed above allows me to filter out the shots that are worth post processing (3 or above) and the ones that can be quickly done (4 stars).

On the way I might stack groups of pictures together if they were of the same shot with different settings or taken in a burst.

Edit

What’s New In Lightroom 5:

Quick Tips in Lightroom 5:

Live Shootout and Lightroom 5 Retouching:

Export

Exporting a picture is fairly straight forward. Clicking on the export button opens up the export settings. These settings can be setup once and left alone. Most of the time I export to JPEG and add necessary meta data and watermark. Once these are set some can be turned on and off when necessary and depending what I need them for. For example for Facebook I turn the quality and resize them down because it’s not needed.

Summary

Post processing is very important and a rule of thumb by Jeff Cable is that if a picture is worth selling then it will require the time to edit in post processing. This is why a slick and streamline workflow is important.

About Danny

I.T software professional always studying and applying the knowledge gained and one way of doing this is to blog. Danny also has participates in a part time project called Energy@Home [http://code.google.com/p/energyathome/] for monitoring energy usage on a premise. Dedicated to I.T since studying pure Information Technology since the age of 16, Danny Tsang working in the field that he has aimed for since leaving school. View all posts by Danny → This entry was posted in Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My Canon DSLR Journey Part 5 – Post Processing

  1. Daddy Che says:

    Danny…this is a very interesting article but it makes me feel really tired thinking about photography.

    I just want to be able to click the button on my camera and everything be OK.

    Do you know what I mean?

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