Post-processing

by Axel Eckenberger October. 23, 2017 895 views

Today I want to show why - in my opinion - post-processing is over 50 % of the work creating a finished photo - irrespective whether you work analog or digital.

This photo was taken a two weeks ago at our #munichstreetwalk. The first version is "straight out of the camera", i.e. the RAW file imported into Lightroom and only the most basic settings (lens profile, camera color settings) and some cropping applied.

Out of camera (basic settings and cropping applied)

Out of camera (basic settings and cropping applied)

The basic image is not too bad, however, when working with color I prefer the look of the Fuji Velvia 50. So the first edit was to apply these presets and work on the image (highlights, lights, shadows, blacks and a few other bits and bobs):

Color I: Fuji Velvia 50 look with editing

Color I: Fuji Velvia 50 look with editing

I was quite pleased with the look of this edit and it is quite a nice color photo. But I wanted to push it a bit further so I tried the look of the Kodachrome bleach bypass. This resulted in this second color version:

Color II: Kodakchrome Bleach Bypass look with editing

Color II: Kodakchrome Bleach Bypass look with editing

The second image looks a touch surreal, which I think quite fits the motive. Although, I like the color versions I generally prefer black and white images. So I created the following black and white version. To have a lot of detail I choose a preset that has high tonal range. The main work was then done using the basic settings for highlights, lights, shadows, and blacks to get a high contrast look without loosing too much details. This resulted in this version:

BW I: Adox CHS 25 look with editing

BW I: Adox CHS 25 look with editing

I quite liked the look of this edit, however, at the time when I finished I thought that it would be interesting to do a black and white edit, that has a lot more contrast. So I choose a high contrast preset and the again adjusted the basic settings to create the following look:

BW II: Illford HP5+ look with editing

BW II: Illford HP5+ look with editing

Finally, I choose the first black and white version (BW I). Although, I must admitt it was a tough decision between the two black and white versions. However, the higher level of detail in the first version tipped the scale towards it.

It is not normal that you do 4 versions of the same image, but it just shows how much you can vary the same image with the settings you choose in the post-process.

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