Monday, August 22, 2011

A little about photo processing...

Here is a photo I took tonight - straight from the camera (RAW and unprocessed, I didn't change anything).
(1. raw)

When the photo is converted to JPG, that is the "processing" to which i'm referring...  I shoot in RAW because I would rather process the photo myself rather than have my camera do it for me.  It only takes me 30 seconds or so to process one picture - but usually i'm doing MANY at a time.  For example, I may shoot 200 - 250 photos in 30 minutes of engagement photos, maybe 400 for a family of 4 in about an hour...  SO, how many minutes will I be spending processing those photos?  For the few weddings that i've done, i've taken about one-thousand pictures for 4 to 5 hours of pre-wedding, wedding, and then reception.  AND THAT IS JUST FOR PROCESSING!  Basically, "round one" of the purge.  I delete a lot of those as many are duplicates to make sure folks are caught with their eyes open, etc. (I'm not complaining, though.  I love the processing part - and I love to be able to help my friends have photos who can't afford the expensive photographers, just like me.  That is exactly why I bought my camera in the first place!) Anyway, here is that same picture after I processed it.  The color is more intense and there is more depth to the photo.  I think the bokeh effect is more pronounced too.
(2. processed)

Next, I open EACH picture in Photoshop Elements and make sure the color is right and that nothing needs to be balanced.  On some, I will use an action or manually apply changes or affects to the color.  This is also how I convert to black and white (individually, one at a time...). I may spend as little as 1 minute or as many as 15 minutes on each photo.  A few more photos will get cut at this level (deleted), but most will be kept.  I also will sort into my "favorites" category.  Only my favorites will get manipulated at all unless requested by the person I photographed.  Anyway, here is that same photo after an action has been applied.  This action was Florabella's Madamoiselle with changes to that.  The action itself takes about 45 seconds (on my slow computer) to run.  I generally have to try out several ones before I know which one looks best.  I spent about 15 minutes on this picture. I really like the outcome.  I like the original OK, but I LOVE the final.
(3. edited)

So, which photo do you like best?  Do you think it is worth the 20 minutes?  If you were my client, would you want to pay me a fair price for my time and effort?

More to come on this.  In the mean time, which of those three photos is your favorite?  raw, processed, or edited?


  1. Even on a small phone screen, I think processed #3 'pops' off the screen as more vibrant...

  2. Definitely # 3. So do you know what that flower/plant is? I need to know where it is!



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