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Jamie Peters

Photo Post Processing

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Jamie Peters    1,189
Jamie Peters

In the spirit of the new club I'd thought I'd create a topic going through how I personally post process all my photos.


Before I start, remember this is my own method, other people may do things differently, I'm not an expert at Photoshop nor do I pretend to be, these are just a few things I've picked up over the years.


I'm aware this is a time consuming process and isn't to everyones taste, I can to a ground, or a concert, or anywhere and take 100s of photos, and I may only end up with a dozen I really love and run through Photoshop to put on my Flickr


Software Used

Adobe Photoshop, my version is CC 2014 but should be the same for all modern photos


So obviously, the first thing to do is to open your photo in Photoshop, I'm going to assume that you familiar with the software to start with as I don't want this to become a beginners guide, but I'm going to try and keep it as simple as possible.




The first thing I always do is alter the levels, thanks to Google ... "Levels is a tool in Photoshop and other image editing programs which can move and stretch the brightness levels of an image histogram. It has the power to adjust brightness, contrast, and tonal range by specifying the location of complete black, complete white, and midtones in a histogram."


The levels can be found by clicking Image, then Adjustments, then Levels




The levels settings are different for every photo, I just drag the sliders slightly to try and get the best results, these are the settings used on this photo, you can immediately see that the photo is a lot more brighter and vivid.




The next thing I did on this photo is slightly alter the Hue and Saturation, this can again be found by going into the Image, then adjustments menu, and this time pressing Hue and Saturation




On this particular photo I didn't have to alter the settings too much, again I just dragged the Saturation and Brightness sliders a little bit till I got an effect I was happy with, you can again see how the colours, especially the lights on the rides, have brightened.




Next is altering the brightness and contrast, this isn't something I do on every photo, I can alter the settings and then decide I liked it better before. The Brightness and Contrast settings can be found under Image, Adjustments again, and pressing Brightness and Contrast




As before, its just a case of altering the sliders a little bit until I am happy with it.




Finally, I run a high pass filter through it to sharpen the image, the first thing you need to do is to duplicate the photograph, do this by going to Layers, Duplicate Layer, and press OK. You should now have two layers in the file, the background layer, and the one we just created.




Next, make sure the new layer is selected, then press Filter, Other, then High Pass




Don't worry that the photo has suddenly turned grey, thats the idea! We need to change the slider until we can just about see the detail coming through in the photo, its very rare I have the slider higher than 4.5 before its at a suitable level, when done, press OK


The next thing we need to do is to turn our attention to the layers panel on the right hand side, at the top of the panel there's a drop down with 'Normal' selected, you need to open this and change it to Overlay






You'll immediately notice that the photo is slightly sharper, if you toggle the layers visibility by pressing the little Eye icon in the layers panel off and on a few times you'll notice the differences.


And that's it, thats the basic process I go through with all my photos, some of additional steps such as straightening the image, and some have less, each image is different, below is a few before and afters.









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Tim Holmes    11,148
Tim Holmes

How long does that take you Jamie?


With the large amount of photos I take (and keep) I don't think there's enough hours in the day for me to use your method


For me it's 1) auto levels - sometimes that gives a dodgy result so it's then auto contrast

2) shadows/highlights

and occasionally hue/saturation or colour balance 

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Jamie Peters    1,189
Jamie Peters

It can take a few minutes per photo, like I said in my post I could take 100s of photos at an event and only end up posting a few on Flickr, a few years ago I used to just upload everything, or run everything through a batch process that used auto levels etc, but a lot of the times I ended up with a lot of duplications or 'poor' photos, so as I got older and learnt more techniques I got more picky over the ones I upload, I think if I went through that process for every photo I'd still be at it a week later!


I spent two days in Whitby earlier this week and took 300 photos over the two days, but there's none I liked enough to put online, so they just sit in my own library, I might go back them at a later time though.


I recently got Adobe Lightroom too, and it does make editing photos easier, but it still could take as long as my method in Photoshop, and sometimes I end up opening the photo in Photoshop after post processing in Lightroom to do a bit extra work too!

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