Post-processing Is a process used to transform photos from what was captured in data by a camera either to be closer to what our eyes saw, or to alter the image artistically.
When it comes to Digital Photography, taking the photo is only 50% of the job. In other words post-processing is vital to produce a top quality image.
For more on post-processing why not join one of our Lightroom Courses or one of our Photo Safaris where we spend more practical time dealing with the post processing of images.
Shooting RAW & Post-processing
Even as a very new beginner you have likely already been told that you should be “shooting RAW.” For good reason, a good portion of photographers (professional and hobbyist) shoot in RAW. When a photographer shoots RAW they do so knowing that they will be doing post-processing on the images taken. You can think of RAW images being a little like being given pizza dough that has to be cooked, while a JPEG is like being handed a fully cooked pizza cooked exactly the same way every time (many camera models let you choose between a few ‘recipes’). You can still add things to the fully cooked pizza to change the flavor, but the options are fewer because the cooking is already done.
The electronic sensors in our current digital cameras are really advanced, but very far from perfect. Even with significant improvements made in each new generation, the signal coming out of them is not “clean.” Part of the valuable technology inside your camera is the algorithms built specifically to compensate for this. When comparing a JPEG to an un-processed RAW image, the RAW looks “soft” (slightly out of focus or lacking detail), “flat” (the difference between black and white is not as big as it should be, the colors are drab), and may have other issues that need to be fixed.
Even if the settings of the camera are absolutely perfect for the shot, the RAW data from the sensor requires work be done to make it the best it can be. When shooting in JPEG, the camera is doing this for you in a pre-determined way that cannot be altered. When shooting RAW the photographer does this on the computer. This ‘cooking’ of the RAW image using computer software is what we call of post-processing.
Parts of a RAW image that can be processed using processing software include:
- Cropping and angle adjustment
- Brightness / Contrast
- Basic Color Adjustments
- Blur, Lens Blur Effects
- + much more
There is a lot of post-processing software on the market. You may have received a free copy when you bought your camera or used something like photoshop once or twice. After trying many of these software options we recommend using Adobe Lightroom.
Adobe Lightroom is an amazing program that helps you manage the filing and storage of your photos and includes some very powerful and effective editing capabilities.
We also recommend and host workshopd for Adobe Photoshop and the Nik Collection.
If you’re just starting out, take a look into Lightroom. You can’t go wrong.
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