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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:42 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:11 am
Posts: 58
Location: Auckland, NZ
Hi guys,

I took the plunge and starting using RAW about two months ago and so far so good. I wanted to get into my post photo editing as previously I hadn't done any really (I'm relatively new to the whole photography scene!).

Currently I am using Adobe Light room 3 and I'm slowly experimenting (for better and worse at times) with my photos. I'm relatively comfortable using curves, contrast, the basics of the adjustment brush, saturation etc however I must admit I feel a little lost when using Sharpness (amount, radious, detail and masking) and also Clarity. In all honesty I struggle to know the difference between them. Also I heard that previously my images (JPEG) would have automatically been sharpened and now that I'm shooting RAW I need to do this manually myself.

My question is, do I have to do this to every image?? I predominantly take landscape photos and I find it doesn't make too much of a difference unless I was going to blow the photo up bigger than A4 size. Should I not use this function at all? Or should I have a 'go to' adjustment for sharpness and clarity for all of my images regardless? If so, what do you all use? I get the feeling if I was shooting portraits or more 'up close' photography that the level of sharpness would be far more important.

Lastly, what are your views and thoughts on post photo editing and how much is too much? My friend once told me that as a 'rule of thumb' good photos should be made of 80% when you take the photo (framing, DOF and the usual techniques that we use when taking a photo) and the other 20% should be edited. He said if you're editing more than the 20% than you should really focus your efforts on taking better photos initially.

Please see the pictures I took this morning at sunrise by the Manly beach and let me know your thoughts on the before and after (the before being the original JPEG and the after being the edited RAW version -in particular the sharpness, over editing, techniques used and just general thoughts and opinions would be most welcome!)

Thanks,

Richie

Image
IMG_2012_07_08_02258 (2) by twelveichie, on Flickr

Image
Pipes at Sunrise in Manly by twelveichie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_2012_07_08_02198 (2) by twelveichie, on Flickr

Image
Sunday Sunrise in Manly by twelveichie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_2012_07_08_02302 (2) by twelveichie, on Flickr

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Manly on Sunday by twelveichie, on Flickr

Image
IMG_2012_07_08_02276 (2) by twelveichie, on Flickr

Image
South Steyne in Manly at Sunrise by twelveichie, on Flickr

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photography by [ fresh ]
beach, travel & street photography
http://www.facebook.com/photographybyfresh


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:29 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:01 am
Posts: 1164
Location: bit east of Melbourne
I cannot directly answer your sharpness questions with those photos, I find that I tend to see the big improvements in sharpness when focusing on a particular subject, like a bird.
The foreground and background is usually blurred out to some extend and my main focus is to get the subject to look at good as possible. But I am also a bit lazy, shoot raw and jpg and will use the jpg with internal setting of camera such as saturation contrast and sharpness camera if I can get away with it. You can personalise those settings/picture styles.
Skin, skin tones and wildlife, landscape shots can benefit from more or less of those things. ie high sharpnees on a portrait is probably not as beneficial as in a bird photo. Landscape may need more saturation of colours.

Try youtube search on lightroom and sharpening tool, there is a huge amount of info there. you will find guidelines on how to apply it all. look for info on a suggested workflow on how to process photos.

I see you got a 60D , have you installed canon DPP from the cd that came with the camera?
If you haven`t I suggest you install it, then grab the latest version off dpp and install over the top of it and use it to have a look at some raw photos and tweak the raw tool palette. There is a useful help file there and its all free.

oh and often its noise reduction that makes a big difference. The sensor in the 60D, same as 7D that I have, often benefits from that a bit.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:36 am
Posts: 620
Location: Toronto, ON
Your mileage may vary, but I tend to stick with a clarity setting around 11, and sharpness around 90 (all other sharpness settings at default). Viewing before and after images allows one to see just how extensively you've edited your shots and I can tell you that it definitely looks like you took the clarity up too high on the landscape ones... it's created an almost HDR-like appearance in the horizon lines and within the clouds, and it isn't appealing to me (it's the halo effect).

The 80/20 rule sounds pretty good... I like to try and keep my editing to a minimum and tend to only work with the contrast in the image, adding vignettes where needed or restoring actual physical vignettes produced by the lenses. Black and white conversions often require additional tweaking, so I'd say the ratio there would be about 70/30 shooting/editing. Of course, it ultimately comes down to how you saw the image in your head when it was shot and how much editing it takes to "get there" with the final product.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:31 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:11 am
Posts: 58
Location: Auckland, NZ
Maxx, thanks for your feedback. I have the CD somewhere, so I will dig it out and install it and have a play!

Plymer, thanks for your feedback too. Yes I can see what you mean with the 'Halo' effect, I think the saturation levels are too high or something and will keep an eye on that particularly with my landscapes where the sun is coming through!

Much appreciated guys!

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photography by [ fresh ]
beach, travel & street photography
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:24 am
Posts: 1819
I'm only a relatively recent convert to Lightroom 3 - using it mainly for it's advantages in:

Handling large number of files - i.e. after shooting an event. Then managing the images, rating, and exporting
Exporting as smaller resolution .jpg files for later uploading to Facebook and other social media
Synch - very useful if you're shooting under the same lighting conditions, and want to apply adjustments to many images
Cropping - far quicker and easier

It's therefore fitted into my workflow and I always use it as the first stage in processing files. I'd definitely concur with your use of RAW files though - it gives you far more headway when processing, and you can easily adjust white balance etc after the fact.

Anything relating to further processing and then I step into Photoshop from a Tiff file created in Lightroom. I just feel it's easier for layers, masks, plug ins etc.

Sharpening is generally the last thing in my workflow, so I tend to do that in Photoshop, unless I'm exporting smaller res files for upload. Photoshop gives me more control when selectively sharpening.

That's the way I do it personally. Clarity - don't really touch it.

With your sunset shots, maybe look into using the graduated neutral density adjustment in LR3 to bring back some detail in the sky and add a little more punch to the clouds - just a thought.

My eyes have now recovered from the selective colour boats shot - phew!!! ;-)


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