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Thread: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

  1. #101
    Expert PDBreske's Avatar
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashraam View Post
    I have some questions, if you don't mind.

    Several times you've mentioned using a certain amount of photo editing during the "post production" of your photos. I know that's fairly commonplace in modern photography, but I'm curious just how prevalent it is.

    Is it pretty much a given that you need to have a working knowledge of photo-editing software to produce a "professional" looking picture? For instance, how many "untouched" photos would a photographer be carrying around in his portfolio? Obviously the famous photographers of the past didn't have access to the same tools we do today. It makes me wonder how often you can get that "perfect" shot that just can't be improved upon with a little editing.

    All other things being equal (framing, lighting, etc) it seems like it would be hard for a natural photo to compete with one that has been tweaked to get just the right colors etc. I think most of us have seen pictures that look better than reality, even in shots like landscapes that are supposedly nature at her finest.

    On a related note; have you ever messed around with HDR pictures? I've seen some amazing things done with HDR photography. I think they seem to work best when used to create a specific mood, especially in B&W. On the other hand, it seems like a LOT of photographers are like a kid with a new toy and go far overboard with it.

    Thanks again for your time, Phil. I'm enjoying this thread a great deal!
    Excellent questions. First of all, I agree that a lot of HDR images are overdone and I agree that it's probably due to the novelty of the new technology. I've seen a lot of HDR shots in which it's hard to tell the difference between shadows and highlights. (Interestingly, my iPhone 4 has a HDR feature in the camera and it works pretty well on its own!) Other than the iPhone, I have never even experimented with HDR. To this point I've only bracketed my exposures and picked the best single frame to work on.

    As far as editing goes, I would say that no image in any professional's portfolio is "untouched." It might be as simple as a crop and contrast adjustment or as complex as spot removal, skin smoothing, dodging and burning highlights and shadows, or even adding or removing major elements of the photo (though the latter would usually fall under the heading of digital compositing). A certain amount of processing is expected and encouraged at all levels of experience and skill—there are just too many unpredictable variables that can only be remedied in post. If you browse the many photography forums on the internet you'll find plenty of instances where the shooter will share an image with this description: "This is just how it came out of the camera with minor tweaks to the contrast." It seems to me (and, apparently, every other photographer out there) that there is no such thing as a perfect exposure. It can always be "better."

    Modern editing software makes it a lot easier to do what needs to be done. Adobe Photoshop was the first real editing powerhouse, but it has become so powerful and so expensive that few photographers use it for anything less than major compositing jobs. And for those jobs it can't be beat, but it really is overkill for photographic needs. Applications like Lightroom or Aperture were designed by and for photographers to do just what they need and not much more. Because they are so focused (pun ... sorry) on simulating the processes found in the darkroom, they are fast and efficient. Really fast and efficient. For years I used Photoshop and Adobe Camera RAW to edit photos and Apple's iPhoto to catalog the results. It was painful and my absolute least favorite part of the photography process. Then Apple released Aperture and it was like a weight was taken from my shoulders. What used to take days or weeks could now be done in hours. All the time saved could now be used for creative processing instead of painstaking nit-picks that seem to take forever.

    It's true that pre-digital masters didn't have the same tools we have today, but it's a common misconception that they would print the images as they came out of the camera. Ansel Adams would spend hours dodging and burning details into his prints. He would make careful notes on these adjustments so he could repeat them on future prints. If he had access to the digital tools we now take for granted I would say he'd be the biggest proponent of their use.

    I looked around and found an example of what I would call moderate processing. The first image is the original RAW file with no adjustments of any kind. The second is the final version.



    Here's what I did:
    • Retouched seven different dust spots, vapor trails, and lens flares from the clear areas of the sky.
    • 0.6 degree rotation to fix awkward angle of the ferris wheel structure.
    • Small crop adjustment for better composition.
    • Chromatic aberration adjustment for the lens I was using (my 17-35mm zoom exhibits some CA at the corners).
    • Exposure adjusted and saturation enhanced.
    • Tweak the overall tonal adjustment and shadow details.
    • Sharpened the edge details (hard to see at this resolution).



    On its own, the original isn't a bad photo (not my best work, but I needed to use something for this example and it was recent and easy), but it didn't convey the vibrance and emotion of a carnival ride. I wanted the whites to "pop" a little more, the colors a little brighter. The sky elements were nothing more than distractions, so they had to go. All of the adjustments I made to this photo took about two minutes in Aperture. It wouldn't take much more than that in Photoshop, but making the same adjustments in a hundred similar photos takes two mouse clicks in Aperture. In PS it would take an additional two minutes for each image and that shit gets old quick.

    In the end it's not about making a picture look better, but about sharing with your audience the emotions that you felt when you viewed the scene, unencumbered by the limitations of "reality."
    Long before I started hemorrhaging money for guns, I was spending like crazy on photo gear....
    Click here to visit my photography web site.

    "Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence." - Richard Dawkins

  2. #102
    Rifleman Drakhen's Avatar
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    Quote Originally Posted by PDBreske View Post
    It wouldn't take much more than that in Photoshop, but making the same adjustments in a hundred similar photos takes two mouse clicks in Aperture. In PS it would take an additional two minutes for each image and that shit gets old quick.
    Did you know you can use the history settings and set up a macro in PS that can automate that for you?

  3. #103
    Expert PDBreske's Avatar
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    Quote Originally Posted by Drakhen View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PDBreske View Post
    It wouldn't take much more than that in Photoshop, but making the same adjustments in a hundred similar photos takes two mouse clicks in Aperture. In PS it would take an additional two minutes for each image and that shit gets old quick.
    Did you know you can use the history settings and set up a macro in PS that can automate that for you?
    Yes, but it's still a lot faster to use the Lift & Stamp tools in Aperture, and PS isn't a non-destructive editor. And multiple versions of an image in Photoshop each use as much disk space as the original, whereas a dozen versions in Aperture are only a dozen sets of database changes to the master file. For a photographer, Aperture or Lightroom is better in every way. PS is more powerful, to be sure, but most people will only use less than ten percent of that power, and I don't think that's enough to justify the pricetag ($600+). Aperture is now only $80 through the new Mac App Store and that might as well be free for all it can do. It really is an amazing tool.
    Long before I started hemorrhaging money for guns, I was spending like crazy on photo gear....
    Click here to visit my photography web site.

    "Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence." - Richard Dawkins

  4. #104
    Marksman Ashraam's Avatar
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    Thanks for the informative answer, Phil!

    Even with the small amount of changes shown in your examples, there is no contest between the two images.

    After I get the basics down I'll have to look at learning the editing tricks.
    "Thank you for helping us help you help us all."

  5. #105
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    Hey Phil!
    Newbie to the forum here, but I am VERY much impressed with your eye for beauty, in everything! If you ever get out to Northern California, get in touch, we have some absolutely breathtaking scenery! Like another poster here said, our collection of village idiots make the laws, but this state has some of the most amazing scenery around, not to mention pretty decent weather.

    Thanks for all the photos and advice you're sharing!!!

    :tiphat:
    Illegitimus non Carborendum

  6. #106
    Expert PDBreske's Avatar
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    Quote Originally Posted by copter976 View Post
    Hey Phil!
    Newbie to the forum here, but I am VERY much impressed with your eye for beauty, in everything! If you ever get out to Northern California, get in touch, we have some absolutely breathtaking scenery! Like another poster here said, our collection of village idiots make the laws, but this state has some of the most amazing scenery around, not to mention pretty decent weather.

    Thanks for all the photos and advice you're sharing!!!

    :tiphat:
    I know! I'm torn on the idea of visiting California. On one hand, I know the natural scenery is amazing and the state probably has the highest per capita population of hot young models, but those gun laws piss me off and make me not want to spend a dime in that economy. We'll see how I feel when I start driving around. It might be too big an opportunity to pass up.

    Thanks for the invitation!
    Long before I started hemorrhaging money for guns, I was spending like crazy on photo gear....
    Click here to visit my photography web site.

    "Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence." - Richard Dawkins

  7. #107
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    Hey Phil --

    MORE PICS, LESS TYPING.

    ;D


    (srsly tho, thanks for the great info.)

  8. #108
    Expert PDBreske's Avatar
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    Quote Originally Posted by hoppes-no9 View Post
    Hey Phil --

    MORE PICS, LESS TYPING.

    ;D


    (srsly tho, thanks for the great info.)
    Hehee. I'll get some new ones up tomorrow morning.
    Long before I started hemorrhaging money for guns, I was spending like crazy on photo gear....
    Click here to visit my photography web site.

    "Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence." - Richard Dawkins

  9. #109
    XCR Guru MickeyC's Avatar
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    Hey, PB, PM me your rates. I'm up in Orlando and might want to give you a shout to do some family pictures.
    Semper in excremento sum, solum profunditas mutat. 'Always in the shit, only the depth varies'

    The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.... Margaret Thatcher,

    Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
    Mahatma Gandhi

  10. #110
    Expert PDBreske's Avatar
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    Re: Phil's Photo Thread (NSFW)

    PM sent.

    More pictures uploaded:

    Julie is a mix of French and black parents. I have to say it's a pretty good mix! The only problem was that she was so shy about being topless that she was cupping her breasts the entire time she was in the studio. It was actually kind of funny how worried she was that I might see something even when I wasn't shooting. (Most models have no problems getting naked for a costume change right out in the open, including on a public sidewalk on Miami Beach!) She also had some skin peeling from a bad sunburn earlier in the week, but I was able to minimize how much of that you can see with angles and lighting. So, not the most professional model I've ever worked with, but certainly not the worst-looking one, either.










    Long before I started hemorrhaging money for guns, I was spending like crazy on photo gear....
    Click here to visit my photography web site.

    "Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence." - Richard Dawkins

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