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I'd like to find out more about enhancing photo's. Not necessarily how to go about learning a photoshop type program, but more along the lines of what types of things you do to make an average photo stand out within the program.

I understand the technical side of taking a photo. I even know a few things about processing film, but with digital cameras and no film, seems to me the processing side would be more along the lines of enhancing an image in Photoshop or other like programs.

I'm curious to know if there are certain things that an average photographer can do on the processing side to improve the quality of an image. 

 

I'm hoping this isn't one of those things professional photographers don't like to divulge because I'd really like to know.

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I guess it just depends on what you're trying to do with the image. I usually use photoshop to adjust lighting and shadows in the image, increase vibrance and/or saturation to make colors pop, and sharpen the photo. If you shoot in RAW format, you can even change the white balance in post-processing.

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Thanks Light_Trails for your reply.

I've been posting my photo's without running them through Photoshop first. 

I think this is a mistake I'll need to remedy in the future. I've been doing some research to get a good idea of the things I can do to improve the final image.

 

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6 hours ago, Scott Gese said:

I'm curious to know if there are certain things that an average photographer can do on the processing side to improve the quality of an image. 

 

In particular order (although adjustments to exposure, shadows, highlights and WB are best done on RAW images or at least in 16 bit mode)

  • Adjust exposure, highlights and shadows
  • Adjust white balance, vibrance, clarity and saturation
  • Correct lens distortion (automatic in LR and PS CC)
  • Level the horizon (where appropriate)
  • Adjust cropping (where appropriate)
  • Adjust converging verticals (according to taste)
  • Remove any CA (chromatic aberration) and dust spots or anything that could look like dust (both essential for Alamy)
  • Reduce vignetting
  • Remove noise
  • Downsize if needed to ensure image is adequately sharp when viewed at 100%  - NB. images must be over 6 megapixels (approx) for Alamy
  • Clone out litter (where appropriate)

The list goes on...

 

Mark

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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You have no business selling images on Alamy if you don't know how to adjust an image in an editing programme.  Apologies if that seems harsh but this site isn't a platform to learn photography...

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I use Lightroom rather than Photoshop which is a programme specifically for photographers (unlike Photoshop) and, I think easier to learn how to use. You can setup a basic editing preset which can be automatically applied to all photos on import, then tweak each if needed. Watch You Tube videos to learn all it can do.

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3 hours ago, Scott Gese said:

Thanks Light_Trails for your reply.

I've been posting my photo's without running them through Photoshop first. 

I think this is a mistake I'll need to remedy in the future. I've been doing some research to get a good idea of the things I can do to improve the final image.

 

Yes, I think you are going to need to process photos properly if you want them to stand out from the crowd as many of them look dull and flat. Also, don’t bother with the textured background type stuff as it’s unlikely to sell here.

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There is no real overall advice to give, every image needs individual attention. As Sally says you need to make them stand out from the crowd. Some of your images seem a little flat, others lacking in saturation and others a bit dull in important shadow areas.

Practice different processing on images to see what you like best. There is no 100% right way, everybody will have a slightly different take on the overall look of any given image.

 

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Although I have never processed a film in my life - and would not know how to if you handed me one - I see that general post-processing on a RAW image is the same as you would do one a film negative - using a computer rather than vats of solution.  So if you load your RAW file into, say Lightroom, (as said above designed for photography and intended to be a virtual lightroom) and look at it as you would your negative (Lightroom does not make any changes to that image) then use the sliders etc to produce what you would want a print from that negative  to look like, then hit export and it will produce a jpeg (or another format if so set) that is the equivalent of the print from the negative - and it is this "print" that you are sending to Alamy.
 

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I'm afraid I agree with Andy, Scott. This is not a place to learn basic Post Processing. Good luck.

 

Edo

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Adobe has a lot of good videos.  I use Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) for post processing but others use Lightroom.  Same programs when it comes to post processing, but Lightroom has a file management system as well.

 

Look for videos on those two programs and start from the basics.  ACR works in conjunction with PS, whereas Lightroom is a stand alone program. Adobe also has an event called Photoshop Week.  It's usually in February and if you watch live its free.  I learned a lot from those videos.

 

Jill

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Scott,

 

While I agree with Andy and Edo and I do have a degree in journalism.

I've read much worse posts than yours.

 

There are many recourses to know what is acceptable for processing

digital images for "NEWS."  If you are not fluent in PS and LR, I doubt 

that you are doing NEWS.  Stock is another story.

 

If you really want to know what is acceptable for processing images

try to get your hands on a Reuters handbook or the Associated Press

(AP) handbook,  guidelines should also be available online.  In terms of 

processing "STOCK" images for ALAMY the guidelines are all available

on alamy.com

 

Chuck

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I'm entirely self-taught in digital imaging, so that's all I can recommend, except to say that your best single improvement would be to start shooting in RAW. There is much more scope for processing than with jpegs. For example, an overexposed sky- and you seem to have a few of those- is all but gone in jpeg, just like a colour slide, whereas you can usually recover a lot of detail in RAW,  a bit like a negative.

As Sally says, LR can be set up to do some of the heavy lifting for you. But exactly what to do- that's something we've all had to invest time and money in learning, and we don't all share it for free. Over time you will come to recognise what has been done to an image yourself.

As Chuck says, it's common sense that you shouldn't alter news images, certainly no more than you would have done when making a b/w print. Some of the Reuters guidelines seem to be even more restrictive than that.

Edited by spacecadet

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Mark?

 

I assumed that Scott was not asking about "shooting images"

but prepping or enhancing them?  I may be wrong.

 

Chuck

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7 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Mark?

 

I assumed that Scott was not asking about "shooting images"

but prepping or enhancing them?  I may be wrong.

 

Chuck

Mark did say shooting in RAW is the way to go, better for processing so he's on the ball with the way the thread is going.

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If Light_Trails reads this far, you should not be sharpening your photos for Alamy. The end user will apply their own sharpening and hence Alamy asks that we do not sharpen. 

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22 minutes ago, Colin Woods said:

If Light_Trails reads this far, you should not be sharpening your photos for Alamy. The end user will apply their own sharpening and hence Alamy asks that we do not sharpen. 

The only proviso being that LR applies a default 25 sharpen to RAWs. This is acceptable and necessary IMO.

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3 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

If Light_Trails reads this far, you should not be sharpening your photos for Alamy. The end user will apply their own sharpening and hence Alamy asks that we do not sharpen. 

 

Most RAW files will require some import sharpening in LR, But do not apply export sharpening. They are two different things.

 

Allan

 

 

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5 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

If Light_Trails reads this far, you should not be sharpening your photos for Alamy. The end user will apply their own sharpening and hence Alamy asks that we do not sharpen. 

+1

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6 hours ago, spacecadet said:

The only proviso being that LR applies a default 25 sharpen to RAWs. This is acceptable and necessary IMO.

6 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

If Light_Trails reads this far, you should not be sharpening your photos for Alamy. The end user will apply their own sharpening and hence Alamy asks that we do not sharpen. 

 

It used to be that Alamy stated no sharpening at all but, unless things have changed recently, this guidance changed a few years ago to no excessive sharpening or similar. In reality many people were sharpening anyway by downsizing images (a very effective method), using the Clarity control or simply uploading in-camera jpegs that had been sharpened anyway.

 

I recall the time when we had to have 48MB images that had to often be upsized anyway and they often did not look really sharp from unsharpened D700 36MB files but the assumption for me was that QC took this into account and that they would certainly be sharpenable by the client. I have loads of images that I never uploaded because of fear of failing QC but they would have no problem passing nowadays at 17MB.

 

Lightroom default is now amount 40 not 25 - changed last year some time I think. There is no one size fits all in any case. This is just a guideline. Sharpness depends on the camera, lens and photographer and the screen used for viewing to name a few variables. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MDM
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53 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

It used to be that Alamy stated no sharpening at all but, unless things have changed recently, this guidance changed a few years ago to no excessive sharpening or similar. In reality many people were sharpening anyway by downsizing images (a very effective method), using the Clarity control or simply uploading in-camera jpegs that had been sharpened anyway.

 

I recall the time when we had to have 48MB images that had to often be upsized anyway and they often did not look really sharp from unsharpened D700 36MB files but the assumption for me was that QC took this into account and that they would certainly be sharpenable by the client. I have loads of images that I never uploaded because of fear of failing QC but they would have no problem passing nowadays at 17MB.

 

Lightroom default is now amount 40 not 25 - changed last year some time I think. There is no one size fits all in any case. This is just a guideline. Sharpness depends on the camera, lens and photographer and the screen used for viewing to name a few variables. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, "no excessive sharpening" appears to be the new mantra. I do very little in the way of sharpening, generally none at all other than downsizing. I'm using DxO OpticsPro for processing RAW images, and their lens modules automatically do some corrections for lens softness. They seem to do a decent job. However, I'll sometimes add a little extra selective sharpening if necessary. I think that most end-users can decide whether or not they need to further sharpen an image or just leave it alone.

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13 hours ago, MDM said:

 

 

 

Lightroom default is now amount 40 not 25 - changed last year some time I think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm still using 5.2, but for me I think 40 would be excessive for everyday use, unless the effect is different in the latest process.

I only go that far for the odd image I really like.

Edited by spacecadet

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23 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

I'm still using 5.2, but for me I think 40 would be excessive for everyday use, unless the effect is different in the latest process.

I only go that far for the odd image I really like.

Yes, I am using LR 6.14 and default is 25. What I use unless there is a specific reason to increase.

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I do sometimes wonder...

I have been doing a number of cycle trips through this fair country I call home and I have spent some time assessing the competition. Which is less in this so-called "saturated market" than I had anticipated. What is saturated are many of the images I do come across, especially on a couple of the other sales channels. And I think to myself, crikey that looks more like Tellytubbyland or Hobbiton than any place I have seen... then again I look at threads people post of what they are selling and I see the same uber-saturated colours. Maybe I should be getting a bit more zealous with my sliders.

There is also a trend here for "gritty" style portraits. Not really my taste, but then again... those are the ones which are selling...

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