If you are passionate about photography, you will certainly dedicate time to the Post Production of your shots.
So here are some quick tips based on my personal experience as a professional photographer.
Shoot in RAW format
Digital cameras can shoot in different formats including the most common, and unfortunately most used, is undoubtedly the JPEG.
It should be known that the JPEG format is nothing other than the photo processed, ie post produced, by the camera itself which will then decide the parameters, the light, the color and so on.
The RAW format, on the other hand, is the original photo and if at first glance it seems much more “dull” than the JPEG format, it actually contains much more information that can then be processed in PP as photographer wants.
In addition, the RAW format will always keep the same information and it will always be possible to return to the original. The JPEG format, on the other hand, is bound to deteriorate over time, meaning it will lose detail.
This is why it is advisable to shoot in the RAW format, but obviously this requires a knowledge of the equipment and, at least, of the basic notions of photography.
Study your PP program
It doesn’t matter which program you have decided to use, whether free or paid, simple or complicated: on the net, and in particular on YouTube, you will ALWAYS find tutorials that will explain how it works and some tricks.
Spend some time following these videos, you will find yourself after greatly streamlining the PP process.
Let your shots rest
Let’s face it: when we return from a trip, a vacation, a family party, an event or a day of photo hunting, we all die of the desire to see and work on our shots. Personally, I recommend waiting, letting the shots rest, especially if taken on the same day. Why?
Because we are still taken by our emotions, by everything we have experienced, felt, and that developed around the shot itself; and this could affect our PP.
We must understand that those who see our shots cannot breathe the air we breathed, the smells, the silence, the emotions we experienced, but we must be the ones trying to transmit them, to let them dive in our photography.
That’s why, detaching ourselves from our emotions and memories can help us work on the photo in a more impartial and, I think, more careful way.
Let your eyes rest
I assure you that if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer working on photos, your perception of colours will gradually change … for the worse.
In practice, the more we are working on the computer, the more we will begin to see staggered colours and, therefore, we will be led to accentuate them until they are hyper-saturated and therefore unreal.
Personally, every 40-50 minutes of PP, I take at least 10 minutes of break from any screen, that is to say even the mobile phone: I change room, I go to the balcony, I look out from the window, or I just rest. In practice I rest my eyes and, often, when I come back, I realize that something is wrong about the photo.
Once I have worked on all the shots, which sometimes takes 4 or 5 hours, I put them aside and then come back in the following days making sure they are ok.
Arm yourself with patience
It takes a lot, as in all things, if you want to get good results.
Check the smallest details, the crop, the spots caused by dirt on the lens, the angle: it is often these details that make the difference!
What is the point of working on a shot and not realizing, for example, that the sea is not straight? Or that you have cut off a hand of the groom, the bachelor or your partner?
Quality not quantity
A common mistake that is made when you start to become familiar with the PP, is not to think too much about the quality of the shot because “we will fix it later”.
The PP helps a lot, it is true, but it does not work miracles and, above all, it does not replace a shot that could have been much better if only we had prepared and thought about it a few more minutes.
Plus, taking hundreds of shots and then picking the best ones will only take us a lot of extra work and confusion.
On the other end, however, it must be said that even the shots that we are unable to perfect now, maybe we would be able to process them in the future, and in a much more satisfactory way, when we would have even more knowledge of the PP program we use now, or of that which we will use in the future.
Every now and then go back to the old shots, you will realize that they can still give you a lot.
Create your own style
Take other photographers as an example, look at the shots of others to find inspiration, but don’t copy, as there are already millions and millions of pictures all the same around.
And if sometimes this is inevitable, especially when you go to the most famous photographic places, at least try to stand out for some details, for a different perspective.
I know photographers who have photos of others on their phones and who try to find the exact same situation, a sort of copy and paste. What does it mean?
Important is, then, our brand, the one that distinguishes us from others, the style that makes our photos recognized among all the others. Style we can develop in PP.
Here, these were some quick tips on Post Production.
Of course, the discussion is much broader and different for each of us, depending on what we want to get from our shots, if we want them just for us or to show them to some friends, or if we want to share them and be appreciated on different platforms, or , again, if we want to make photography our job.
I personally use these three programs for my PP:
- Adobe Lightroom (paid monthly, price depends according to the plan and other Adobe products you choose to use): very useful for cataloging photos thanks to keywords (tags), and for the ability to make basic adjustments.
- Nik Collection (when I downloaded it was free, now €149): 8 different programs that allow you to work in a different way on the photo, from definition and sharpening to noise reduction, from B&W to retro and analog effects, from preparation for printing to loads of filters for every type of photography. Very useful, I personally use Color Efex regularly for my landscape and forest photos. The time to devote to PP has significantly decreased.
- Topaz Denoise ($79.99 annually): the only program that I use of all those made available by Topaz, all for a fee, it is truly miraculous in reducing noise and increasing the definition of the shot. I use it especially for wildlife photos, it reduced the work I was doing before with LR or Nik Collection to a few seconds, giving me even better results.
I use these programs on a MacBook Pro Retina 15″, very performing when compared to previous Windows laptops that made the PP endless. Sure, it costs, but it’s a great investment: I’ve been using it for 4 years without any problems.
For the PP on the mobile I use Snapseed instead: fast, easy to use and excellent for photos to post on IG; but even here there are soo many others.
Hope you enjoyed this article.
Please let me know what you think and, above all, if you want me to deepen some advice or if you have any questions for me.