Post Processing How-to

Discussion in 'Photography Forum' started by JuniorMC8704, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. JuniorMC8704

    JuniorMC8704 Super Moderator R2R Supporter

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    Post Processing (RAW and JPEG)

    Preface:

    Here you will find a few basic steps to getting the corals in your pictures to look the way they do in your tank.

    As always, there is always room for change. These are the simple steps I take to get my pictures looking their best.

    NOTE: RAW files MUST be processed. When you shoot in JPEG, your camera is automatically enhancing your photo with sharpening, saturation, exposure etc.

    Don’t listen to people who tell you that using photoshop is cheating. It is absolutely required for RAW shooting, and white balancing is also ALWAYS needed for JPEG pics.

    CLICK ON ALL PHOTOS FOR FULL RESOLUTION FOR EASIER VIEWING

    Processing RAW Files

    Step One: Adobe Camera Raw

    Open Photoshop Elements (or CS) as normal.

    Open a RAW file. Depending on the manufacturer of your camera, they may be called something else, i.e. Nikon uses the suffix .NEF.

    Upon opening the file, you will notice a second screen opens. This is the Camera RAW screen, were most of the adjustments can be made.

    This is what Camera RAW looks like.

    [​IMG]

    Step Two: White Balance

    This is a very simple step. As seen in the picture below, there is an “eye dropper†icon in the upper left of the screen (3rd from the left to be exact).

    Select the eye dropper, and then click on a white section (or 18% grey) of the photo. This will automatically adjust the white balance, and tint.

    I tend to dial back the white balance to 20,000 K. Most will max out the slider at 50,000 K, and this can lead to detail loss from over exposure. Both are very close.

    White balance is not all set.

    [​IMG]

    Step Three: Exposure and Blacks

    I group these two sliders together because one has such an impact on another.

    I find that more times than not the exposure needs to be brought down a step or two. However before I do that, I add around 5 % Black. This deepens the blacks, and by default, makes the colors a little more true and bold.

    If the exposure is still too much, I will then reduce it until detail is more visible in the high lights. Keep in mind, that if the picture is too over exposed, you will not be able to recover the details within the highlights.

    [​IMG]

    Step Four: Cropping

    I like to make my pictures for web use 700 x 500 px, at 100 px per inch.

    This basically makes a 5 x 7 photo, which is big enough to view easily on most forums, and small enough to load fast. I find it the perfect size for most applications. If you do not reduce the resolution of the original image, the next step will appear to make no changes to the photo.

    [​IMG]

    Here is what it looks like cropped and magnified to 1:1. When you first crop the photo, it will remain at the smaller percentage of magnification. Bring it up to 1:1 so you can see what you are doing.

    [​IMG]

    Step Five: Sharpening

    This is a very important step. This makes and breaks photos, so make sure this step is not skipped.

    Now that your photo is cropped down to a manageable size, go to the “enhance†menu.

    [​IMG]

    Next select “Unsharp Mask.â€

    How much sharpening is needed can only be decided by you. I generally find 80 – 100 to be ideal. Sometimes more, sometimes less, it all depends on the subject. You’ll know you’ve gone way too far if you start seeing white artifacts all over the photo in the black areas.

    [​IMG]

    Step Six: Save for Web

    Almost done.

    Go to “File†and select “Save for webâ€

    [​IMG]

    Now the “Save for web†menu will pop up. There are a few changes you need to make before saying “okâ€. Most of these changes you will only have to make the first time you use this feature.

    Under the presets, change “GIF†to “JPEGâ€

    Change quality to 100.

    Click “OKâ€

    [​IMG]

    Save your picture to whatever file you want, and you are DONE!
     
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  2. JuniorMC8704

    JuniorMC8704 Super Moderator R2R Supporter

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    Here is a Comparison Shot of the original RAW file and the processed one.

    Before
    [​IMG]

    After
    [​IMG]

    Processing JPEG Files
    Everything for JPEG images are pretty much done for you. You Still want to crop your images, adjust sharpness etc…

    The main thing that needs to be done, is WHITE BALANCE.

    To set WHITE BALANCE for JPEG images go to:

    ENHANCE ==> ADJUST LIGHTING ==> LEVELS

    Here you will see 3 eye droppers. Select the white eye dropper, and click on a white area in the photo.

    Your photo is not white balanced.

    Notes

    1. Shoot in RAW whenever you can. It is much easier to get the results you want in Camera Raw.
    2. An out of focus picture will not look sharp no matter how much you “sharpen†it.
    3. If you are shooting actinic only shots, take a look at your tank, and then your screen. Adjust the white balance only enough to make it accurate. If you go all the way to 20k that’s what you’re going to get, and it wont look any different than it did with all lights on.
    4. As always, HAVE FUN!

    If you have any further questions, please feel free to PM me.

    Im not sure why a couple of the screen shots are smaller but you can get the idea.
     
    pilot108 and ngvu1 like this.
  3. Reef Pets

    Reef Pets Bioprospector

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    Great information! I only wish I could take a quality picture to start the process with. I sell a lot of coral therefore all of my pictures are top down shots. I have practiced and practiced a little more! They never seem to be in focus very well therefore I lose the great details. I have a Canon Rebel Xti and just got an awesome Induro tripod. The next upgrade will be a Canon 100mm Macro lens. I now have a Canon 18-55mm macro lens.
    I have looked over all of the threads about photography that you have listed and have tried what you recommend, I just suck at taking pictures!
    Thanks again for the great information.
     
  4. JuniorMC8704

    JuniorMC8704 Super Moderator R2R Supporter

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    its all about the macro lens.

    You will be blown away the difference it makes.

    It would be like loosing my thumbs without it.
     
  5. Reef Pets

    Reef Pets Bioprospector

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    It makes that big of a difference? I have no problem spending the money on a macro lens. The only thing that has held me up from getting the Canon 100mm Macro lens is that I am affraid that I would still be taking the same quality photos that I am now but out $500.00.
    It would be a huge upgrade from a Canon 18-55mm f/2.8 to a Canon 100mm f/2.8?
    I have researched the information but its nice to hear the true opinion of someone that has used a higher end macro lens along with a lower end macro lens.
    Thanks again!
     
  6. JuniorMC8704

    JuniorMC8704 Super Moderator R2R Supporter

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    it doesnt work like that. It a totally different ball of wax. The lenses have different magnification ratios. Your current lens is probably 1:3.something, and the macro lens with 1:1. You can literally be 3 inches from the coral versus several feet away.

    I can explain in more detail tomorrow, my brain is fried for the night.
     
  7. Reef Pets

    Reef Pets Bioprospector

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    You are correct. I checked my lens and it is a 1:3.5 - 5.6. With the lens that I have I can focus at about 9 inches from the coral. The lens states macro 0.28m/0.9ft. But again it never shows great detail.

    I completely understand! You have posted a lot of information tonight......
     
  8. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Bret

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    reefer, the macro lens will make you SOOOO FLIPPIN happy. trust me. i just got the tamron 90 mm f2.8 a couple weeks ago (it's a 3rd party rival of the canon 100 mm), and there is no explaining how much better it is. a little bit of playing around, reading junior, poseidon and a few other's stickies, and you'll be taking pics worthy of framing in no time :haha:

    trust me. you're not going to feel like you're out 500 (canon did have a rebate, and the tamron has a $90 rebate till 12/2008). you're going to wish you had done this sooner!
     
  9. Reef Pets

    Reef Pets Bioprospector

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    Sounds great! One final question..... I have looked into the Canon 100mm Macro lenses. If its a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens then is it the same as all Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lenses?
    I am asking because some say that the magnification is 1:1 and the minimum focus distance is 5.9 inches.
    Other say that the magnification is 1:2.8 and the minimum focus distance is 12 inches.
    The price is the the same for both lenses or within 10.00 or so.
    Probably not the correct thread to be asking these questions........
     
  10. duece bigilo

    duece bigilo Member

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    I second this, i got my tamron 90mm about a week ago and what an improvement. you wont regret getting a true macro lens.

    excellent write up Junior
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  11. Poseidon

    Poseidon Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Reefer- The numbers 1:3.5-5.6 refer to the aperture of the lens, not it's macro ability. So the lens that you have, is not the 17-55 2.8IS, it is the "standard" kit lens, YES if you buy a true macro lens, you will so a HUGE difference. Basically the LENS is 90% of your picture, the camera body can only record what it sees through the lens...

    Awesome Sticky Jr!!! I can't wait to actually see the pictures. (dial up)
     
  12. JuniorMC8704

    JuniorMC8704 Super Moderator R2R Supporter

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    yes thank you mike. There should be a ratio spec for your lens somewhere on it I believe.

    But in any event, A macro lens will make an enormous difference.

    Junior
     
  13. Reef Pets

    Reef Pets Bioprospector

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    Sounds great! One final question..... I have looked into the Canon 100mm Macro lenses. If its a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens then is it the same as all Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lenses?
    I am asking because some say that the magnification is 1:1 and the minimum focus distance is 5.9 inches.
    Other say that the magnification is 1:2.8 and the minimum focus distance is 12 inches.
    The price is the the same for both lenses or within 10.00 or so.

    I will most likely purchase the lens today. I just want to make sure that the information above is corrct or incorrect. They have the same lens names but seem like different lenses.
    The both of you have help me a lot over the last two month. My pictures have gotten so much better but I still have one thing missing....... Now I have found out that its the lens!
     
  14. Paintguru

    Paintguru In need of tank

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    One comment about macro lenses (JR can correct me if I am wrong here), but for those that have deep (front to back) tanks like I do, make sure you get one of the higher focal length macro lenses. I have a Tamron 90mm, and I have issues reaching (for macro purposes) things that are say 12" from the closest side of the tank. Kinda ruins the whole macro experience :).
     
  15. JuniorMC8704

    JuniorMC8704 Super Moderator R2R Supporter

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    Chris I can help you out with one.

    reefer, i assume you are ordering from B&H?

    If so, let me know, and ill verify that you are buying the right lens.

    the big thing is

    USA not imported

    1:1 ratio

    cannon 100mm macro

    the ten $10 is probably the USA and IMPORTED versions.
     
  16. Reef Pets

    Reef Pets Bioprospector

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    That helps a lot! There is a camera shop near by (CORD Cameras) and they have them in stock. CORD Camera is pretty popular and a good reputation in my area. Therefore, I could get it today.
    I will check out CORD cameras website and post the link of the one that they have available.
    I appreciate all of the help guys!
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2008
  17. Reef Pets

    Reef Pets Bioprospector

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  18. JuniorMC8704

    JuniorMC8704 Super Moderator R2R Supporter

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    Yep thats the one. It calls it a telephoto macro because it is terminology for that MM of macro lenses.

    USM is an ultra-sonic motor.

    Just verify somewhere on the lens it says 1:1 and you will be fine.

    BH is cheaper right now with a rebate just so you know. But i understand wanting it today not next week.
     
  19. Reef Pets

    Reef Pets Bioprospector

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    Junior - I appreciate it. I just called and luckly they are offering the rebate in store!! Again, the information has been a great help, cant wait to get it!
     
  20. gparr

    gparr Waterbox Keeper R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award

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    At B&H:
    Canon USA 100 macro: $485, $35 rebate = $450
    Sigma USA 105 macro: $439
    Tamron 90 macro: $450, $90 rebate = $360

    Any of these lenses will deliver quality macro shots.

    Gary
     
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