<<< o >>>untitled #116 13 comments + add yours

One of the key things I try to get across in my teaching is that it's a mistake to think of post-production as something that just comes after you take a shot. In a literal sense of course it's clearly something that occurs later – you can't post-produce a shot that doesn't exist – but, in terms of the photographic process as a whole, a better understanding of what's possible during post-production can change the way you shoot.

This image is a good example. It was taken during my Creating Dramatic Images workshop in Austin, and while the original has virtually no intrinsic merit, the final version is a lot more interesting. From a purist's point of view then, the shot wasn't worth taking: it's dull, flat, and uninteresting. With the addition of a few masked curves, a big boost in saturation, and some detail enhancement using Topaz Detail, it's considerably improved. In other words then, because I could evaluate the original scene and visualise how it could look, I knew the shot was worth taking, and while it's not going to win any awards, it is a good illustration of this point :)

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
image editor
plugins (etc)
12.57pm on 6/2/10
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
aperture priority
Camera Raw
Photoshop CS5
Topaz Detail
3x2 + travel [USA] + abstract + show the original + urban
comment by Simon Jenkins at 03:19 PM (GMT) on 16 February, 2011

Amazing transformation Dave, you would not guess that detail was there.

comment by Carlos Garcia at 03:21 PM (GMT) on 16 February, 2011

Well done Picasso! Nice abstract and an amazing example of artistic vision.

comment by Dan Kaufman at 03:49 PM (GMT) on 16 February, 2011

I agree with your position that "seeing the (potential) image in your mind's eye" is key to a successful image. I find myself looking for the underlying detail in a scene knowing I can bring it out or change its contribution to the story "in post."

well done David.

comment by Helder Ferreira at 03:55 PM (GMT) on 16 February, 2011

Great transformation!!! :)

comment by Justin Photis at 04:46 PM (GMT) on 16 February, 2011

Such a difference that at first I thought you'd added a texture to the original during your processing. How did you manage to get so much detail out of the shot ? even with Topaz I'd have thought it would be difficult.

comment by djn1 at 06:45 PM (GMT) on 16 February, 2011

Simon: shots like this always have a lot of detail, it's just a question of teasing it out :)

Carlos and Helder: thanks.

Dan: it's not always completely necessary, but it definitely helps with shots like this.

Justin: the major adjustment for this one was a curve. The detail is there, but a lot of it shares the same narrow tonal range. Once you up the contrast, the detail becomes much more apparent.

comment by Dave Wilson at 06:57 PM (GMT) on 16 February, 2011

This image illustrates beautifully the power of the techniques you taught during the workshop. It's hard to believe that you could pull that much colour, texture and contrast out of the original that you started with! Beautifully done!

comment by Cristian Tibirna at 11:55 PM (GMT) on 16 February, 2011

Very well premeditated, indeed!

comment by Randy Romano at 09:41 PM (GMT) on 17 February, 2011

I find post production on images is amazing as to what you can bring out in ordinary images. As long as the image is well composed and exposed the magic you can add is mind boggling. The only aspect of post production I find difficult is the time needed. Guess I still like the processs of making images in the field better.


comment by djn1 at 11:45 AM (GMT) on 18 February, 2011

Thanks everyone :)

comment by LightningPaul at 05:23 PM (GMT) on 18 February, 2011

I like it :-)

comment by djib at 09:01 AM (GMT) on 21 February, 2011

Wow, your processing really is mind blowing. You bring out so many details!

comment by James Howe at 02:27 AM (GMT) on 1 March, 2011

I love the transformation of this image from as shot to final image. The processing really brings out the color and texture and yields a much stronger pattern.