Post-processing is as old as photography itself. In the B&W era, there were a whole lot of corrections or enhancements done during the developing and printing stage. It was almost like shooting the picture all over again. In colour era, we often took pictures but found out that the prints look nothing like what you had set the camera for. The printing machine and the person operating it did exactly what we nowadays do with software – processing.
The digital era is often associated with post-processing, but all it has done is bring processing within reach of everyone. Whether you have expensive editing tools, or basic free applications, all images can benefit from varying degrees of editing. All those time-consuming and often secret processes are now within our reach.
Some people go overboard with processing, ending up with images that look like cheap posters on sale in the market, with extra-blue skies and trees as green as the earth has never seen. Understanding the limits of editing is very important. The idea of editing is to get the exact view as you saw, maybe enhancing it a bit to make it look better, but it should stop before it turns the scene to something totally different.
If you are new to editing, start with the supplied software, and shoot RAW. A RAW file has all the data captured by your camera and the supplied software is best suited to deal with it. The very first edits that you will benefit from is adjusting brightness and contrast, shadow/highlight correction and sharpening. Reducing the brightness increases the colour saturation of the image, particularly landscapes and nature shots. Always preview the effect before committing the edit.
If you want to get back details in the dark areas without affecting overall brightness, try shadow correction. This will work best if you have shot in RAW. If the bright areas look blown out, try highlight correction, also works best with RAW files.
Shadow correction on an NEF (RAW) file
Increasing colour saturation
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Updated Date: Sep 21, 2017 15:18:52 IST