L05 – Processing Photos

To view the lecture slides or to download a .pdf of the lecture, click one of the links below.

Lecture Notes for Lecture 5: Processing Photos

Processing Photographs
Developing a digital workflow

What is a digital workflow?

  • The term ‘workflow’ refers to a set of steps that a photographer commonly walks through from capturing the image to final printing of an image.
  • Workflow varies by photographer and by the hardware and software used.

Key Components (workflow)

  • A workflow begins by going out and capturing images. You must have images to work with.
  • The next step generally involves downloading images to a computer (usually into a specific software package: Picasa, iPhoto, Lightroom, Aperture)
  • Next, you will post-process images, correcting for errors, cropping, rotating, making black and white, etc.
  • Finally you output your photos to a desired media, sometimes this is online to a blog or online album (flickr.com) or to print.

What is your workflow?

  • Do you already have a workflow?
  • What software do you plan to use? (Always think about how to back up your images!)
  • What kind of post processing do you typically need to do?
  • Are there any steps you can automate ? (This is an advanced topic)
  • How will your photos be used?

What software?

  • Windows or Mac? Personal Computer, lab computer, or online? Non-destructive editing?
  • Free (0 – 10,000 images) or Professional (usually 10,000+ images)

Software (free options)

Google Picasa

  • Free
  • Easy to use,
  • Contains built in backup tools
  • Allows for easy organization by albums
  • Easy to publish to web, print & send out for printing at local store
  • Non-destructive editing Few advanced editing features

Adobe Photoshop Express

  • Free
  • Easy to use, presets help you select appropriate settings
  • All images stored/organized online in albums Easy to email, download, or order prints online Some advanced editing features/filters Must have connection to internet
  • Destructive Editor

Picnik.com (online)

  • Easy to use, presets help you select appropriate settings
  • Easy to email, download, order prints online, or integrate with Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, Photobucket
  • Can only edit 5 photos at a time, no online storage of images
  • More advanced editing features/filters than Photoshop Express. Very powerful tools for its price tag.
  • Must have connection to internet Destructive Editor

iPhoto (Mac)

  • iPhoto Free on any Mac
  • Non-destructive editing of images, can turn on or off corrections, filters etc without affecting original image.
  • Advanced editing features including histograms, curves, selective dodge/burn, etc.
  • Extensive Meta Data support Albums, Events, Faces to organize images Mac only

Software (professional options)

Adobe Lightroom (Win/Mac)

  • Expensive
  • Non-destructive editing of images, can turn on or off corrections, filters etc without affecting original image.
  • Very advanced editing features including histograms, curves, selective dodge/burn, etc.
  • Extensive Meta Data support Albums & Folders to organize images

Apple Aperture (Mac)

  • Expensive
  • Non-destructive editing of images, can turn on or off corrections, filters etc without affecting original image.
  • Very advanced editing features including histograms, curves, selective dodge/burn, etc.
  • Extensive Meta Data support Albums & Folders to organize images
  • Built in Archive & Backup tools so you never lose photos
  • Stacking of images with “selects” Mac only

Organizing Images

Meta Data

  • Data about the image that is stored within the image file itself.
  • Generally contains camera information (including lens, aperture, shutter speed, ISO) as well as the date & time the image was taken
  • Can also contain a GPS location for the image

Folders, Albums, Faces & Places

  • A variety of organizational structures have been developed in the various software packages
  • These include Folders, Albums, Events, Faces & Places

Folders

  • Most basic form of organization
  • Generally manual organization (you place an image into a specific folder)

Albums

  • Similar to a Folder
  • Generally manual organization (you place an image into a specific album)
  • Smart albums allow you to specify a criteria and all images in the album adhere to that criteria

Events

  • Groupings of images that occur during a similar timeframe
  • You can specify that timeframe (1 day, 1 hour, etc.)

Faces

  • New advances in software allow for facial recognition
  • Once a person is recognized, all (most) photos of that person appear under their name

Places

  • Organizes photos based on geographic location
  • Requires GPS in camera or manual attachment of location data to image during post processing
  • Generally shows images (or icons for images) on a map

Typical Adjustments

Crop/Resize

  • Adjust composition to make a better image
  • Remember principles of composition from last lecture
  • Make image smaller (only!) for desire output (for web)

Exposure

  • Adjust improperly exposed images
  • Lighten dark images to show more detail
  • Darken light images (this is difficult unless you shoot in raw format)

Brightness/Contrast

  • Adjust overall brightness of the image Adjust the image to have stronger darks and lights
  • This is a basic tool, better to use Levels & Curves (discussed later)

Color/Saturation

  • Adjust for improper white balance
  • Tint an image to a specific color
  • Add more or less saturation (color) to an image

Black & White / Sepia

  • Make an image black & white (compare a variety of options for which looks best)
  • Sepia is an old fashioned style image similar to b&w

Focus

  • Sharpen the image to make edges stand out
  • Slightly blur the image for a soft focus effect

Red-Eye Reduction

  • Remove “Red-Eye” from flash photos of people

Levels (advanced)

  • Adjustment of image so that there is both true black and true white in a given image
  • Can be done in better image organization programs

Curves (advanced)

  • Selectively adjust parts of an image without changing other areas of the image
  • Generally done in Photoshop

Final Results (printing/web-export)

  • Final images can be printed at stores or from your home computer
  • Final images can be posted to the web

Web Galleries

  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Picasa Web Album
  • Photoshop.com
  • Your own site!
  • Many others…

Comments (0)

Submit a comment... (Minimum 25 characters)