Post processing of photos as the name suggests is changes made to the images after they are captured . There are often times when the image that is captured by the camera is not what the photographer envisioned .After the moment has passed ,it is sometimes not possible to recreate the moment or reshoot. At such times, post processing comes to the rescue to modify and manipulate whatever image was taken and make the best out of it. Even if the photographer puts all his/her effort to capture a subject perfectly using all his/her expertise and techniques, there is always a scope to make the final picture better .A touch of spark can always be added to it in post processing to make the final image a master piece.
- There are so many post processing softwares these days and they have truly become a photographer’s toolbox . Just like an artist cannot do without his brushes,erasers and sketch pens until the final painting is done, the post processing softwares have become an integral part of photography until the final image is produced.
- Not just the enhancement of photos ,one can even afford to easily manipulate the picture taken which could be a savior at times !For instance , a dirty mess or spot on a plate with food in food photography or blemishes on a person’s face in portrait photography.
- There are many free editing software like PicMonkey and Picasa for beginners who are just starting out which is straight forward and cost effective and works out well. Then there is also the very popular Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom used by professional photographers which have many options, tools and techniques ,the only downside is it is a little expensive . One has to of course learn how to use the software in detail to use it to the full capacity and take all advantages of what it has to offer .There are many on-line tutorials and videos which are helpful.
Some of the simple and very basic post processing tips that I found useful as a beginner:
- Make sure to always have a backup and save a copy of your original photo
- The subject should always be the main focus in the photo , crop out any distracting or unwanted elements if that helps.
- In Photoshop, use the auto-tone or auto-contrast options where the software automatically does the corrections to the brightness, contrast etc .If you like the end results you can save , else you can always undo the changes.
- Use Layers in photoshop while editing so that you can easily revert back your changes.
- Dodging and burning options in post processing softwares brings out details from shadow and suppress highlights respectively.
- Levels and Curves are used to adjust the exposure of your photo. A histogram, is shown which shows how dark or light your photo is.Dragging the curve up or down can lighten or darken your picture.
- White balance corrects the color tints in your photo and if the photo needs more blue for example adjust accordingly.
- There are also many others options like vibrance, saturation, sharpness, contrast and clarity that can be adjusted as per one’s liking using the post processing softwares.
- Techniques like blur filters and reduce noise with Lightroom can be used to remove noise in photos captured with high ISO( especially those taken in low light photography) to give a better final image.
- Most of lenses used by photographers have distortions and can be easily removed in Lightroom by navigating to LensCorrection and checking on Enable Profile Corrections .One could also enable Remove Chromatic Aberrations.
- Finally, you can also watermark your picture to protect it and avoid it being copied after all the post processing is done.
Here are some examples of before and after photos that I captured and modified in post processing:
This photo below was taken in Fort.Aguada , Goa , India. and it is a very popular tourist destination . It was not so easy to get a picture of the fort by itself without a few people standing in front of it .Since it was very early in the day and we stayed just across , I was able to get a good view and take a shot with just one person in the right most corner of the fort( you may have to scan through to see ).I could easily remove that person from the final image using the content aware tool, blurring and patch tool in photoshop.You can see the before and after picture below.
Here are some sites which have interesting and in-detailed topics on post processing for those who are interested to learn more .If you have any interesting tips or links on post processing that are useful for beginners, please add in the comments below. Happy Clicking!
Disclaimer: I am not a photography tutor or professional .This is only an effort to share the lessons and tips I learnt and compile my experiences using the digital camera .
Featured Image: source: Pexels