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Mr. Peabody
04-16-2005, 10:01 PM
I've been playing around with Elements 2.0 and I'm really getting the hang of it.

I find that I can make my photos look better. I usually start with the Adjust Brightness/Contrast levels option that gives you the histogram of your photo. I usually click on auto. Sometimes I do it manually with all 3 of the little triangles.

Next I go to Adjust Color and select the Hue/Saturation option. I adust the Saturation level to what I seem appropriate.

Next, I go to the Filter list and select Sharpen and then the Unsharp mask option.

That is about all I do. I could select the auto levels of every category but I don't.

Question. If I was an expert like most of you, would what I'm doing make a very small difference it the quality of the photo that I'm taking? With some photos that I take, these steps make a big difference. Others, it makes a small difference.

I would assume that if I knew how to use all the setting on my camera perfectly that going through these steps would make little or no difference at all.

Is there any other step that I should be doing in addition to the steps that I mentioned above? Is the order that I'm doing them in correct?

The Brightness/contrast option that takes you to the Histogram levels option seems to make the biggest difference it most of my editing.

Mr. Peabody
04-17-2005, 06:18 PM
Note to Self:

Either I asked a really dumb question or no one wants to admit to using photoshop to enhance their pictures.

I'm just trying to figure out if I knew how to work my camera and its settings perfectly whether or not photoshop could still improve my photos.

GVales
04-17-2005, 07:08 PM
Being less than ametuer myself at photography, but quite handy at using photoshop, I find myself screwing with many of the pics I take...most of the time to sharpen them up if I can.

But, I find myself rejecting the altered photos I do for the most part because they always appear too artificial to me after I doctor them up. Maybe it's because I know that its not the "true image" and know what it really looks like or maybe I'm just too anal.

Bluedog
04-18-2005, 05:09 AM
Mr. Peabody ... I do a little tweaking with my images especially since shooting in RAW format. Most of the time, which mine is limited and being able to correct with post processing. My biggest mistake I make is determining the exact White Balance so this is easily corrected. Photoshop is a digital camera enthusiasts friend.

speaklightly
04-18-2005, 05:50 AM
Mr. Peabody GVales and Bluedog-

You all raise some very valid points. The more you use good software, such as PhotoShop, the better you become with it. It is very much akin to learning to ride a two wheel bicycle. Also the more we use PS, the smoother our "tweaking", and our adjustments become far less obvious.

Mr. Peabody raises the workflow question. This is a rather common question. It, quite literally is this: where does one begin, and in a step by step fashion, how do you get to the finish. Because of the software design, I have both read and been told, that one should make the so called, large changes or adjustments first. These changes primarily would be the initial cropping, and image straightening, as required. Then it is perhaps best to move to sharpening, noise reduction, clonning, and finally finish with adjusting the levels.

Naturally, if you are working with raw images, these are essentially your "digital negatives." The processing of the raw images must be done first before the simple workflow described above. There are some huge advantages to working with raw images, because essentially the picture can literally be taken all over again, during the raw image processing, through the adjustment of white balance that Bluedog mentioned above and any number of other factors depending on the particular raw image software that is being used.

Just keep saying to yourself: "The more I use this, the better I will become!"

Sarah Joyce

Balrog
04-18-2005, 06:46 AM
With regards to post-process sharpening - would probably be best to leave this till *after* the noise reduction, as otherwise you'd be sharpening the noise, too...

speaklightly
04-18-2005, 07:28 AM
Yep, you're correct Balrog-

That was my typo while creating a rather large answering post.

The noise reduction has to come ideally as the first step, and even before the large adjustments. That's what happens when I try to go too fast. 'Sorry!

Sarah Joyce

ReF
04-18-2005, 10:59 PM
Question. If I was an expert like most of you, would what I'm doing make a very small difference it the quality of the photo that I'm taking? With some photos that I take, these steps make a big difference. Others, it makes a small difference.

I would assume that if I knew how to use all the setting on my camera perfectly that going through these steps would make little or no difference at all.



i think that you shouldn't worry too much about it. after all, pros use PS all the time. i find it quite common to process even the shots that i feel are taken at the "perfect" settings where i feel they can't be improved upon even if i could go back and take it again. or sometimes the shot doesn't come out quite the way i remember it, so i post process. btw i shoot almost exclusively with in RAW, and i still feel the need to post process in photoshop, although much less lately - i think a lot of it has to do with shooting in RAW.

JTL
04-18-2005, 11:30 PM
Dear Mr. Peabody,

Sometimes the taking of the shot is merely the beginning of the process. For instance, take my examples below. The original was taken specifically for the purpose of becoming a "painting" (courtesy of Paint Shop Pro). The greatest benefit of digital photography is now WE get to decide how our images appear. Software is merely part of the digital photography continuum. I say embrace its power and the freedom it represents.

Before
http://JTL.smugmug.com/photos/20022365-M.jpg

After
http://JTL.smugmug.com/photos/20022371-M.jpg


Try doing that with film (or without software)!
:)

Mr. Peabody
04-19-2005, 07:23 PM
Thanks for all the replies. They were helpful.

gary_hendricks
04-20-2005, 10:22 AM
If I was an expert like most of you, would what I'm doing make a very small difference it the quality of the photo that I'm taking? With some photos that I take, these steps make a big difference. Others, it makes a small difference.

I find that digital photos need a bit of tweaking especially if you are using an older digital camera -- mostly because the older digitals don't quite organize light in the same way that film does. That said, some of the newer models out there take some pretty impressive shots.

One thing that I usually adjust is the "levels" in Photoshop and then if extra tweaking is necessary then I go from there.

Before putting a lot of work into a photo one thing you should ask yourself is: where is my photo going to appear? Generally if your photos are online then some basic tweaking is all that is necessary. However, if you plan on printing your photos what looks good on your monitor might not look as good in print.

Good luck with this. With a bit more experience you'll get an idea of what works and what doesn't.