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Old Dec 9, 2010, 2:41 PM   #1
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Hello !
I need some advice from the more experienced users...

How can I enhance night shots with PS CS4 ? Like, to really make them pop...

And when editing a photo, does it make a difference if I start off by sharpening it (if needed) before modifying the tones and contrast, or do it last, after other editing ?
Or there's no particular order ?

Thank you !
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Old Dec 9, 2010, 7:30 PM   #2
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I believe you have adjustment layers available. Use those at least while you are learning. It makes experimenting easier since everything can be changed repeatably.

Mess about with levels and curves while watching the histogram. You will figure it out fairly quickly and in a way that will help with other photo problems.
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Old Dec 9, 2010, 10:27 PM   #3
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I'm not a photoshop user, but in general, sharpening should always be the last step in editing, with the sharpening set for the medium by which the photo will be viewed.

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Old Dec 10, 2010, 9:45 AM   #4
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It partly depends on why you think the picture needs processing. Always do sharpening last. You can do a lot to make a picture look sharper by adjusting contrast, so do that first (levels, curves). Sharpening can be easily over-done and if you can make a picture look good without it, you are better off. Also, sharpening that looks good on a full sized file can often look horrible on a down-sized version of the picture (if you are going to use the picture for a monitor for instance).

CS4 has adjustment layers - use them so you can delete or change them as you do more things. I always start any processing by copying the background layer and working on the copy - if for no other reason than to refer back to what you started with and see if you are going in the right direction.

Last thing with night shots: if your picture looks soft out of the camera - is the problem the camera, lens or camera shake because of slow shutter speeds? If it's camera shake then buying a good, sturdy tripod will give you far better results than any type of post processing sharpening to correct it.
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Old Dec 10, 2010, 10:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillDrew View Post
I believe you have adjustment layers available. Use those at least while you are learning. It makes experimenting easier since everything can be changed repeatably.

Mess about with levels and curves while watching the histogram. You will figure it out fairly quickly and in a way that will help with other photo problems.
I'm actually just clicking on Auto-Levels and Auto-Curves...it's doing a pretty good job I think !




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Originally Posted by VTphotog View Post
I'm not a photoshop user, but in general, sharpening should always be the last step in editing, with the sharpening set for the medium by which the photo will be viewed.

brian
Sharpening is for last...OK, got it. Thanks B. !



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Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
It partly depends on why you think the picture needs processing. Always do sharpening last. You can do a lot to make a picture look sharper by adjusting contrast, so do that first (levels, curves). Sharpening can be easily over-done and if you can make a picture look good without it, you are better off. Also, sharpening that looks good on a full sized file can often look horrible on a down-sized version of the picture (if you are going to use the picture for a monitor for instance).

CS4 has adjustment layers - use them so you can delete or change them as you do more things. I always start any processing by copying the background layer and working on the copy - if for no other reason than to refer back to what you started with and see if you are going in the right direction.

Last thing with night shots: if your picture looks soft out of the camera - is the problem the camera, lens or camera shake because of slow shutter speeds? If it's camera shake then buying a good, sturdy tripod will give you far better results than any type of post processing sharpening to correct it.
Well since I only have a P&S, don't really see the need in buying a tripod...the ones made for compact cameras are so tiny, it would look ridiculous !

That's why I needed some good tips and tricks on how to enhance/improve night shots...
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Last edited by Marawder; Dec 10, 2010 at 10:46 AM.
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Old Dec 10, 2010, 10:41 AM   #6
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Another thing that's very annoying is posterization...after too much editing, noise reduction etc, the image just looks terrible ! My camera doesn't shoot in RAW, so I can't edit in 16-BIT mode !

I find using a lot the Shadow/Highlights tool...that one's really cool !
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Old Dec 10, 2010, 11:12 PM   #7
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If you are having to do too much editing, you may really need longer exposure times, and that means using a tripod or other solid camera rest. Even inexpensive full size tripods will make a world of difference. The camera mounting threads are standardized, so any tripod will work. (as long as your camera has the threaded socket)

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Old Dec 11, 2010, 9:41 AM   #8
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Another vote for using a tripod.

To get an idea of what that will do for you with night shots, try just setting your camera on a beanbag/car hood/fence post/... Then use the self timer to trip the shutter to avoid moving the camera when you press the release. Then shoot the same shot hand held.

Likely you won't be able to frame the shot the way you want, but this is really just a test so that doesn't matter.
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The auto levels/curves do indeed work well for many/most photos. Worth spending a bit of time figuring out how to do it manually for the odd time it doesn't work.
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Old Dec 11, 2010, 4:39 PM   #9
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Not as good as tripod but something you mite wanna try. Get an old broom/mop handle of some sort that's fairly long and use as a monopod, just rest your camera on top of it. I use a walking stick as a monopod quite often.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 10:39 AM   #10
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Just to expand on Dennis' comment, use the stick as the third leg of a tripod - your legs being the other two. Spread all three legs about the same distance apart.

Sitting on the ground with your elbows on your knees is another good steadying technique.
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