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Old Jul 31, 2002, 11:16 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 47
Default Take me through the process...

For those who have read it, this is a repeat of a post I put in the general q and a sec.
I am a newbie and I need assistance on the general process one would take to bring a digital image from the camera to the best finished product. I just purchases the qimage software and I am slowly reading through the directions but nowhere does it give me the general rules or plan for photos. Do I adjust color first, then contrast etc. ? or is there a logical plan to follow. I truly enjoy this web site and the knowledge Iv'e gain so far by just reading your insightful comments have been fantastic. Thank you.

[Edited on 7-31-2002 by Scott the Fireman]
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Old Aug 1, 2002, 10:16 AM   #2
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Default Warning: long response

Terrific question but there is no direct answer. It depends on a lot of things like the camera you're using, the conditions of the shoot, the content, etc. etc.

I shoot with two cameras, a point and shoot Canon A10 and a Minolta Dimage 7. I strive to take the original image so that it needs as little post production manipulation as possible. This means many things such as correct exposure, exposure latitude, color balance and composition. These are all things that apply to traditional film photography.

I download the images to my PC using a CF reader. The Dimage 7 images are converted to sRGB color space using Minilta's software. After that everything goes into Paintshop Pro for editing.

I actually rarely make color or contrast corrections to the A10 photos but I use the dimage is used for more critical work so sometimes I do. Knowing what corrections to make are based on knowing something is wrong to begin with. Do the colors look like the original scene? Do whites come out white or do they have a color cast? I normally use a custom white balance when I shoot so this is rarely an issue.

Contrast changes are tricky to learn. If you adjust a lot in either direction you are bound to make the picture look worse. Use subtle adjustments and learn how they effect the photo. Is the photo washed out and flat looking or are the highlights and shadows too harsh? I most often adjust contrast by altering the response curve which is a more complex way of adjusting contrast and color than just setting more or less contrast.

A good example is a portrait I took with one moderately dark skinned subject and one very light skinned blonde (me and my fiancee FWIW). I did most of the correction with studio lighting but still needed more adjustment. If I had just turned the contrast down certain elements would be better but the overall picture would look "flat" with no true black shadows or white highlights. I adjusted the response curve so the extreme shadow and highlight were untouched while the mid tones were brought a little closer together.

Completely confused now? Not to worry., you are at the beginning of a learning process. Work slowly, use copies of the images, not the originals and make adjustments small so you see the effect.
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Old Aug 1, 2002, 5:09 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Thank you so much for the time and effort. I will march foward and with a new confidence.
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