Raw Image Finished
The picture on the left is how my digital camera captures an image in Raw setting. The photograph on the right shows how much it changes by the time I’ve finished “playing with it”. The era of the digital camera may well have made capturing an image a lot easier but the processing involved – what we call “the back-end of photography” – can be much more time-consuming than it ever was when we shot with film. Generally, my process starts when I transfer all the files from the shoot to my laptop as I travel, then to my desktop when I arrive home. I import everything into Lightroom, then grade the images I think have the greatest potential, refining the selection once again to those I decide to work on. With this particular picture, I adjusted the curves and added contrast, increased the detail in the shadows, added to the saturation, sharpened everything, straightened the horizon, adjusted the temperature and pulled out some magenta, yellow and blue from the whites. Then I copied the file onto my desktop and re-opened it in Photoshop to study it in greater detail and take out any imperfections such as dust particles with the cloning tool. When I was satisfied, I renamed the file and created a CMYK version of it for printing (tweaking it again if I had to) before captioning it and adding the picture to my library. Of course, I could have just captured the images in the camera’s j-peg setting and allowed the camera to interpret the subject to largely acceptable standards but that’s not what my clients pay me for. Each one of the adjustments mentioned above was subtle but, in my view, necessary in bringing the image to professional standards and what I saw through my viewfinder. My objective it to deliver the best possible image I can under whatever circumstances I find myself – which often, as these two images indicate, requires a fair bit of work after the picture is captured.