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Quick update and a word on post processing

I’ve had a whole lot to tend to lately and it has been a while since my last blog post. I’ll try to compensate for it with this blog post featuring a couple of photographs and a word on post processing.

As you may know I did some travelling in Morocco back in August where I succeeded in capturing a bunch of photographs depicting the life I experienced around me. I have some plans to use these photographs for different purposes. First and foremost I’m planning to create a new gallery on my website in which you can look forward to see a range of pictures which has not yet been published.

Ahead of the Morocco projects I’ve got in the pipeline I also have some time to spend in front of the computer. As a photographer you sometimes have to also take care of the photographs you create in terms of organizing and post processing. Unless you have someone to do it for you of course… which I don’t :-)
To develop photographs is not a completely forgotten term here in the digital age. Today however, for most photographers, it more often takes place in front of the computer than in a darkroom surrounded by chemicals.

Especially following larger projects, which often results in a lot of photographs to tend to at the same time, there will also be a more or less time-consuming workflow waiting during post processing. Most of the time I have my camera set to capturing pictures in RAW-format. For those of you who don’t know this format, it means that the pictures is saved to the memory card without the camera itself performing any picture processing along the way, like altering the contrast ratio or the color saturation. In other words, a photograph in RAW-format is kind of like a negative that needs to be developed in the digital darkroom. This requires however, that you have the right tools before you get started.

Tools I use for post processing:

  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
    Which application you use on the computer for processing your RAW-pictures mostly depends on personal preferences and what you find is easiest to work with. Personally I like to use Lightroom since I find that it works best for me with regard to organizing and processing my RAW-pictures.
  • HP LP2475w 24” monitor
    A good monitor is also a must have, which in this context means a monitor you can watch from different angles and still see clearly defined images and accurate colors, and which is capable of reproducing a wide spectrum of colors. The first thing you need to look for is whether the monitor features the right panel technology. The best panels is called IPS (H-IPS, S-IPS etc.), and the most common TN-panels out there are the ones you want to avoid for this kind of color sensitive work.
  • X-Rite i1Display 2
    When you have a monitor of sufficiently high quality it also needs to be calibrated to show the colors of the photographs correctly. Otherwise the photograph that comes out of the printer probably won’t be the same as the one on the screen in terms of brightness and colors. For this you’ll need a small display calibration unit. I have used X-Rite for a while which I have been very pleased with.

Hope that didn’t get too technical ;-)

Post processing is really neither about making bad pictures good nor correcting mistakes made when capturing the photograph. It’s about bringing the individual photograph as close as possible to what you saw and what you felt the moment you took the picture. Below you can see a couple of before/after examples of photographs I’ve brought through my post processing workflow and in that way closer to what I wanted to show from the beginning:

In general I think that you do yourself a favor by trying to create the best photograph you can with the camera in hand. This will save some time in front of the computer afterwards when trying to correct unwanted contrasts for example, as a result of not paying enough attention to the quality of light when making the photograph. As a general guideline I would say that the better lighting conditions applied when making a photograph the richer it will be in terms of contrasts and colors. Hard light on a sunny midday for example often have a tendency to wash out colors giving the photograph a dull look.

Personally I find it way more fun to be out looking for the good stories to tell rather than spending my time at the computer.

Recently I went through my archive of photographs to get it further organized when I stumbled across some pictures I haven’t looked at for a while. The photograph you see below is one of them. It’s a picture I made back in March 2010 at one of the great lakes in Copenhagen, Denmark. An unusual dense fog had laid itself over the city that day and it became difficult to even see across to the other side. I went for a walk, everything was calm and quiet that Saturday and this was one of the pictures I saw…