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02-23-2008, 10:24 PM   #1
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Losing the Joy

I am really struggling with post processing my images. I have absolutely no patience to sit at a computer for any length of time and play around endlessly tweaking these images. In fact, it almost makes me hate photography. I find that when we come home from a photographic outing, my wife immediately sits down at her computer, opens up her PE and away she goes. Me? I generally don't even remove the card for days on end. Finally I'll take a look at the images in the Windows viewer... pretty much reject most of what I see and save a few images that strike me as reasonably passing.

I think I'm looking for a dummy-type of tweaking program. Something that will make adjustments automatically. What program might that be? If anyone can help I'd greatly appreciate it since I'm really struggling to even want to go out and take pictures anymore and all because of the above.

02-23-2008, 10:33 PM   #2
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picasa has an "I'm feeling lucky" button that makes auto adjustments.
02-23-2008, 11:02 PM   #3
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Take 2 rolls of Velvia & call me in the morning

I know exactly what you mean.

Try this. Use a film camera and shoot some rolls of slide or print film. I would prescribe 2 rolls of Velvia (you're in for a treat if you've never tried it). You skip the "post processing" completely this way & just get to look at the final result.

I take my film to a local drug store that also runs a good lab with live technicians and they do all the developing for me. If needed, I'll ask them to also do some adjustments for me in the case of print film.

It's not as expensive as you may think. If you don't own a film camera, they're stupidly cheap right now. You can buy a P-Z1P for under $150. MZ-L/6's, MZ-7's, MZ-5's, MX's, ME's, etc. are also quite inexpensive.

In terms of developing costs, I can get even cheaper developing if I go to Wal-Mart, Costco, or Superstore type places. Slide film is also cheaper to develop than negative film.

Last edited by tranq78; 02-23-2008 at 11:05 PM. Reason: typo
02-24-2008, 02:41 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by JamesD Quote
I am really struggling with post processing my images. I have absolutely no patience to sit at a computer for any length of time and play around endlessly tweaking these images. In fact, it almost makes me hate photography. I find that when we come home from a photographic outing, my wife immediately sits down at her computer, opens up her PE and away she goes. Me? I generally don't even remove the card for days on end. Finally I'll take a look at the images in the Windows viewer... pretty much reject most of what I see and save a few images that strike me as reasonably passing.

I think I'm looking for a dummy-type of tweaking program. Something that will make adjustments automatically. What program might that be? If anyone can help I'd greatly appreciate it since I'm really struggling to even want to go out and take pictures anymore and all because of the above.
Call it Cabin Fever - it will get better.

02-24-2008, 03:42 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by clawhamemr Quote
picasa has an "I'm feeling lucky" button that makes auto adjustments.
I second that.

Picasa - in general - has very intuitive controls and is easy to use. It pretty much does what most of us want without turning your eye and mind away of the actual image result to some burdening tweaking controls.
02-24-2008, 03:52 AM   #6
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I think that can happen to many of us at some point and the good thing is it teaches you to step backwards to some extent. Shoot like the camera is a film unit, Tranq's suggestion isn't that far out. Either go shoot some film, which will force you to get it right the first time (unless you have a darkroom) or start shooting with more care/control when you can. I had access to a darkroom for a few years, that I built with another shooter. I came to realize I hated going there and spending hours working on a few shots. It made me a better shooter.

So my answer may go off in a direction that doesn't apply to you but did to me when I felt something like this.

I think many digital owners, 'fire away' with the hope that one of those frames is good (since viewing them is free). That's not a criticism just a comment. I remember a thread some time ago where a number of posts claimed 20-30,000+ shots on cameras that were 6 months old. I bet there weren't many keepers in those totals for many of the shooters.

Anyway, the point is, that the best approach for me (which might work for you) is to slow down, think about what you want in the image and how to take it, take a digital preview if necessary before shooting the frame.

I like most, shot too many frames for a period of time, because it was free and easy. Using this 'film' approach to shooting has me at about 7000 frames on a year old K10D and I'll often come back from a few hours of shooting with 40-50 frames and half of those are worth keeping. Another advantage of re-learning to shoot like this, is when the shot comes up where you have one chance to get the capture, you're ready like a sniper, not a machine gun.

The nice thing about this approach is 2 fold. 1) your camera will last a few decades longer before the shutter wears out.
2) when you get home, it will be a pleasure to open the files if 50% of the shots are keepers. Then sitting down to edit those will be fun.

Maybe much of the problem you have has nothing to do with editing. Much more is that if 5 out 150 shots look good, you are discouraged from even opening PS at all. If you results make you say WOW then edits are fun.
Enough rambling....

For simple editing with Jpegs or TIFF's (crops, WB etc) Microsoft's Digital Editor (included free with Vista) is actually pretty good. There's a batch edit function and a good 'auto exposure fix' button. If the shot is taken with care, in many cases, you can be done in seconds.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 02-24-2008 at 08:10 AM.
02-24-2008, 04:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by JamesD Quote
I am really struggling with post processing my images. I have absolutely no patience to sit at a computer for any length of time and play around endlessly tweaking these images. In fact, it almost makes me hate photography. I find that when we come home from a photographic outing, my wife immediately sits down at her computer, opens up her PE and away she goes. Me? I generally don't even remove the card for days on end. Finally I'll take a look at the images in the Windows viewer... pretty much reject most of what I see and save a few images that strike me as reasonably passing.

I think I'm looking for a dummy-type of tweaking program. Something that will make adjustments automatically. What program might that be? If anyone can help I'd greatly appreciate it since I'm really struggling to even want to go out and take pictures anymore and all because of the above.
Change your stragegy.

Get your self a 256mb memory card (people will give them away for free) and shoot RAW.
Now you can take no more than 24 shots, just like the old days.
Take no more storage with you.

NOW YOU REALLY NEED TO THINK BEFORE RELEASING THE SHUTTER.

Just when were shooting film.

Having no more than 25 photos to process (let it be Picasa) can be no burden for anyone I am sure!

- Bert
02-24-2008, 08:02 AM   #8
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Everybody--thanks for all the good comments. I, too, don't like to spend a lot of time with PP, either. I'm in the camp that prefers to get it right the first time. I mainly use an image editor for minor adjustments in color (auto-adjusting) and cropping. When I've looked at some of my shots and tried using auto-adjust, some of them will change very little to none, which is a good sign for me (I got it right the first time!). I use cropping whenever I can't get quite as close to a subject as I want to be--one of the reasons I got the k10 is it's 10mp is better for cropping than the 6mp I had with the DS.

Doing what it takes to get it right the first time around helps you become a better photographer all-around, regardless of whether you're using film or digital.

My favorite film for prints: Kodak High Definition 400. The prints come out very sharp and the colors absolutely POP! Once I get another film body and a scanner that will scan slides, I'd love to try the Velvia, as well.

Hang in there, James. Work on your technique and save the PP for those shots that either just need cropping or that otherwise truly need it.

HTH,
Heather

02-24-2008, 09:34 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JamesD Quote
I think I'm looking for a dummy-type of tweaking program. Something that will make adjustments automatically. What program might that be?
Already embedded in most P&S cameras. If you are not patient to post process images from your DSLR, perhaps you should consider a good P&S and there are very good choices today.

Don't get me wrong, I understand what you feel and often I wish I have a P&S with me because I know output from my *istDS will not be ready for immediate use. This especially applies to social outings where I get almost sick when people ask me "can you email me the pictures tonight?". Argh!!!!!

Some solutions and experiences: (1) I do not use my DS anymore for friends & family photography. I leave that to P&S owners. No "email me tonight" requests anymore and more time to really enjoy events; (2) An old habit from film days I still use in digital world: I "think" before pressing shutter release. It is common for me to walk around for hours and come home with 10 or 20 shots. Less to review/process; BTW, I have my DS for almost three years, counter = 8022; (3) I also use my "let negatives rest first" principle from the film days. That is, I transfer files and forget about them. Then I review them and clean up after a week or two (or even longer). That helps me "detach" myself from the actual situation and to focus on visual aspects of a photograph, instead of comparing the result with what I have seen/felt/smelled/(etc...) at the time a photograph was taken; (4) I have also learned how *istDS metering maps to sensor exposure/saturation. Using mostly the "M" mode, spot meter, and "exploring" the scene, I can previsualize final result so that I can focus in the post production stage on making photos better instead of wasting time on "fixing" them; (5) Finally, I figured out how much post processing is enough post processing. With only a few corrections in Lightroom and running predefined actions in Photoshop I can output web versions within 2 or 3 minutes per photograph (DNG -> JPEG for web).

Hope this helps.
02-24-2008, 05:22 PM   #10
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Original Poster
Thank you all, so much

I really appreciate the time and effort everyone here put into assisting me. I'm going to give serious consideration to several of the suggestions. Thanks again.
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