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10-15-2007, 05:23 AM   #1
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Post-Processing Difference

I just started using Picasa to manage my digital photos. I love the ease of use and nice GUI interface. Here's what I wonder. When I push the "I'm feeling lucky" button the color content and lighting of the image change. While the changes tend to be subtle most of the time, sometimes they are dramatic. Case in point, these two fall photos. One was "luckied" by Picasa and the other is original. While I like both, the processed one does look nicer, although the sky is not as blue as in the original.

For these pictures I was shooting with my K100D on ISO200, with normal saturation, contrast, and sharpness. The image tone was set to "high."

My question is, how can I set my camera setting so that I don't have to do the post-processing and the images I take will actually look the way they were seen before the shutter snapped?

Below: Non-processed image



Below: Processed image




Last edited by runjmb; 10-15-2007 at 05:37 AM.
10-15-2007, 05:37 AM   #2
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Your images did not show up, but "I'm feelin' lucky" just might be my favorite button in the universe to push. It's satisfying when I push it and the photo becomes 'perfect' ....even more satisfying when I push it and it doesn't do anything because I got it right in the 1st place
10-15-2007, 05:58 AM   #3
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To answer the question, you need to practice.

In looking at the photo's it would seem the one processed by the image editor is warmer, and is slightly lighter overall (perhaps 1/2-1 stop)

These two things provide most of the difference.

I would have to ask whether you have your camera set to auto white balance or set it manual.

I believe with white balance and a slight overexposure, plus perhaps setting the contrast down a little would yeild the results you are looking for.

What surprises me is many people might respond "shoot RAW" and fix it later, but you have indicated that you don't really want all that post processing.

When I said practice above, you will need to be conscious of your shooting environment, and set your camera manually (white balance, contrast and saturation) as a function of the lighting situation. Sunny cloudy rainy etc... Many people seem to complain about this, but it is no different than when you shot film, you had 2-3 camera bodies, each with a different film, for each lighting condition, or you cursed because you broght the wrong film for the conditions. Now it is easier, you just move the dials.

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 10-15-2007 at 06:19 AM.
10-15-2007, 06:18 AM   #4
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I shot these with auto white balance. I also metered the scene off of the palm of my hand (set it to +1 stop). I probably should have metered off the grass in front of me, but I was lazy.

Are there any resources about how I should set the contrast, saturation, sharpness, and white balance functions with changing lighting conditions? Its hard to tell by looking at the viewscreen if you got it right with the different functions.

Thanks!

Joe

10-15-2007, 06:29 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by runjmb Quote
I shot these with auto white balance. I also metered the scene off of the palm of my hand (set it to +1 stop). I probably should have metered off the grass in front of me, but I was lazy.

Are there any resources about how I should set the contrast, saturation, sharpness, and white balance functions with changing lighting conditions? Its hard to tell by looking at the viewscreen if you got it right with the different functions.

Thanks!

Joe
I'm sure somewhere there are lots of books on how to set this up, but you might want to try doing some test shot on your own, just to see what happens.

You could for example, take a reasonably high contrast sunny day scene like you have and modify in a set of shots, the contrast from max to min, saturation from max to min, change white balance, either through each setting or through the range of color temperatures, etc. Do the same set of shots for each different lighting condition high overcase, dull grey sky, rain, morning / evening sunlight ......., and learn for your self.

The reason I suggest this is twofold, first electrons are free (relitively) and second, you will be able to see for yourself what the changes do on your camera. If you read a book, you will get the principles, but still need to see how they relate to your camera.

I am always in favor of trying yourself first.
10-17-2007, 10:45 AM   #6
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Hey Joe,

(Where'ya goin' with that cam in your hand?)

I like the unprocessed pic more, because I'm a contrast junkie and I like deep blue skies. I'm not saying it's better, just that I like it more, because that's what this is about: your personal tastes.

Getting the picture you want straight out of the camera is the Holy Grail. As much as I enjoy messing around with Photoshop, I'd rather not waste time in front of the computer; however, I've found so far that I simply cannot get the colours and contrast I want straight from my K10D. Maybe as I keep tinkering I eventually will, but I'm starting to "not feel lucky".

As a side note, you should realise that shooting trees with a sky background is an almost impossible endeavour if you want deep sky colour and bright foliage due to the extensive dynamic range (more stops than a digital camera can handle). What I tend to do in these circumstances is either take 2, 3 shots and postproduce a HDR image, or (we all knew it was coming) shoot RAW, then use Adobe Camera RAW to make the greens lighter in tone and brighter in luminance (having metered my shot off the sky), and maybe the oranges and yellows too, if I were photographing a scene such as yours.
10-19-2007, 08:07 AM   #7
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Post-Processing

I agree with miserere. Do your best to get it right the first time rather than trusting to a program to get lucky and fix it later. Some shots are just really challenging as sky/vegetation shots. So when you have the time, and I assume when you're shooting a landscape you have a minute or two available. People/action shots may not afford you the ability to re-shoot, but most of the time you can. So shoot, review, shoot, review, etc. until you are more confident you got what you wanted to get. It is easier to delete than try to save a single shot later on your computer that you didn't quite expose properly to begin with.
Personally, I don't like anything that adjusts my photos without letting me see exactly what it has done. If you are not familiar with post-processing techniques, you should do so if you are shooting digital. You don't have to spend massive money for a decent program and there are tons of books to help you. I happen to use PhotShop Elements 5.0 (<$80US) and Scott Kelby's book on PSE5 for Digital Photographers is great.
If you aren't familiar with the White Balance and EV compensation capabilities of your camera yet, get to know them well. A few flicks of buttons and you can make major adjustments on the spot during your shoot/reshoot phase.
Take care,
Steve
10-19-2007, 09:04 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miserere Quote
I like the unprocessed pic more, because I'm a contrast junkie and I like deep blue skies. I'm not saying it's better, just that I like it more, because that's what this is about: your personal tastes.
You say you like dark skys?

Just for fun, I clipped the image into PSP X2 and using the magic wand selection picked the sky only, out of the post processed image, and darkened it.

Just remember that corrections in any image editor do not necessairly need apply to the whole image!

edit

ps, it looks like there is dust on the sensor! See the dark spots in the sky


Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 07-19-2010 at 05:55 PM.
10-19-2007, 09:30 AM   #9
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I think a polarizing filter would help you in that situation, it will darken the sky and bring the contrast between sky and ground down and it will also saturate your colors for you.
10-19-2007, 11:36 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
You say you like dark skys? Well take this! [waves magic wand]
Good effort! The problem is that a tree-sky boundary is never going to be clear-cut, so it'll be very difficult to get it to look right (you can see light blue sky between branches, etc).
10-19-2007, 11:37 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
I think a polarizing filter would help you in that situation, it will darken the sky and bring the contrast between sky and ground down and it will also saturate your colors for you.
It's like the American Express card: Never leave home without it
10-19-2007, 12:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miserere Quote
Good effort! The problem is that a tree-sky boundary is never going to be clear-cut, so it'll be very difficult to get it to look right (you can see light blue sky between branches, etc).
I agree, but this was a 10 second low resolution photo edit. I'm sure I could do much better, but I wanted to demonstrate that what ever correction is done CAN be selective.
10-19-2007, 07:31 PM   #13
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Side note... you could use a CCD cleaning. You have two fairly major spots in the sky portion of your scene, which will show up quite well in a print.
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