Photography: Why Use Post Processing Software?

Although I had been interested in photography as far back as my teenage years, after my thirties and a number of life changes, photography took a back seat to my other interests and obligations of life.

I had used professional gear in my twenties and early thirties, but for many years after, I used a point-and-shoot digital camera with between 5 and 8 megapixels. (As a frame of reference, today’s standards would probably call for a minimum of 16 or 24 megapixels for professional use.) My Canon AS590 IS provided a no muss, no fuss regimen for me and I was comfortable just capturing ptographs as a matter of record.

Of course as time passed, post processing software improved and I became interested in revisiting some of my older photographs and trying to “process” them to bring out the colors and beauty that encouraged me to take the photographs in the first place.

When pondering the question, “Why use post processing software,” let me offer the following.

My wife and I enjoy hiking and exploring as readers of know. In 2012, we visited Monument Valley, UT. Sure enough, I had my Canon PowerShot AS590 with 8 megapixels. It took very nice jpeg photographs. Unfortunately, however, the settings and ability of the small sensor was limiting.

Look at this picture for example:

Original picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole
Original picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole

The above is a composition in which I was very interested, but the bright sky and haze did not enable the camera to represent the scene as I envisioned it. The camera did the best it could capturing the scene, but the equipment didn’t render the red rocks and sand as I saw it. The green and yellow grasses played well against the red rocks, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the photo above.

This shot remained dormant on my hard drive for years and then I began to learn about Adobe Lightroom. Once I understood the basics, I realized I could recapture some of the colors and nuances of the shot that inspired me to take the photograph in the first place.

Once processed, the scene is rendered more as I saw it that afternoon.

Processed picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole
Processed picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole

Keep in mind that this camera has a very small sensor and by today’s standard is probably equivalent to a smartphone or perhaps less than that. When looking at the picture, understand that the camera did capture information such as which areas are brown, red, green, blue, light, dark, etc. It took the software to help me bring out the colors and contrast nearer to as I recalled them when I stopped to press the shutter. Some of the detail is lost in the transition and the picture is more painterly than I would prefer, but it is certainly closer to my recollection than the original the camera recorded.

This is why post processing software and learning how to use it properly is so popular!



File Name: 8871_yei_bi_chei_spires_totempole.JPG
Capture time: Sept. 10, 2012
Exposure: 1/400 sec @ f/4.5
Focal Length: 16mm
ISO: 80
Camera: Canon PowerShot AS590 IS
Lens: 4.3-215mm

Edited in Lightroom


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Lightroom 6 Upgrade – Much Ado About Nothing?!

Like many photo enthusiasts, I use Adobe’s Lightroom and the BUZZ this week has been about the new version.

One of the most highly touted upgrades was the addition of a High Dynamic Range (HDR) merge and adjustment component. I watched one of the webcasts from Kelby One and when I saw the results of one of the HDR-processed photos, I said huh?

, one of the premier training resources for photographers and photo enthusiasts, had several webinar-type broadcasts about the new version.

NOTE: I have nothing but praise for Kelbyone. They offer many free resources to help budding and seasoned photographers. They produce a free Lightroom show every Friday which I am always anxious to watch so I can gather a deeper understanding of Lightroom and learn new techniques/options. So this is in no way a comment on their reportage of the new upgrade to Lightroom. They call the shots as they see them.

Here is the link for their review of the new options available in Lightroom – Kelbyone

After they demonstrated the new HDR component to process an HDR image, I didn’t think it was anything like a traditional HDR photo. I thought that I was just not experienced enough with HDR and I wasn’t appreciating how good it was. After all, over the Internet, it is really hard to get the best view. I figured if Scott Kelby and R.C. were satisfied, it must be good.

Well…several days later, it appears that the Emperor May Have No Clothes. Trey Ratcliff, the father of the modern HDR movement as far as many are concerned, has chimed in and seems to have the same feelings I had.

Read his comments about the new upgrade here:Lightroom 6 and HDR?

What are your impressions of the new version of Lightoom?