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Basic image correction workflow?

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7 comments

  • Alveric
    There are probably as many different approaches as there're photographers. In general, I begin by applying the Camera Profile**, then start from the top and work my way down:

      White Balance
      Exposure
      Curves
      Clarity
      Spot removal
      Cropping


    **Actually, it's C1P that begins the process, since I have a preset to be applied upon importing that includes: Camera Profile, Linear Response Curve, and Pre-Sharpening 2.
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  • Christian Gruner
    There is not optimal flow with regards to quality. The adjustments are applied as a sum when processing/showing in viewer.

    There might be practical steps to follow, but then again, they are very individual and has no real definite answer.

    As for using the Linear curve, then I wouldn't do that. Use the Extra shadow instead. It will roll of in shadow and highlight in a much better way. Use the Shadow/highlight slider to obtain the remaining latitude.
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  • Tan68
    As noted, there isn't a wrong way but there may be a more practical/efficient way.

    For levels before exposure or image brightness, I might do it the other way around sometimes. If you set black/white point in levels first, you will have either clipping or blocking if you go back and make a big change in exposure. No big deal, you can go back and readjust the levels.

    On the other hand... If exposure/brightness looks pretty good, setting levels or a little curve first might put things just where they need to be with no exposure adjustment needed.

    I think you will find how things work and what is efficient, as you go.
    There is no penalty in learning with not-destructive. None other than time !
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  • Andre Rombauts
    Thanks for all your replies...
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  • Rick Allen
    I find that most adjustments have an effect on the preceeding adjustment or I know that I'll make a saturation adjustment as a result of a contrast adjustment and I'll often need to further tweak the contrast after I've corrected the saturation. Sounds back and forth but after a while it comes as natural.

    As I often manage files from other photographers and digital tech's its quite funny to see how people sometimes get to a look. Its reassuring to hear from Christian that the adjustments are baked into the file as SUM of the total adjustments made ๐Ÿ˜‚

    My motivation when creating a look for files is as follows:
    use exposure to get the highlights to the right value
    use contrast to get the separation of tones right
    use brightness to get the mid tone right
    use saturation to get general color right
    use HDR blacks slider to get the shadows/black point right
    THEN I move to more local areas of color with either general color editor adjustments or make adjustment layer masks for areas of color and make color selections on those layers and edit them in CE.
    does that make sense? not sure ๐Ÿ˜Š
    clarity, noise and sharpening come next and sharpness falloff which I use often with canon files sometimes pushing it to 200% for an extra kick in the teeth.
    No need for that with the phase back files of course.
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  • Ian Wilson
    Moderator
    Top Commenter
    I certainly think that it's right to set the white balance at an early stage. For example, you can be tempted to increase saturation because the sky doesn't look as blue as you remember it/want it. But if you set the WB right, then often the colour becomes much more what you were expecting anyway. But in awkward lighting, you may want to get the exposure right first. If my scene is in bright sunshine, or if I have something in it I can pick a grey point from, it is easy enough to get the WB right. But some lighting is much more difficult - for example, I usually find that the greenish light you get taking shots under trees can fool the auto WB on the camera and you end up fiddling with it on screen until it looks right. But in my experience there is no point trying to get it to look the right colour by trial and error if the exposure needs adjustment. What looks wrong when it is underexposed can look much better when you have pulled the exposure slider up a bit.

    Just my 2p worth.

    Ian
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  • Alveric
    Christian Gruner wrote:
    There is not optimal flow with regards to quality. The adjustments are applied as a sum when processing/showing in viewer.

    There might be practical steps to follow, but then again, they are very individual and has no real definite answer.

    As for using the Linear curve, then I wouldn't do that. Use the Extra shadow instead. It will roll of in shadow and highlight in a much better way. Use the Shadow/highlight slider to obtain the remaining latitude.


    Late reply (I don't get E-mail notifications when replies are made to threads I've participated in: guess I gotta check my control panel again). Thanks, that clears some things up, such as why my images are so dark: even though I'm properly using my incident light meter, I've found that I always have to up the Exposure anywhere from 0.50 to over 1.0. Pulling up the same RAW file in Lightroom the exposure is correct (looks brighter).

    I really have to untrain myself from the 'Lightroom way' of looking at processing. For instance, in LR I use nothing but the Linear tone curve, instead of the program's Medium Contrast's default. When I switched to C1P, I thought that the linear curve would give me a 'purer', less adulterated file. Different algorithms, I guess.

    What's the Linear curve useful for then, anyway? Can these curves be tweaked (would I even want to?)?
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