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Thread: How to post process this picture?

  1. #1
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    How to post process this picture?

    While I like to think that my photography itself has been getting better, post processing is definitely an area where I'm mostly clueless. I can usually see what is wrong with a picture, but not exactly how to correct it all, so I'm looking for a few tips and I think the easiest way would be with an example (full JPEG version on the clickthrough, I unfortunately no longer have the RAW file):


    500D, 17-55 f/2.8, shot at 1/250, f/6.4, 42mmm ISO100

    There are obviously a few glaring things that are wrong, the sky is blown out for example. Would it be better to solve it by cropping or by pseudo-HDR on a single image (I quite like how the successive mountainsides fade more and more into the haze on the right side...)? I'm also not quite sure of the tree directly behind the cow, although this is probably not easy to fix in post...

    Another question I have and this probably comes down more to personal preference...how would you edit this image? I'm kind of interested to see what others would do with it.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Nice photo! Heck, maybe your original is better than what I've done with it but I thought I would have a quick go at it! I'm not fond of what I did with the cow but I thought the mountains in the back needed to be brought out more & I tried to give it more of an early morning feel and painterly look.

    I'm going to keep playing with it but here is my first try ...

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
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    Denise, that looks like a very interesting edit. What would be really helpful for me would be if you could maybe just list what exactly you did to the picture (apart from the very visible things like cropping...) so that I could see how you got from my picture to your edit.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Hi Patrick. The first thing that came into my mind was "Milka". A chocolate brand which uses a purple spotted cow in the mountains on their images. I guessed that was a little too intense or your question so here's what I think I'd personally had done to it:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I used Photoshop CS5 for it, but the principles are pretty much the same in any program:
    1. Removed distracting parts. (Bright white thing underneith the logs and something that looked like a napkin)
    2. Used Shadows/Highlight to recover a little background info. Make sure you don't push it. You'll see a halo around the unedited parts if you do.
    3. Played a little with the tone-curve. Basically I added some local contrast.
    4. Added some contrast over the entire image.
    5. Pushed the saturation just a tad.

    That's basically it. If I where to have a special place for this photo I'm pretty sure I'd do a smoother job or perhaps turn it into B&W or use some sort of color-scheme.
    If you're having Photoshop removing the tree behind the cow is pretty easy to do. In other programs it will probably also be doable, but you probably need a little bit more time.
    I personally don't mind the blown out background. In my opinion this helps with the feeling of depth in the shot. The "fade-effect" that you mentioned. Although I must admit that I don't mind Denise's crop either.

    Hope this helps you a bit. I must also mention that I like natural looking shots, so my edits are usually quite conservative? Fun thing is that I like the more artistic style Denise used as well, but somehow I never like the ones I try myself

    Jan

  5. #5
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    I like yours alot, Jan! Mine is too over-the-top ..."interesting" as patham put to say the least! I guess I shouldn't edit photos as soon as I open my eyes in the morning ..LOL!

  6. #6
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    I started playing with this when you posted it. My first thought was croping to remove the emphasis on the sky to the cow. I am at work now and the only program I had to play with was DPP. Having owned a few cows when I was younger I know how deep the red can go on a cow like this, however some are lighter and have more of an orange tint. I tried to change the colors a bit to pull a bit more of the deep red out of the cow. I took the blue down, to pull the green and red out. I also sharpened and adjusted the contrast only slightly.

    I think your picture is a good example, of why to save your RAW files. I can tell by looking at your picture if you had the RAW file you could have easily pulled more of the sky out by playing with the highlights, exposure and contrast. I am sure some of the photoshop Guru's on here will be able to reclaim some of the sky.


    Cow 4 by hdnitehawk01, on Flickr

  7. #7
    Senior Member DLS's Avatar
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    Here's my attempt Patrick. Processed in LR3 (viewing on my laptop screen ). Local and global brightness and contrast adjustments, like Jan I removed the napkin and white thing under the log, turned down the luminance of some of the colors then some selective saturation increases, grad filter to try and grab some the detail in the sky. Bit of sharpening, straightening and profile correction for the lens distortion. Hope you like it!

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    Cheers,
    Damian

  8. #8
    Moderator Steve U's Avatar
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    Here is my go upping the highlights and shadows via Nik and a bit of cropping.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Steve U
    Wine, Food and Photography Student and Connoisseur

  9. #9
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    The RAW files would be better to work on, but this is the best I could do with the JPG which has lost data by uploading and downloading and processing. The tree behind the cow looks fine to me. A CPL filter would have helped immensely here.


  10. #10
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    Wow, these are all great. I'll have to take a while to look through all of them.

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