Continued from…..Beginner Landscape Photography: Learn to Shoot
You should start your adventures in Landscape Photography by learning the differences between RAW, JPEG, and TIFF images. One of the best recommendations that I can offer for new users is to leave you camera in RAW mode right from the start.
If you are not familiar with the world of post processing, I would suggest you do some research and find out what options are available to you before you decide to spend time and money learning about processing tools.
“Start with RAW Processing”
The first step in trying to learn processing is converting your RAW images to TIFF or JPEG. Most SLR cameras come with a RAW converter that you will be able to use for conversion. In addition, there are lots of third-party RAW converters on the market. In many cases, they give you more options for converting a RAW image. Find out about your options, and decide which RAW converter you want to use.
Once you select a RAW converter, try to analyze your image and decide what adjustments are necessary. Doing so will help you streamline your processing workflow. We use the histogram and our own memory of the scene to guide our adjustments.
In most cases, you’ll need just a few basic adjustment sliders – white balance, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows – and maybe saturation. Experiment with all the available adjustments options, and learn what you can expect from each one.
The next step is to be able to focus your adjustments to specific parts of the image – rather than applying them indiscriminately. I’d suggest waiting to take this step until you are very comfortable with using the RAW converter. Settle into an efficient workflow that allows you to visualize your finished image and work towards realizing that vision – rather than playing with the controls until you get something appealing.
While most RAW converters allow you to adjust specific areas of the RAW image with special controls, the workflow is often cumbersome and not very user-friendly. This is especially true if you are trying to make several targeted adjustment to a single image. To make adjustments to specific parts of an image, you will need software that allows you to draw selections and create layers and masks.
Developing your Post Processing Workflow?
In today’s digital imaging era, your options are wide open. I recommend choosing a single post-processing software and getting to know its abilities before adding additional tools. I always encourage student to develop their post processing workflow. A workflow is nothing more than general guidelines that allow you to accomplish specific processing tasks using specific tools in a sequence.
My workflow starts in the Adobe Camera RAW converter. When I am happy with my settings in photoshop, I often use Adobe Photoshop to make targeted adjustment to an image. I make almost all my targeted adjustments with layers and masks in Photoshop. Once all my adjustments are finished, I save the image before moving on to specialized software such as NIK Silver EFex (for black and white conversion), NIK Sharpner Pro (to sharpen images for printing) or OnOne’s Perfect Resize (to upsize for printing).
With the right equipment and some basic post-processing skills, you can get out there and start exploring the natural world. Good luck – and bring back some fantastic photos!