Active Member
Hi All,

Seen this elsewhere and thought it might be interesting to start here. Basic concept is to show a before and after photo and then explain your post processing tools and techniques.

It can be useful to get advice on your own process and to learn new possibilities as well.

Anyway I will start and if you are interested post your own. This is an older photo of mine that I wanted to go back and re-edit to try something new

1. Before


2. After


So I opened up the RAW file in ACR and

1) Apply a saved setting that I think works for my old 7D. It sets the following

saturation to 3
Vibrance to 21
Clarity to 9
Contrast 31
and also enables the Lens Corrections,

2) Look at the Exposure and see if I am clipping Whites or Blacks (wasn't in this case) and adjust exposure accordingly. Then using the Recovery and Blacks Slider in conjunction with the ALT key I will check clipping and adjust the sliders to recover lost detail.

3) I then manually adjust the White Balance using the Hue and Temperature sliders to get what I think is right. For this I will try and find a white patch and use the color sampler tool to get a reading from the values and try to match them. Another possibility is to increase saturation to 100% and then see if a section of white is showing a colour tint. At this point I will check again step 2)

4) I then accept Raw changes. At this point I am currently using Viveza to do selective colour enhancements but could also do this directly in Photoshop using layers and masks. In the example above I decided to generally increase the Saturation across the complete picture brighten the Deer (but not the background)

5) Within Photoshop I then create a mask of the foreground (deer) and create a duplicate layer so I can edit the background and foreground seperately. On the Background I will then use Topaz Denoise to reduce a larger amount of noise than the Foreground as I do not mind about losing background details

6) At this point I create a duplicate of the background layer and rasterize it so I can perform edits. here I used the patch tool and clone tool to remove the branch on the right (the top would be cropped out later)

7) On the Foreground I will then do a subtle Noise reduction

8) On the Foreground I use Smart Sharpen to carefully sharpen the main subject. Here I am careful to play with the settings to not over sharpen and create halos

9) I often now create a duplicate rasterized layer of the foreground and user dodge/burn to improve highlights in eyes. Here I also burned the antlers a litttle to bring detail back in the highlights there.

10) Creative sharpening on the eye alone on the layer created in 9)

11) Save as PSD and close

12) I then cropped in Lightroom using rule of thirds to off center the deer and lose top branch.

Okay that is longer than I expected to write and longer than the edits took :)). All in all edits took me about 5 minutes I guess.

If you have questions or would like to post your own process would love to see them.




FWIW, I think processing is a personal thing. I prefer the original though it seems to have a slight blue tinge (was the WB on auto)? The 2nd has a much warmer look to the colours and looks cleaner with the cloning out of branches etc.

I prefer to set the WB to daylight or input 5700 kelvin, though if shooting RAW, it makes little or no difference, though shooting JPG it's very important as well as adjusting the contrast, sharpness and other colour settings.

BTW, Adobe CS5 has a great cloning tool for getting rid of unwanted objects, so no need to crop etc to remove unwanted items.

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