FAQ /post processing

This week I've had a few people ask me about my workflow/post processing (ie: editing). So I figured I may as well write a post about it in case anyone else is interested in knowing what goes on behind the scenes!

What is your workflow process like?

Here's a quick run-down of what I do:
1. Take pictures
2. Come home, upload pictures onto computer
3. Import pictures into Lightroom
4. Go through all pictures and purge, getting rid of any blurry ones, blinking eyes, funny faces, etc.
5. Edit all pictures in Lightroom
6. Export edited images into JPEGs
7. Go through JPEGs and fine tune any that need touch ups, and convert to Black and White - this is all done in Photoshop CS5
8. Pick favourites, enhance, add watermark, resize
9. Post pictures on Facebook and write blog post

That's the main gist of it.

What kinds of tinkering are you doing in post? Do you play with saturation or curves? It looks like you're adding some vignetting?

My goal is to do as little tinkering as possible. Ultimately I'd love to have my pictures as close to perfect as possible SOOC (straight out of camera) as possible. Since I'm just using a more basic, entry level DSLR I can't expect that right now. I take my pictures using Auto White Balance but it's always off. It might be easier if I explain what I do using pictures. So this is what this image looked like SOOC. 

It's got potential but the colour is pretty dead. Not my style, AT ALL! I tend to like my colours slightly on the warm side too, no one likes to look sick in their pictures!

So, first off, I use my sliders and adjust the white balance (Side Note: I shoot in RAW all the time which allows more room for adjusting your images in post. And I shoot in Manual mode.) Once I've got my Colour right I move to the Brightness and Contrast sliders. I like to crank my contrast quite a bit. I like my images to pop. I'm not a fan of soft images. Then I slightly add a little "Light"ness to the image and drop the "Shadows" a fair bit using the sliders as well.

I don't touch the saturation. I decided that I want my pictures to look clean and fresh and not overly processed. It's either full colour, or black and white. No in between. And I want to stay consistent with that.

(And, no, I don't do any vignetting (making the corners darker) because it didn't go with the look and feel of the pictures that I wanted to have. Plus, it's extra time editing that I don't want to have!)

So, after doing all that, here's what we got...

Much better!!

Now I'll take that image and open it in Photoshop and add a few enhancements using my Kubota Actions, add my watermark, resize for the web, and VIOLA! Picture is done!

I hope that made sense. I do hate showing my pictures SOOC because they're not the quality that I am happy with! But I know how much I appreciate it when other photographers show their images SOAC so I'll do the same in hopes that somebody appreciates it!! haha.

Enjoy the rest of your Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!!!

PS: I have no idea why it's making such ginormous spaces between my paragraphs! I swear it doesn't look like that when I'm actually writing!


  1. Awe man! Makes me want to edit ALL of my photos! I love seeing the process. I usually just have time for a quick edit with the iPhoto settings, but this would be more fun and create a great new set of photos!
    Nice work! Your photos always look so nicely done!

  2. Anonymous25.11.10

    Hi Vanessa! Thankyou for sharing! Just wondering which Kubota Action you use/suggest? :)

  3. Kristin: I don't spend as much time on my own personal photos though! Would be nice but I just don't have all that time! But there's no deadline for my own so I can get back to them!

    I use the Magic Sharp on all the images i post on the web, pretty much. A few I end up not using it, but 98% of the time I do! I also use Daily MultiVitamin a lot, but I just had it for the trial time which has now expired so I'm hoping to maybe get it for Christmas! I really love that one! There are so many other good actions from Kubota too but I haven't played iwth them lots yet. I only have the Production Tools kit as of right now which has the Magic Sharp and just more basic actions in general. Not too many artsy ones. Hope that helps!

  4. Anonymous26.11.10

    Super helpful Vanessa!! I really appreciate hearing your process broken down. Thank you! Keep the FAQ posts coming!

    Jen van Kemenade

  5. You're welcome! Glad it's helpful!

  6. marvelous editing darling!


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