Reducing post production in digital photography

Do you enjoy sitting at the computer on a beautiful sunny day trying to rescue a bad picture, or do you prefer to be outside taking pictures?

Chances are, you’re like me and you prefer the latter. You didn’t get into photography to be in front of a computer on a beautiful day. So instead of spending a lot of time messing around in photoshop, why not shoot your pictures right to begin with?

Following these 4 simple tips can go a long way in reducing your post production work at the computer.

  1. Make sure you have the correct white balance selected.
  2. This simple tip will save you from having to tweak your images assuming they’re all shot in the same scene under the same lighting conditions.

    Automatic setting or “default” is good but manually setting the white balance to florescent, incandescent, daylight, overcast is even better.

    Be aware of your light sources.Try not to mix the light sources in a scene.

    If you’re in a room that has a lot of windows, it may not be a bad idea to turn off the lights.

    Since this is not always possible, learn to perform custom white balance on your camera.

    The steps to set custom white balance will differ from camera manufacturer to camera manufacturer.

    Generally it involves taking a picture of anything white like a piece of paper or shirt, filling the frame with the article.

    Afterwards you tell the camera you want to use that frame with the white article as the basis for setting white.

    If you move from that scene or change the main light source, you should perform another custom white balance for the new scene.

  3. Enable the histogram in the liquid crystal display (lcd) if that feature is available.
  4. This is a more reliable check for your “exposure” than just viewing the image in the lcd monitor.

    LCD monitors on cameras are not reliable indicators since what you see is totally dependent on the lighting conditions where you are viewing the images.

    Outdoors in bright sunlight, the image may appear underexposed or washed out. At night or in dark surroundings, your images will appear beautiful and correctly exposed.

    So learn to interpret the histogram and you’ll be on your way to exposing better.

    If, after following these 2 tips, you find you are still spending a lot of time in photoshop, you may be the type who doesn’t want to record what you see as it is.

    Rather, you prefer to alter reality by making the images more saturated, muted or even black and white. In that instance, you might try my third and final suggestion.

  5. Shoot your images in the RAW format.
  6. What this means is you tell your camera not to process your images and you want to do it all yourself.

    The files generated by the camera are huge and your post production workflow will take longer unless you use special high-end software like Apple’s Aperture or Adobe’s Lightroom.

    In the RAW format, you have the most flexibility as far as how you want the images to look.

  7. Keep your camera’s sensor dust-free.
  8. This is easier said than done. Believe me, I know this one first hand.

    I’ve tried turning off the camera whenever I change lenses and this hasn’t eliminated the dust problems.

    Currently only the latest digital single lens reflex cameras have features that supposedly shake off the dust.

    I think the answer here is to learn how to clean your camera’s sensor and do it often. There is nothing more mind numbing than sitting at the computer cloning out dust in your pictures.