Beginner tips for post processing?

Started Oct 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
dcassat
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In reply to camrnw, Oct 29, 2012

What I see in your comparison shots look to be differences in color, contrast, brightness and maybe sharpening.  I don't think it's wise to get too crazy about matching that JPG, but if you wish to pursue that there are several other threads to search on that.

The RAW file has an amazing amount of information and your mission is to extract the goodness from it.

The mastering of Lightroom in this regard is no small matter.  These are my default settings and until I discovered the proper exposure settings was always unhappy with the contrast.

From the development module, start with these settings.

Temp - daylight

Tint +10

Exposure -1

Contrast -33

Then on the next set start with the blacks, hold down the alt key and move the slider up until the image (dots) disappears.  Then hold down alt and pull down on the white slider until no dots appear.

Adjust shadows so that your darkest regions appear per your preference.

Pull down the highlights slider to fine tune the brightest regions to blend into the surrounding area appropriately.   It's subjective but usually obvious as you want bright areas to appear natural.

The white balance is a challenge, always.  You can do a customize white balance with a grey card or use the dropper (white balance pane) to find a suitable grey area for calibration or just eyeball it.  I've done all of these and usually wind up finding what 'looks' best.

On the presence pane I start with clarity 30, vibrance 20 and saturation 5.   This will render strong but colors that aren't too saturated.  It's subjective and you will need to play a lot here.

I leave my sharpening at 35, Radius 1.2, detail 10 and masking at 10 for a starting point.  I rarely ever need to touch them.  But if you're shooting people it will make a big difference.

Noise reduction needs to be low.  I start with 15 for luminance and 20 for color.

Good luck I hope this helps.

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Dan

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