A few (complete newbie) Post Processing Questions

Started Apr 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
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BandofBrothers
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A few (complete newbie) Post Processing Questions
Apr 22, 2013

Hey everyone,

First of all I must say sorry in advance for the complete newbie questions - I feel like a failure because I have been shooting pictures for a little over a year, but have never really done much PP to my images - they have just been stored in "Events" (Albums) in iPhoto on my Mac.

Okay so here are my questions, thank you all very much for any help you can offer:

1. As mentioned above, I store all of my images in iPhoto (for the Mac). When I am browsing my albums in this software, am I actually seeing the untouched RAW image, or am I seeing a JPEG preview? i.e. are these pictures completely untouched, or are they similar to the out of camera jpegs?

2. 90% of my images are landscape/ historical buildings / my dogs and wildlife / flowers at various parks. They are not for "professional" usage or for printing - they are simply for my own collection on my laptop. I have seen a few people on these forums say that shooting RAW for such "snaps" is overkill and a waste of time?? I always thought that shooting RAW was advantageous in that I can recover shadow and highlight details? I was originally shooting RAW + JPEG Fine, but now just shoot RAW only, as I never "needed" the jpegs as my plan was always to have a little play with my pictures first anyway. Now I feel in a bit over my head with Post Processing

3. Last night I loaded (for the first time ever) the software that came with my Nikon 1 V1 camera - View NX2. Am I correct in thinking that if I import a raw file (.NEF) and then output the file from this program as a JPEG, is this the same as an "out of camera" JPEG. I was shocked at how much better these outputted files looked (as stated above, I think for a long time I have stupidly been looking at the untouched RAW files which don't look so good? - oops)

4. Following on from above, in ViewNX2, I see that you can change the White Balance on the raw images. This seems like a good thing for me, as I have always had this set to Auto on the camera. I had a little play, flicking through some of the various options and this made some of my photos have so much more "pop" and they looked amazing. Would you recommend that I carry on shooting Auto WB in the camera and then changing (if necessary) in PP? Also, there is a WB setting in ViewNX called "Calculate Automatically" - would you recommend this setting or am I best selecting a preset myself manually?

5. Reluctantly, I am thinking of ditching iPhoto software as it seems very unstable, often locking up and closing unexpectedly, whereas all my other software runs great. I have heard similar grumbles about Aperture on the mac too. Therefore, I am looking for some replacement PP software - and I hear everyone talking about Lightroom. Is it worth buying into LR4 at this stage, or should I wait for LR5? (I see there is a Beta out) - I will have to download this and have a play - and perhaps buy a book to guide me as I am totally out of my comfort zone.

6. My main concern about switching to LR is the way the photos are managed/stored. As above, at the moment all my photos are stored within iPhoto's own file management system at the moment, so will I need to re-import all my collection into LR? Or is LR more of a pure PP program where you import and work on a few photos at once and not view your entire collection?

7. I realise that LR offers non-destructive RAW editing, so my originals will always be safe? Does it duplicate the file once you start working on it? For example, if I import some RAW images, do some PP work and then export as a final JPEG, are my original RAW files left untouched/intact?

Many thanks for taking the time to read my mammoth post - and thank you so much for any help you can offer

Edit: Here are 2 examples of my RAW picture alongside an outputted JPEG from View NX2 software:

Example 1:

RAW

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10707083/DPR/DSC_2139.NEF

JPEG

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10707083/DPR/edited.JPG

Example 2:

RAW

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10707083/DPR/DSC_0894.NEF

JPEG

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10707083/DPR/DSC_0894.JPG

 BandofBrothers's gear list:BandofBrothers's gear list
Nikon 1 V1
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