Post Processing vs Getting it Right in the Camera (long post)

Started Jun 13, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Jarvis393 Contributing Member • Posts: 543
Post Processing vs Getting it Right in the Camera (long post)

I would like to get some input about a theory I have regarding the tradeoffs between "getting it right in the camera" and dealing with it in photoshop later.

I need to admit upfront that I have no direct experience with photoshop and very limited experience with Aperture. I could be accurately described as dumber than a sack of hammers with respect to this dialog, but I plod along anyway.

I'm trying to get the best overall shots I can to facilitate selling kitchens for my custom cabinetshop. A big part of my product line is white painted vintage kitchens.

Shooting these kitchens is not as straightforward as it might appear. It is true that the subject does not move but the ambient lighting does. Clouds passing over the sun or light coming in from a skylight can change a shot quickly.

There also seems to be about a two hour window for customer patience and attention span on our part. While there are a people in real estate photography that can do a whole house in that much time, most of those pictures tend to be glory shots appreciated from horseback. What I mean by this is that our goal is to explicate detail so as to facilitate customer decisions and button up cabinet specifications.

A typical shoot from us would include some warm & fuzzy context photos and a lot of tight shots showing how electrical switches interface with subway tile, or how grey grout tends to set off subway tile better than white grout.

To capture some of this detail, particularly the nuances of small shapes, I suspect we need to pay attention to hard lighting and I can't see how photoshop can do this part. I know that via masking you can change overall light levels and temperature for specific areas, but can you create the sculpting effect of hard light to generate depth & shape?

I'm not trying to be a purist with the camera. It is, after all, just another computer.

I would like, however, to spend as much of those two hours focused on composition and save the finesse work for subsequent post processing.
I don't, however, want to sacrifice detail for lack of proper light set up.

Can anybody advise me on the boundaries of what can & should be done with the camera (and lighting) and what can be done equally well back at my shop with the computer?

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