Leo's Favourite Flower for February 2013

Started Feb 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 13,377
Re: Intro to PP

ilikespam wrote:

i prefer not to spend a lot of time in PP because as a hobby, i would like to improve my *photographic* skills, not just _photograph_ skills. Does that make sense? I want to produce better images from technique than fixing later.

Many people seem to think that PP is only for correcting errors: it isn't - it's a fundamental part part of photography.  It always has been: right from the early days of photography in the 19th century photographers did as much work in the darkroom as they did with the camera.

Just one illustration.  A lot of scenes that we see out in the world have a dynamic range of about 9 stops, quite often less.  But once you get things like bright clouds, sunsets, theatre lights or other high-contrast subjects the DR goes up to 12, 14, sometimes even 20 stops.

Modern DSLRs have sensors that can capture 13 or 14 stops but makers limit their JPG output to about 9 stops.  Typically they discard between 1/2 and 1 stop of highlight DR and the rest from the shadows.  This means bright areas burn out and shadows turn black.  Even if you shoot in raw the basic conversion tends to be the same as the 9-stop limit from JPGs.

There's simply no way of getting a result from high-contrast light that captures the full DR unless you do PP.  Deciding not to do PP is like buying a car with a 5-speed gearbox and saying you'll never use first or fifth gear.

Of course, there are many people who choose to shoot JPG only and get great results: you don't have to look further than Dean for a prime example of that.  I must emphasise that I'm not saying that everyone should shoot raw and anyone who doesn't is somehow "inferior".  What I'm saying is that it's a mistake to think that PP is just for fixing things.

No one is perfect and shots do sometimes go wrong, and a good grounding in PP then helps to sort things out.  But that's a spin off from the real reasons for PP, not its real purpose.

Although i realize some tweaking must be done, i'd rather not spend days tweaking a photo, unless it is epic.

Who would?  My typical time to process an image that I've taken is between one and three minutes; something in really tricky light (that couldn't be caught at all without shooting for the PP I plan) might take 10 minutes.

these photos were primarily to test out the new (to me) lens, and I was trying to experiment with focus, dof and bokeh, more than composition.

Fair enough, although you did say "please C&C so I can improve my skills".

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First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006

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