Wanted: Post Processing Newbie Advice...

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adamgrin Regular Member • Posts: 181
Wanted: Post Processing Newbie Advice...
1

Hi all!

I've been shooting with my Em-1 Mark 1 for around 7 years now and have pretty much shot and used SOOC jpegs exclusively. I dabbled a bit with post processing RAWs a while back but found I lacked the knowledge and patience to sit at the computer, fiddling with images that I usually seemed to end up DE-hancing rather than enhancing.

Overall I love my Em-1 but with the release of the OM-1 and many more recent Em1, Em-5 etc variations, I started to get a bit of camera envy until I read a post on here that suggested a photographer in my situation would gain much more value in learning more about post processing to better utilise their current camera rather than upgrading to a new camera. Seemed like very sound advice to me so I dowloaded OM Workspace and have been shooting RAW and playing around with post processing those images since. Now I know OM Workspace isn't the best software, for me it's especially slow on the Mac but I thought it would be worth trying first as it's free before I invested the money in something better.

After watching several OM Workspace and other RAW processing tutorials online (Rob Trek's are great!), I'm starting to get my head around it but still have many questions and a loooong way to go.

My typical adjustments are something like this:

- Click Distortion and Aberration Correction

- Crop if I need to.

- Set Gradation to AUTO. This seems to bring out detail in the shadows.

- Adjust exposure so the histogram is pretty well balanced

- Adjust Custom White Balance to what I like.

- Adjust the Dehaze slider up a bit, sometimes a lot. This seems great for bringing out detail , especially in the sky, but can also bring in a bit of noise.

- Then I play around with the Tone Curve to add/remove contrast. This is where I'm having some trouble. To me it seems the most powerful tool to really give more punch to the image but it can easily be overdone which makes my images look a bit crunchy. When I adjust the Tone Curve, my histogram goes all spikey which I believe is bad news? It happens as soon as I adjust the tone curve, regardless of any other adjustments I've made. Any ideas about what causes this and what it means?

- I then typically add some sharpening with the unsharp mask. Something like  Amount 100-150%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 10-15%. I notice this can bring out a lot of detail but again can be overdone to add to this crunchy kind of look.

- Noise Filter I usually put to LOW.

Obviously all these details are dependant on each individual image but this is generally how I'm processing the images at the moment.

If I'm happy then I export it to Jpeg with the max Superfine compression, but this seems to squash the files as they are only around 5 or 6 MB (if un-cropped), rather than the 10 or 11MB of my OOC Jpegs. I've tried to export to TIFF as well but then the files are HUGE!

So I guess in this post I'm after some advice on whether I'm on the right track with all this stuff? What are other people's process?

Overall I'm finding it quite exciting to see the potential of making my images look much better, but at the same time am a bit unsure if I'm overdoing it, creating horrible over-processed looking images.

Here's a few images for your critique (all from an area in Colombia called Mesa de los Santos, amazing climbing spot!). Be brutal... but nice

Thanks for reading and any advice you might have!

Cheers

Adam

Olympus E-M1
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