FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS One of the most important things with being a photographer – I believe – is having the initiative and curiosity to figure things out for yourself. For what works with your style. See it, like it, go with it. But I get heaps of emails asking for my workflow, post processing. My secret sauce. And I’m actually happy to tell – because, there really isn’t any secret sauce. It’s funny too because I think I have the absolutely most simple post processing. There are no tricks. There is no photoshop. Starting with a good image does more than any post processing can ahieve. In my opinion, you need to start with a good image. Which starts with a great gear and a good eye.
SHOOTING AND ORGANIZATION
I shoot in RAW and adjust the temperature, ISO and exposure in live view manually – for the most part. I have found that I nail my WB, ISO and exposure doing it this way. It’s slower, yes. But I only have to do it with each new setting and then I’m good to go. I just like it that way, so I’m set. When it comes to post processing, I first cull images and organize B&W from color in Photo Mechanic. this program has changed my life. literally. I know there’s a way you can cull in LR but I cant get it out of my mind that it’s super slow to cull, so with PM I can cull a shoot in no time – as well as enter all the meta data and copyrights. love that program. i keep the RAW culled images on external hard drives even after finishing a shoot, so I can go back if i ever so choose and re-edit images according to what processing I’m using at that time.
I used to edit with Alien Skin. but no more. i really didnt think I’d switch over – but once I got to playing around with VSCO, I was sold. I made my own presets from a few of theirs I liked and now I use those few (color and B&W) I’ve made 100% for my images. I really dont have to adjust all that much with them, now that I’ve done the work to get them starting at where I want. I think its absolutely a combination of shooting the image in camera how you want it, that is something I focus the most on. i rarely have to crop, adjust level or anything – and if i do, it’s as minimal as possible. cropping is from the devil himself. i save myself SO much time by shooting it IN CAMERA how I want the image and then post processing becomes something that I am just enhancing the image, not completely altering it. with VSCO, I finish with a polished but not overdone image. on some images, I mess with curves and toning, but only on a few. I love love using VSCO, it has cut my post down so much and it’s completely done in LR which keeps my workflow as fast as it can be.
I EDIT WITH: my own presets I’ve made in VSCO 01. Presets based off of Fuji 400. I own VSCO 02 and 03, but mainly stick to 01.
I actually did a video walkthrough on my editing process on VSCO’s site. check it out HERE.
i guess there is a secret sauce. and it’s not anything that anyone can explain. that’s the thing that keeps us as individual artists.
we are different and no matter how much I tell about what I do, no one will make images like mine and I’ll never be able to make an image like another.
the thing that taught me the most is shooting a crazy ton. shooting more than anything else. experimenting both shooting and in post processing. and just not being afraid to have no idea what you’re doing, yet still getting out there.
i hope this shed some light on the secret world of post processing. i really truly think it first starts with getting a good image – from there, it’s just your taste for how you see it coming out as a polished image. to each their own.