Post Processing: Before & After


I get a lot of questions on how much post processing I do after getting home from a shoot. The truth is it varies drastically from shot to shot. I have processed some pictures in 5 minutes and others in 5 hours. I'll give a quick run down with each of the next shots on the tools I used to process them.

Each one of the Before Shots is straight out of the camera with zero adjustments at 0EV or normal exposure. It is of course exported to Jpeg from RAW format. If you don't like post processing, escape while you can.

If you would like to learn how to process shots like these, I offer One on One Personal Instruction over Skype & Google+ applications. Check out the One on One Personal Instruction Page for more info.

Want a few more tips on post processing HDR Photography, my HDR Tips & Tricks Page may be just what you're looking for. I also use tons of software when I process photos & two of my favorites are Topaz Labs or HDR Soft the Makers of Photomatix. If you would like a discount when purchasing either of these packages just use the coupon code DAVEMORROWPHOTO when checking out to receive 15% off:)

In the past few months I have learned to use Tony Kuyper' Luminosity Masks & Actions to produce a hand blended HDR Image. This process allows me to fully unleash the all of the data contained in my RAW files.You can head over to his Luminosity Mask Actions Page and select the "Special Offers" Link at the top of the page. Photomatix is still used from time to time depending on the situation, but I would highly recommend adding both to your post processing arsenal.

As always, all my tutorials can be found at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com/learnphotography


 Before the Magic

The Final Product
Nothing's Shocking - Ruby Beach, WACheck out my FREE Star Photography Tutorial  and  Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial  Ready to learn star photography? Trust me it's easier than you think. Check out the link below for my summer star photography workshops, where I will teach you everything you need to know.  Under the Stars Night Photography Workshops

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Pick up my Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial to watch me process this exact shot from start to finish.

Lightroom 4:
  • White balance adjustment
  • Export two separate JPEG files, both from the same RAW file.

Photoshop 5:
  • Use secret magic and trademarked secrets to blend two JPEG files into 1 nicely exposed PSD.
  •  Use Tony Kuypers Luminosity Masking Actions & Techniques on midtones, darks and lights to bring out full detail contained in the file.
  • Color Balance for small color adjustments in the sky.
  • High Pass Filter on Soft Light blend mode to sharpen entire image for stars only.
  • Nik Define for local denoise in dark regions only.
  • Final luminosity mask adjustments
  • Add slight Vignette using OnOne Perfect Photo Suite
  • Save as Jpeg.

 Before the Magic

The Final Product 
The Hidden Grotto - Ruckel Creek, ORfrom www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Pick up my Luminosity Masking Video Tutorial to learn the techniques I used to process this shot.

Lightroom 4:
  • White balance adjustment for a single JPEG file.
Photoshop CS6:
Before the Magic
 

The Final Product
Lost in Iceland

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Pick up my Luminosity Masking Video Tutorial to learn the techniques I used to process this shot.

Lightroom 4:
  • White balance adjustment for 0EV Jpeg file.
  • Sync -2EV and +2EV with the 0EV Jpeg file in LR4.
Photoshop CS6:
Before the Magic

The Final Product
Day Break

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Lightroom 4:
  • Minor white balance and contrast adjustment.

Photomatix:
  • Process 9 exposures in -4EV to 4 EV.

Photoshop 5:
  • Blend Photomatix layer with 9 exposures -4EV to 4EV to bring out dynamic range.
  • Lumonsity Masks on midtones, darks and lights to bring out detail and saturation.
  • Saturation masks(to desaturate) & Vibrance masks(to saturate).
  • Color Balance for small color adjustments in the sky.
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast (I'm in love).
  • High Pass Filter on Soft Light blend mode to sharpen entire image.
  • Slight Motion Blend Filter on clouds to remove minor noise and provide movement.
  • Nik Define for local denoise.
  • Save as Jpeg.


Before the Magic

The Final Product
The Wind & The Door

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Lightroom 4:
  • Minor white balance and contrast adjustment.
  • Clarity and Sharpen Sliders.
  • Minor Saturation boost.

Photomatix:
  • Process 7 exposures in -3EV to 3 EV

Photoshop 5:
  • Blend Photomatix layer with 7 exposures -3EV to 3EV to bring out dynamic range.
  • Lumonsity Masks on midtones, darks and lights to bring out detail and saturation.
  • Vibrance masks to saturate green grass and blue clouds.
  • Nik Remask to select light house for local adjustments.
  • Local desaturation and exposure adjustment on lighthouse. 
  • Color balance to bring out the red in the lighthouse door.
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast (What would I do without it).
  • High Pass Filter on Soft Light blend mode to sharpen entire image.
  • Radial Blur Filter on clouds to make the lighthouse pop off the screen.
  • Nik Define for locale denoise.
  • Save as Jpeg.



Before the Magic

The Final Product
A Night at the Fairmont


Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Lightroom 4:
  • Minor white balance and contrast adjustment.
  • Sharpen Slider.

Photomatix:
  • Process 7 exposures in -3EV to 3 EV.

Photoshop 5:
  • Blend Photomatix layer with 7 exposures -3EV to 3EV to bring out dynamic range.
  • Lumonsity Masks on midtones, darks and lights to bring out detail and saturation.
  • Nik Remask to select multiple different regions of the picture.
  • Color balance and vibrance/saturation adjustment on locally masked areas.
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast (Do you ever not use this?).
  • Global Vibrance boost.
  • High Pass Filter on Soft Light blend mode to sharpen entire image.
  • Nik Define for locale denoise.
  • Save as Jpeg.



Before the Magic

The Final Product
The Hive

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Lightroom 4:
  • Minor white balance and contrast adjustment.

Photomatix:
  • Process 7 exposures in -3EV to 3 EV.

Photoshop 6:
  • Blend Photomatix layer with 7 exposures -3EV to 3EV to bring out dynamic range.
  • Duplicate image layer.
  • Apply Nik Silver Efex Pro to one of the layers.
  • Selectively mask in colored and black and white layers. 
  • Color balance and vibrance/saturation adjustment on locally masked areas.
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast.
  • Minor local desaturation and contrast adjustments.
  • High Pass Filter on Soft Light blend mode to sharpen entire image.
  • Nik Define for locale denoise.
  • Save as Jpeg.


Before the Magic

The Final Product
Dear New York

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Lightroom 4:
  • Contrast sliders.
  • Highlights, shadows, lights & blacks slider adjustments.
  • Saturation and luminosity BIG-time on yellows & blues.

Photomatix:
  • NONE, I repeat, NONE

Photoshop 6:
  • Lumonsity Masks on midtones, darks and lights to bring out detail and saturation.
  • Color balance and vibrance/saturation adjustment on locally masked areas.
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast.
  • Global Vibrance boost and local saturation"painting".
  • High Pass Filter on Soft Light blend mode to sharpen entire image.
  • Save as Jpeg.

Before the Magic


The Final Product
Old Friend

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Lightroom 4:
  • Minor white balance and contrast adjustment.
  • Clarity and Sharpen Sliders.
  • Minor Saturation boost.
  • Export 7 exposures + 1 extra slightly adjusted exposure for the sky only.

Photomatix:
  • Process 7 exposures in -3EV to 3 EV.

Photoshop 6:
  • Blend Photomatix layer with 7 exposures -3EV to 3EV to bring out dynamic range.
  • Mask sky layer into current base layer. 
  • Lumonsity Masks on midtones, darks and lights to bring out detail and saturation.
  • Vibrance masks and saturation "painting" on the clouds and sky.
  • Local desaturation on reds/oranges.
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast.
  • High Pass Filter on Soft Light blend mode to sharpen entire image, minus the water.
  • A secret patented trick on the water to make it move.
  • Nik Define for locale denoise.
  • Save as Jpeg.

Before the Magic

The Final Product
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

Processing Technique for the Picture Above:

Pick up my Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial to watch me process one of my Milky Way pictures from start to finish. I also provide full commentary, tips, tricks and skill sets throughout the tutorial. 

Lightroom 4:
  • White balance adjustment
  • Export two separate TIFF files, both from the same RAW file one adjusting sky and the other for the foreground.

Photoshop 6:
  • Use secret magic and trademarked secrets to blend two TIFF files into 1 nicely exposed PSD.
  •  Use Tony Kuypers Luminosity Masking Actions & Techniques on midtones, darks and lights to bring out full detail contained in the file. Especially the stars
  • Color balance for RED channel and BLUE channels.
  • High Pass Filter on Soft Light blend mode to sharpen entire image for stars only.
  • Nik Define for local denoise in dark regions only.
  • Final luminosity mask adjustments
  • Add slight Vignette using OnOne Perfect Photo Suite
  • Save as Jpeg.

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