All About Post Processing [IP39]

In this week's episode we talk all about Post Processing. Join Jim and Dustin for Dustin's final episode on the Improve Photography Podcast.

[1:34] Input devices for photo editing: Do you recommend anything in particular (wireless mouse, trackpad, digital pad and pen, etc)?

Dustin uses the Wacom tablet. It's very responsive. His second choice would be an Apple trackpad. Some people like the Monoprice tablet a lot, but we haven't had much success with it here in the office. Check our our review here. It is an inexpensive option so you might check it out anyway.

Jim prefers to use a good old mouse. He doesn't feel that the Apple trackpad is accurate enough for photo editing. Jim prefers the Logitech G400s Optical Gaming Mouse. The thing he really likes about it is that it has 4000 dpi so when you're doing really fine details, you can get exactly where you want to be.

[5:35] Photoshop CS5 won't open the RAW files from my camera – it says the camera model is not supported by the installed version of Camera Raw. What do I need to do?

Unfortunately, there isn't an update for CS5 that will allow you to open these files. If you want to use a camera that was announced after Adobe releases a version of their software, you have to update to a version of their product that came out AFTER the camera was announced. This means that for files created by the newest cameras, you will need the newest version of Adobe software.

If you are a member of the Creative Cloud, this is a non-issue for you because you always have access to the most recent versions of Adobe products.

Speaking of Creative Cloud: Adobe announced that you can get Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99/month, but there are a few catches. First of all, you have to have purchased a boxed version of Photoshop CS3 or later to qualify for this discount. Second, this is a limited time promotion and not a long-term price. You can expect to be charged the full amount for your subscription after the promotion ends.

[9:26] How do I delete all the copies of my photos that iPhoto has created?

First, let's talk about backing up the photos you still want to keep. It's important that you make a copy of any photos you want to hang on to before you delete them from your iPhoto library (otherwise they will be gone forever). Burning a disc from your computer (onto a writable or re-writable disc) is not a good long term solution. These discs are made to be inexpensive and don't last more than about 4 years. This is different from a commercially produced disc – if you buy a Disney movie, for instance, that disc is going to last for a long time. But the ones you can buy to burn with your own computer are not made for longevity. Think about other storage options (like an external hard drive for instance) instead.

After you've made a backup of the files you want to keep, go ahead and just delete the events that you no longer want to keep in your iPhoto library. Deleting the event will delete all the images from that event. Check out this article from Apple for instructions for doing this.

[12:30] Is there a way to keep my geotagging and face recognition data if I switch from iPhoto to another program?

The face recognition in iPhoto is something that is exclusive to iPhoto and Aperture, so most likely you won't be able to find anything that will reliably transfer this data to another piece of photo management/editing software.

However, geotagging is something that you can transfer with your photos. In iPhoto, select the photos you want to export and choose Export from the File menu. This will bring up a dialogue box that allows you to select options for exporting – one of those options is the geotag information (location data). This includes the location data in the metadata of the image, so when you import your images into a different piece of software the geotag information will be included.

[16:58] A quick word on using a referenced library.

Aperture and Lightroom use a referenced library. This means that the photos are stored wherever you physically put the pictures. Then you “import” them into your library using the import dialogue box. But instead of actually importing, you are simply just adding it to your library (click add instead of move or copy). The advantage of using this referenced library is that you don't have to have multiple copies of the photo. There is only one image file, but there is a tiny database entry that keeps the specifics of what changes you have made. This way you can have as many different changes as you want (lots of different versions) and the changes you look at are exported with the photo when you use the “Export” dialogue.

One important thing to note is that if you are using a referenced library, you need to make all changes to your photo in the library (even things like the name of the file) – otherwise, the database gets messed up.

iPhoto has the ability to use a referenced library, but it is a royal pain to set up. Here at Improve Photography, we say “Friends don't let friends use the iPhoto referenced library.”

Something really nice about using iPhoto or Aperture is that they let you access your photos directly from your iPhone or iPad without having to email or text them to yourself.

[22:15] What is the best way to shoot 200+ pieces of clothing in a single day and still get good quality shots?

This is an ideal situation for tethered shooting. Tethered shooting is when you shoot from the camera connected directly to the computer (usually with a wire) and your images go right into your photo editing software. This is great because then you can see the image full-screen right after you take it. It also allows you to make edits in real time (while one person moves the clothing, another is applying a filter or two to the image that was just taken). To do tethered shooting, you get the wire to connect your camera to your computer, plug it in, open your image editing software, and choose the option for tethered shooting. Lightroom is a great solution for this situation.

Laying clothing on the floor doesn't allow it to hang naturally, so it's important to discuss with the client whether these articles should be laid on the floor or hung on the wall for the photos.

When it comes to lighting, it is preferable to put two lights on the background to give even lighting and then use a ring flash to light the clothing. This will help get rid of any shadows. If you're using speedlights and you'd like to pick up the pace of each photo, turn down the flash power and instead use the settings on your camera (ISO, shutter speed, aperture) to get a correct exposure. When your flash power is lower, the speedlight can recycle faster which will speed up the process of assembly line shooting.

[29:56] How can I get skin tones accurate in post processing?

Skin tones can be tough. Everyone has a different tone to their skin. There's no scientific method we can give you for correcting skin tones. The “right” skin tone is the one that you think looks the best. If you use the scientific approach and use a grey card, almost always the person will look like they belong in the morgue.

One trick is to use a mask and the selective color in Photoshop to adjust the individual color channels. This allows you to turn up or down a specific tone. Commonly, problems with skin tones are caused by using the saturation slider instead of the vibrance slider to add color to your photo. The vibrance slider makes more subtle changes to skin tones. (These are topics we cover in our Photoshop classes – check those out if you're interested in learning more.)

[36:18] Can I save time and energy by shooting in JPEG instead of RAW?

Dustin says for very important events (paid shoots for example), shoot in RAW. For weddings, shoot in RAW and JPEG. Jim, however, always shoots in RAW simply because he wants the flexibility that RAW provides.

The only advantage to shooting in RAW is if you post-process your photos. If you're not interested in doing post-processing, then there's no reason to shoot in RAW. There's nothing wrong with shooting in JPEG; you will still get great pictures.

[40:40] What do I need to know about resolution when prepping my photos for my website?

A little Google tip: the faster your site loads, the higher it ranks in the Google search results.

For social media and other sharing websites, the photos will be sized down for you. But for your own website, Dustin suggests sizing the longest side down to 900px. Also, to keep load time down on your site, use the “Save for web and devices” option in Photoshop and set it to around 65-70. This will optimize the photo and you won't lose quality (especially when the photo is being viewed on a screen). This setting reduces the file size by almost half. If you have the habit of adding too much sharpness to your photos, you will see that the file size is much larger than your unsharpened photo.

Resolution makes no difference when you are viewing the photos on a screen. It only makes a difference when you are printing the photo.

Regarding file type: most of time for photos, you're going to want to use JPEG. If you put up something like a TIFF, that will take a long time to load. A PNG is really nice for your logo because PNGs can do transparency while JPEGs can't.

[48:30] Doodads of the Week

Dustin's doodad of the week is MyPublisher. This is a place to get your photos made into a printed book.

Jim's other doodad of the week is less of a doodad and more of a free training course. Jim and Dustin have been working on a series of posts all about lighting!!! This is not nearly as in-depth as our Portrait Lighting Class, but if you're just getting started in flash photography this is a great place to start. Check it out!

[56:00] Prizes for reviews!

The winner is Rusty Ugly Things. If that's your username on iTunes, email us at [email protected] to get your free online photography class.

To be entered to win the online photography class each week, simply go to this podcast on iTunes and write a one or two sentence review. While they appreciate a a 5-star review, any review will get you entered to win a class for free (a $98 value).

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29 thoughts on “All About Post Processing [IP39]”

  1. I’m sorry but I think you’re wrong on the [5:35] photoshop issue. The user just has to download the adobe DNG converter, concert the native raw file to DNG, and then open it in photoshop. DNG is still RAW.

    1. Micah – Converting to DNG is an option, but most photographers prefer not to go through the two-step process and have to change to a different file format…. which I’m guessing is why he asked the question. But it would have been good to mention that as a plan B. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. WHAT?!?! No more Dusty O?! I was heart broken when I heard the news this morning. 🙁 Dustin, I wish you the best and hope to see/hear more from you. You have helped me through several issues in the Photoshop classes and offered invaluable advice through the podcasts and emails. You will be missed! Gook luck on all future endeavors.

    1. Amy!
      Thanks for your comment! It was a pleasure helping your (and so many others) with photography and photoshop.

      I wish you the best as well and that you’re able to see your new skills in photography continue to improve and see success.

  3. Regarding the question at 12:30 (guy wants to upgrade from iPhoto to Aperture or Lightroom without losing face and geo information)

    The right answer is: Upgrade to Aperture

    Aperture reads iPhoto files directly and retains all settings and processing. It is a 100% seamless transition. No export required.

    Also, let me add that iPhoto and Aperture can BOTH use managed or referenced libraries.

    1. @Don Pope – I’m not sure there is a RIGHT answer to this question. It’s really a matter of opinion, isn’t it?

  4. I’m with Don on upgrading to Aperture. I really like Aperture except that I’m really hoping (with the rest of the Apple-loving fans) that they come out with an upgrade soon!

    As for Dustin leaving… That was a surprise! We’re going to miss him! It just won’t be the same without him, but we do wish him lots of well wishes for wherever he is heading off to!

    1. @Carl – Dustin is starting a web design company. We’ll link over to his new site as soon as he’s up and running.

  5. Jim,
    I really like the choice of ball head you picked for your doodad. I bought it’s big brother the K-30X a few weeks ago. My intent when I went in to the camera shop was to buy the Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head which is an amazing piece of equipment, but I always like to look around at other options. I compared all the top brands of similar specs, and was amazed at the Sirui, which I almost passed over due to the low price. The salesman brought it to my attention and said it had essentially the same specs. I stuck it on my tripod, and I was sold. It was a quarter or less the price of those other major brands, and it is rock solid and works smooth as butter. It is every bit as nice as the RRS ball head I went in for, and I love it!

  6. Hi Jim and Dustin
    You mention in your podcast the photoshop cc/lightroom for photographers option for 9.99$ and claim that its just a limited time promotion. That’s not correct: Adobe several times publicly stated that folks who subscribe to that option before the expiry date will KEEP that price, no change planned (long term).
    Thanks for your really great podcasts, and it’s sad that dustio leaves the team!

    1. @Phillip Jent – Thanks for the comment. I’ll look into this. It’s different from the info I received.

  7. Bummer! Now who will represent the Apple users?! 🙂
    I’ll miss you on the podcast, Dustin. Thank you for all your advice and input. It has been very helpful with my photography.

    1. @Melody J. – You have nothing to fear. Dustin converted me (mostly…) to Apple before leaving. I now use a Macbook Pro and an iMac 🙂

    2. @Melody – I did all I could with Jim! 🙂 But he’s done really well at using the MacBook Pro, iMac, and iPad.

      I’m glad to hear you’ve seen an improvement in your photography by listening to the podcast!

      Happy shooting!

  8. Am I the only one that is dying to know what Dustin is heading off to do? Whatever it is, I wish him best of luck! I will miss his contribution to the site and podcast.

    1. @Brian – I’m working with small businesses to enhance their websites with new designs and effective eCommerce.

      I’ll also be apart of the photography industry working with local clients and the occasional reappearance on the podcast. 🙂

      Thanks for listening to the podcast!

  9. Dustin,

    i will miss you and your dry sense of humor on the podcast. I will also miss you sharing your vast knowledge of photography and post-processing.

    I thank you for your helpful comments on my photos that I submitted for class. I am really working on the lighting!

    I wish you all the best in your future endeavor. I am sure you are going to have much success!

  10. Dustin, many thanks for your contributions over the last year, and I hope your new venture is a great success.

  11. Just wanted to add my best wishes to Dustin as he departs. Always enjoyed your insights and the interplay with Jim. It is also incredibly refreshing to see partners go separate ways without losing the friendship that developed between them. Jim, looking forward to seeing where the podcast goes from here, it’s been one of my favorites since discovering it. Thank you both for such quality work.

  12. Jim

    Aperture 3 uses the same library as iPhoto and will retain all the Location and Faces data. Aperture is a terrific program and if he wishes to seamlessly convert, it is the obvious choice.

    Dustin, good luck on your future endeavors

  13. Dustin,
    “New opportunities only come to those who show potential, promise and perfection. Congratulations for having all three.”

    Thank you Dustin for everything, your insight and knowledge have helped me greatly! Best of luck to you.

  14. Thank you guys for a great podcast.
    and the portrait course was great as well.
    Dusty-O will be fine, guys like you are always in demand.
    Jim, keep it up, now you have to work harder…. 🙂
    congrats to both!

  15. Dusty O! So sad you’ll be leaving. You will be missed, and good luck with the new web design company. I’m sure you will do great and I look forward to hearing updates. Go Apple!! 🙂

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