Over processing....

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#1
All,

Am I the only one that feels like they over process their images, simply because we have the facility to do so?

I do not edit my sport photographs a lot, but seem to really go to town on my portrait work - to little gain in my opinion... I am trying to find a style and when I see video tutorials, I see a lot of editing - leading me to think that it's necessary to do so much.

Anyone else?
 
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Name
Stu
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#2
I think over processing is in fashion at the moment, it creates eye catching photos which in turn creates a lot of likes on social media. Instagram is the most to blame for this! Some of the photos on there are a country mile from how they looked on the back of camera...
 
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Stuart
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#4
I can't wait until this current trend of desaturating everything has passed. I'm jut praying that it doesn't go to the other end of the slider next!
Isn't that called black and white :LOL:

In all seriousness....... editing software is great, its knowing when to use it to the benefit of an image rather than the detriment.
 
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droj
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#5
Undoubtedly a lot of photographs these days are over-processed, but if I see one like that I move on quickly and don't waste time looking at it. To over-process is a novice's mistake. The wielding of superfluous techniques doesn't necessarily add meaning to an image, it'll more often reduce it. What I hope to see generally is pictures that are meaningful in some way, but if meaning's thin at least they should be aesthetically competent.
 
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stuart
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#6
All,

Am I the only one that feels like they over process their images, simply because we have the facility to do so?

I do not edit my sport photographs a lot, but seem to really go to town on my portrait work - to little gain in my opinion... I am trying to find a style and when I see video tutorials, I see a lot of editing - leading me to think that it's necessary to do so much.

Anyone else?
you should find you style with camera in hand not keyboard and mouse
 
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Tom
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#7
Non-photography people love it. On Facebook I am a member of a Lake District group.

Some photographers post absolutely stunning images, processed properly and it will get, say 350 likes.

Someone else posts a cr*p noisy as hell over processed and over saturated mess and it can get 1,500 likes. Seen it happen a number of times. They just seem to love anything with bright, stand out colours.

I don’t often purpose over process something but I know what you mean.
 
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Graham
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#8
I can't wait until this current trend of desaturating everything has passed. I'm jut praying that it doesn't go to the other end of the slider next!
I got into a habit of shooting Fuji cameras on Fuji Chrome with saturation turned down and blacks darkened a bit. I really liked this look for months. Wasn't post processing as such. But I'm starting to loathe it now. Becomes really samey after a while.

Fuji Chrome
by G.A.D, on Flickr
 
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Simon
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#9
All,

Am I the only one that feels like they over process their images, simply because we have the facility to do so?

I do not edit my sport photographs a lot, but seem to really go to town on my portrait work - to little gain in my opinion... I am trying to find a style and when I see video tutorials, I see a lot of editing - leading me to think that it's necessary to do so much.

Anyone else?
It depends entirely who and what the image is for.
Some of my stuff barely gets a tickle; other images will get several hours work.

Processing serves lots of different purposes..
1. Correcting composition errors .. cropping, cloning, etc
2. Fixing lighting errors .. the ubiquitous dodging & burning or skin smoothing
3. Solving problems which couldn't conveniently be tackled any other way, e.g. extending backdrops
4. Basic retouching - e.g. removing unwanted features, improving skin tone

Then we get on to the creative stuff.. that's where it's tempting to go really mad
5. Micro & macro contrast work
6. Colour grading
7. Compositing
8. High end retouching
9. Effects - grain, vignettes etc

@toohuge, which of these do you think you do too much of?

I'm not sure whether I'm vaguely consistent or have just developed some habits. These days I tend to have some idea of how I'll process an image before I open the shutter.
 
OP
OP
T
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230
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#11
I think over processing is in fashion at the moment, it creates eye catching photos which in turn creates a lot of likes on social media. Instagram is the most to blame for this! Some of the photos on there are a country mile from how they looked on the back of camera...
Agreed - I think that as I am relatively new to the scene, I think that social media likes / instagram is what youngsters are looking for - for perspective, I am a mature student at University so my audience is largely instagram / social media driven.
 
OP
OP
T
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#12
Undoubtedly a lot of photographs these days are over-processed, but if I see one like that I move on quickly and don't waste time looking at it. To over-process is a novice's mistake. The wielding of superfluous techniques doesn't necessarily add meaning to an image, it'll more often reduce it. What I hope to see generally is pictures that are meaningful in some way, but if meaning's thin at least they should be aesthetically competent.
Thank you droj - I am definitely guilty of over processing my images, to the point that I am not happy with them :D It's nuts and shows a lack of confidence on my part re. my style.

I tend to edit as I think I should be - I work really hard to get it to look good on the back of the camera.
 
OP
OP
T
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#14
It depends entirely who and what the image is for.
Some of my stuff barely gets a tickle; other images will get several hours work.

Processing serves lots of different purposes..
1. Correcting composition errors .. cropping, cloning, etc
2. Fixing lighting errors .. the ubiquitous dodging & burning or skin smoothing
3. Solving problems which couldn't conveniently be tackled any other way, e.g. extending backdrops
4. Basic retouching - e.g. removing unwanted features, improving skin tone

Then we get on to the creative stuff.. that's where it's tempting to go really mad
5. Micro & macro contrast work
6. Colour grading
7. Compositing
8. High end retouching
9. Effects - grain, vignettes etc

@toohuge, which of these do you think you do too much of?

I'm not sure whether I'm vaguely consistent or have just developed some habits. These days I tend to have some idea of how I'll process an image before I open the shutter.
Thanks juggler.

Firstly - love your work. Totally sensational, truly inspirational.

It is more points 5 through 9, I tend to over do the spilt toning and adjust the tone curve - because I have seen it on youtube tutorials. I have tried some presets too, film etc. all off the back of watching these tutorials that suggest this is what needs to be done.

I feel like in points 5-9 I go mad, because I think that's what needs to be done... I am seriously considering shooting film instead - avoid this temptation!

It all boils down to a lack of confidence I think - I don't know what looks good or not - if that makes sense?
 
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Redsnappa
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#15
Everyone jumps of the over processing bandwagon because it is fashionable to do so. Photographers need to realise that It is just as bad to under process your photographs.

We have all seen pictures where a simple crop or clone would have removed a highly distracting object also where pictures have been inadvertently taken on a slant but not corrected, again this which is an easy fix.
 
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Simon
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#16
Thanks juggler.

Firstly - love your work. Totally sensational, truly inspirational.

It is more points 5 through 9, I tend to over do the spilt toning and adjust the tone curve - because I have seen it on youtube tutorials. I have tried some presets too, film etc. all off the back of watching these tutorials that suggest this is what needs to be done.

I feel like in points 5-9 I go mad, because I think that's what needs to be done... I am seriously considering shooting film instead - avoid this temptation!

It all boils down to a lack of confidence I think - I don't know what looks good or not - if that makes sense?
Thank you!

Maybe.. instead of playing about until you find something you like, try being analytical about what you're trying to achieve? Some folk are purely intuitive but most photographers would benefit from a more thorough understanding of what they're doing - myself included.

e.g. only add contrast if you want more drama, only tone if you have a reason to do so, only retouch if you're creating magazine-worthy portfolio shots

I usually only tone to unify a palette or emphasise complementary colours. At least - that's my approach this week ;)

Apart from that - post for critique, read / watch other critique, compare your own stuff to things you like and analyse it to death. It seems to be working for me anyway.
 
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Chris
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#17
Mostly I process my images quickly, often just tweaking the jpeg, which most of the time is good enough. But sometimes I'll spend many hours on an image, sometimes using different editors/RAW processors to compare results. It's usually wasted time considering that my best efforts after many hours are often not much better than what I can do in ten minutes, but on the other hand it's not really image processing time, it's learning time. I discover and learn new techniques, compare different editors, etc.. That's why I can go back now and reprocess favourite images I spent a long time on five years ago, and improve them.
 
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Ian
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#18
instead of playing about until you find something you like, try being analytical about what you're trying to achieve?
This. A thousand times this.

Ranty spoil...
PP is getting more and more accessible (just as photography has when it went digital) Apps make it easy. Hell - my wife murders the portraits I do of her for Instagram with the photoshop app. Super skin smooth. Tap. Done. It has instant appeal. It's different. But it's easy. So so easy.

But at the end of the day - it's about what you want to achieve. Do you look at your over saturated photo, or the B&W with the red popped umbrella, or the HDR that looks like a cartoon, or the B&W with Clarity pushed too far and say to yourself "Gee, I *love* that image". If you do, then fair play - and good for you! If you're doing it for a client (or likes) and you get good feedback - that's great too. Or maybe (like it was for me) it's part of your journey and you need to do it & get it out of your system.

But doing it just because you can smacks of uninspired direction. "How do I polish this t...?"
 
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#19
We all get inundated with spurious advice about photographs. The two that annoy me the most are comments on how sharp an image is (or how soft) as if sharpness is what makes or breaks a picture. The other is 'pop' which I do not really understand but I get the impression that 'pop' is very important to many people. These two lead some to push sliders in Lightroom, Photoshop or whatever, over to the right as far as they will go.

Personally, I only sharpen my images very slightly and then use Lightroom's masking feature so only the parts that need sharpening get sharpened. I never increase saturation and most of the sliders that are available in Lightroom I have never yet touched. Noise just does not bother me so I leave it alone.
 
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Simon
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#20
The other is 'pop' which I do not really understand but I get the impression that 'pop' is very important to many people.
'Pop' is often interpreted as local or tonal contrast which leads folk to wang the clarity up. I'm not sure but I think it's more to do with the figure-ground relationship than anything else.
 
OP
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T
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#23
Thank you all for your valued contributions!

It is clear that I need to spend more time figuring out what I want to achieve and not going at this blindly - I admit that was my approach on this shoot and has prompted this thread as a result!

I appreciate all of the advice given - and thank you Juggler - your suggestion of being analytical of what I am trying to achieve is a much better approach to this than blind luck. I know it seems simple, but it takes someone to say it!

Many thanks to all that contributed. It has been hugely helpful.

Chris
 
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droj
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#24
Indeed some people evolve a 'style', and it might be a marketable commodity, but is 'style' what you really want? I only ask because it seems to me that style isn't the same as content (unless it has become the content) - in other words you could have an image with great 'style' that is fairly devoid of meaning, apart from being stylish.

Of course we all need technique, but I feel that technique should be the servant of the message and not the cuckoo in the nest that shoulders meaning out. In which case you might reflect on what you're hoping to convey.

What we do needs integrity, and that to me is far more important than being flashy or famous - there's over much of those about already.

Forget style as such - think meaning. Think human.
 
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#25
Indeed some people evolve a 'style', and it might be a marketable commodity, but is 'style' what you really want? I only ask because it seems to me that style isn't the same as content (unless it has become the content) - in other words you could have an image with great 'style' that is fairly devoid of meaning, apart from being stylish.

Of course we all need technique, but I feel that technique should be the servant of the message and not the cuckoo in the nest that shoulders meaning out. In which case you might reflect on what you're hoping to convey.
Surely style is your method of showing the content. Once you have been producing photographs for a while it will be impossible for you not to have a style.
 
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droj
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#26
Surely style is your method of showing the content. Once you have been producing photographs for a while it will be impossible for you not to have a style.
Yes, John, that'll often be so, but I had the op in mind since he seemed to be groping a bit for purpose.
 
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#27
New hobbies have virtually stopped all PP and I’m enjoying photography a lot more but used to like messing with PP
but Don’t miss it now.

As long as it doesn’t become a stress or a chore just experiment till you find satisfaction
 
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Dominic
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#30
Indeed some people evolve a 'style', and it might be a marketable commodity, but is 'style' what you really want? I only ask because it seems to me that style isn't the same as content (unless it has become the content) - in other words you could have an image with great 'style' that is fairly devoid of meaning, apart from being stylish.

Of course we all need technique, but I feel that technique should be the servant of the message and not the cuckoo in the nest that shoulders meaning out. In which case you might reflect on what you're hoping to convey.

What we do needs integrity, and that to me is far more important than being flashy or famous - there's over much of those about already.

Forget style as such - think meaning. Think human.
This is what I try to get in my photos (it doesn't always turn out how I hoped for).
For me there are times to stylize (not sure if that's the correct spelling) a photo, but it must have some content and the styling should fit that content. What would be the point of giving a photo that old film look, if the subject is modern.
 
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Duncan
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#31
I take a lot of sport photos as a hobby for running events as well as the local hockey club for the club and the local paper. The photos are posted on Facebook and Flickr and I purposely over process (using my own derived presets as a batch) to stand out on mobile phones. As said above, it's what people want to see on social media, so I process for the audience not my own tastes.
 
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droj
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#32
The quest for popularity and / or commercial success might be the enemy of integrity and meaning.

Murdoch for instance has made several fortunes from his media empire's giving people what they apparently want, but it's been driven to serve his own self-interest - has he elevated culture and civilisation or debased them?
 
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Keith
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#34
This is kind of amusing, people on here actually think over or under processing is some new trend? Where were you during the horrendous HDR era? or the 'Pump contrast and shadows ALL the way up, and highlights ALL the way down on EVERY image, ever" phase?

I process every single image I plan on saving individually. I don't use other people's crappy 'Luts' or presets, I don't try to process like such and such .... I just move sliders until 'I' am satisfied. Most seem to like the results. I feel like I get better each year. You'll never see me 'crush blacks' or go all out Teal & orange though ... *shudder*
 
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#35
This is kind of amusing, people on here actually think over or under processing is some new trend? Where were you during the horrendous HDR era? or the 'Pump contrast and shadows ALL the way up, and highlights ALL the way down on EVERY image, ever" phase?

I process every single image I plan on saving individually. I don't use other people's crappy 'Luts' or presets, I don't try to process like such and such .... I just move sliders until 'I' am satisfied. Most seem to like the results. I feel like I get better each year. You'll never see me 'crush blacks' or go all out Teal & orange though ... *shudder*
I always knew you had good taste like myself :D
 
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Tony
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#36
Photography only plays small part of my work, the only thing I do is correct exposure (most of the jobs are in restaurants at night where I cannot use flash or lights). I saw a video in here of a landscape being heavily worked on in Lightroom, until I saw this I did not even know Lightroom had those capabilities!!

I have been questioning myself as to wether I am doing it all wrong and if I need to learn more about post processing. It is good to read some of these comments!!
 
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Terry
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#37
I am playing to a very small audience...mostly just myself. As with film the greatest benefit is in lighting and choice of viewpoint.
Processing can help in rectifying shortcomings in these to some extent. But there is little point trying to make a rainy day to look like a sunny one.
Face retouching might seem necessary, but i hate the overall plastic skin syndrome.
Correcting colour balance Dodging and burning are my tools of choice, with perhaps the use of curves and judicious output sharpening following close behind.
I will also correct verticles and horizons where necessary. But the straighter you hold the camera the less this is a problem.
I very rarely tinker with saturation, except to reduce it in intrusive objects,
 
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