Post-Processing vs Workflow

October 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Hello all..sorry for the long pause from the previous post. I've been busy with a variety of projects, most of which are finally winding down especially wedding season. I've gotten a few emails about two terms I use frequently on this BLOG "Workflow & Post Processing" so I'm posting the answer here...maybe I should start a Frequently Asked Questions page.

First, those two terms are not mutually exclusive. Post Processing is a part of Workflow.

Workflow simply put are the steps you take to capture, store, edit and output an image. The same applies to video work as well. Post Processing is a fancy term that fits into the "editing" part of workflow.

For example..the image of Takakkaw Falls below.

Takakkaw Falls, British Columbia | Fujifilm X-Pro2 W/XF10-24mm F4 R OIS Wide Angle Zoom Lens

The Image on the left is what's called a "RAW" file. Think of it as a digital version of a negative from those old film cameras. In my case, the RAW file was taken with a Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera that was set to record minimal color, contrast and sharpening. I wanted the most neutral negative I could capture mainly because it was a heavily overcast day without any strong directional light. It definitely wasn't ideal for landscape photography that day but I was in a particular place for the first and possibly last time. You won't always get a "do-over" so you make the best of the situation. I knew that once I returned home the post-processing techniques I use would give me a good representative picture of what my eyes saw.

My "Workflow started the moment I selected the camera, lens, etc. right through to importing the images to my workstation..there are things that happen while I go off for a drink or two. Names, Keywords, Copyright, GPS information etc. Once the entire memory card has been imported the images are duplicated/backed up to my Network Attached Storage (NAS). By the time I return to the workstation there are two independent copies of my photoshoot, ready for the next step.

The "Post Processing" begins when editing with my software of choice which I've used to make global edits to the exposure, white balance and sharpening. I then used the Local Adjustment Brushes to independently edit the color and contrast. Compare the cloud detail in the sky, color of the trees, water and cliffs. Our eyes are amazing and I could see all of those features in great detail. The camera however, was likely to struggle with too many independent things to manage. Having said that, a fair amount of editing (Post Processing) can be done within a Fujifilm camera. You can make changes to color saturation, contrast, sharpening and then output to an internet friendly picture without ever importing to a computer. The limited tools work great for social media and same day printing if additional edit (advanced) are not needed.

Most workflows go the same way. Others take slight detours to account for backing up images, selecting keepers and discarding bad images etc. Post Processing is an individual thing and very personal. I've rarely found two photographers that think alike in that regard. We have different tolerances, tastes...that's what make our images different despite making a photo of the same subject.


NOTE: My software of choice is Adobe Lightroom CC, however the techniques work equally well with other mainstream applications which recognize the Fujifilm RAF file system.


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