22.2 POST PROCESSING: PART II – FINE TUNING THE IMAGE

In the digital realm the work that takes place after recording images in the camera is perhaps neither fully understood nor appreciated. Readers should find this outline of post-processing a useful introduction.

The Digital Realm
For the casual photographer digital photography has certainly unlocked it’s mystique over the last decade. The idea that anyone can take perfectly decent images with a mobile phone does not exactly enhance the status or need for professional photographers. Publishers, advertisers and magazine editors fully understand and appreciate that excellent photography is not quite as easy as it looks. This article will hopefully provide some basic information on the process that takes place after digital images have been recorded on the SIM memory card up to the time they are prepared for final processing in Photoshop. There are countless books on the topic available but for a full explanation you may wish to refer to The Dam Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers by Peter Krogh and published by O’Reilly.

Tools and Creativity
I always like to be reminded:

“Architectural Photography does require some specialized equipment but the art of photography primarily depends upon the artistic ability and skill of the photographer. Excellent tools are just that – they allow the artist to deliver even more excellent images. But make no mistake there is no substitute for the creative eye of the artist”.

Photoshop
After the ingestion phase in Hasselblad’s Phocus software I export TIFF files to Photoshop for making fine adjustments. Photoshop is an extremely complex piece of software that can perform really amazing results. I must confess that at my age I find it quite difficult to follow many of its features. Since I am no authority on the use of Photoshop I will not attempt to go into any depth except to say that this software can do just about anything you can think of – but I find it’s really quite illogical to understand properly. There are tons of educational tool on the web for Photoshop but only a few tutorials that deal specifically with Photoshop for architectural photography. I tend to use Photoshop mainly make fine adjustments to brightness, contrast, and color but it can do much more than these basics including cloning, dodge and burn and spot removal. A key tool for architectural photography is the control of perspective by using the Transform Skew features to correct verticals and horizontals. Compositing a series images or creating masks is where it all starts to get complicated. In the end I convert my TIFF files into PSD master files. For printing I select the required resolution [360 or 270 dpi depending on the size of print image] and sharpen. For web use I adjust the image size [1200×800 px], sharpen then save as a JPG.