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How much time do you spend post-processing your photos?


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I find I can only process a handful of images every night, so it takes me months to finish processing my photos whenever I get back from a trip. I was curious to see how much time others were spending on each of their photos, and what they were doing for their workflows.

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Processing time for me is quite variable, the longest step is if the shot needs backscatter removal or other re-touching.  But a properly exposed photo should mostly be done in a few minutes IMO. 

 

what step is taking the most time?  I would suggest if you are fussing over a particular aspect stop and do a different shot or walk away and come back to re-visit it  later.  It can be easy to get caught in a vicious cycle correcting one aspect only to undo good work you've done elsewhere. 

 

One thought is to post a photo you are struggling with and do a how would you process post inviting others to process it and tell you what they have done.

 

My workflow consists of levels/colour correction followed by contrast adjustments - I use luminosity masks in full photoshop.  I generally end up with a levels layer and 2-3m masked curves layers The luminosity mask allow you to adjust shadows, highlights and midtones separately.  With this process step one is backscatter, the luminosity mask is prepared from the image so removing backscatter later can cause problems

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A bit like Chris, I don’t spend a lot of time. 
 

I use LR with a standard home made preset to adjust Contrast, Dehaze and a couple of other settings on Import. 

 

Then a relatively quick look through each image at the end of the day, select those that are worth work (maybe a dozen a dive), those to delete (the majority!), and those worth keeping for maybe work at a later date - another dozen. 
 

I then do some work on the chosen dozen to tweak levels, maybe play with Masks to enhance the subject, and maybe a bit of backscatter removal. Perhaps 3-4 mins a picture in total. 
 

And that’s pretty much done.  Following day a quick review, delete more images and probably keep a total of around 10 from a dive. If it’s a 3 dive day, I’ll probably keep 20-30 images in total. Often much less. 
 

I think the key is a quick triage and only select what is really good for a serious edit. Park or delete the rest. 

 

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I have import presets that include basic settings, lens profiles, and include my standard naming format.  I will also include a minimal amount of keywords as needed.  This sets up a good starting point to quickly review.

 

7 hours ago, TimG said:

Following day a quick review, delete more images and probably keep a total of around 10 from a dive. If it’s a 3 dive day, I’ll probably keep 20-30 images in total. Often much less. 

 

I am very similar.  In the past, I used to be “married” to all my images, thinking one day I could make more out of them than I really could.  Now I look for reasons to reject them which results in me keeping only a small percentage.  Example, I recently did a hammerhead trip to Bimini.  Out of 874 total, I kept about 25 that really told the story in a quality manner.  I find the ability to quickly cull the images is the most important step in my editing process.

 

Once the culling is done, I normally spend 2-4 mins per image.  (Note - basic corrections were done as part of importing)  Of those I keep, most of the time is spent correcting color, controlling backscatter, adding contrast, and dodging/burning with masks to highlight the key part of the frame.  Clarity and Dehaze are powerful ingredients when used in moderation.  I will often return the following day to make additional tiny tweaks with fresh eyes.  


95% of my work is in LR, mostly using my iPad.  The current mobile version is surprisingly powerful and does not bog down when removing spots.  For this, it is important that the screen brightness is set to a proper level, and I utilize the histogram for correct overall image shadow/highlight levels.  If I need to employ plugins such as Topaz products, I will return to my Mac and further adjust the edited and synced version as needed.  Those final versions are then included to the synced LR folder so they are also accessible on my mobile devices. 
 

 

Edited by ChipBPhoto
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On 4/4/2024 at 9:43 PM, TimG said:

 

I think the key is a quick triage and only select what is really good for a serious edit. Park or delete the rest. 

 


As they say in certain churches (and UW photography is a religion, no?) “Can I get an AMEN?!”

 

I probably spend more time agonizing over what to keep, before finally accepting that it’s a small proportion, than I do editing.  Then it’s very simple adjustments and minor crops.

 

You guys with the import settings, what’s a good starting point for contrast, clarity, and dehaze?  Do you do anything up front about saturation or vibrance?  I know it’s camera dependent, but . . . 

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I tend to nudge up Contrast and Clarity about 5 points. So not much. Dehaze isn’t on the Preset but maybe should be. I’ve also got -11 on vignetting. Saturation I seldom use. I do like a bit of Vibrance but it’s not on the Preset. 

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I divide photo processing into two types:
1) Simple processing.
The goal is to show the real situation. Includes color correction, suspension, etc. Takes from 1 to 10 minutes if the water was very muddy.
2) Art processing.
In this case, I can process the photo for a very long time, selecting different transformation methods. It can take several days until I find the desired final image that is suitable for this particular photo.
The result may be very different from the original.

Edited by Andrey Narchuk
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On 4/8/2024 at 4:47 PM, Andrey Narchuk said:

I divide photo processing into two types:
1) Simple processing.
The goal is to show the real situation. Includes color correction, suspension, etc. Takes from 1 to 10 minutes if the water was very muddy.
2) Art processing.
In this case, I can process the photo for a very long time, selecting different transformation methods. It can take several days until I find the desired final image that is suitable for this particular photo.
The result may be very different from the original.

I vote this best answer 🙂 . I would add one variation and that would be image with strobes and natural lights. Strobed pictures fall within 1) and 2) and natural light wrecks etc being a 3) as they could take ages and still not being an art 🤣

20230702-130523-karwela.jpg

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