Saturday, October 27, 2012

Digital post-processing for competition

In my observation, all the images entered for high level competitions in photography have been post-processed in one way or another. Gradually, I have come to accept that SOOC (straight out of camera) images are simply not going to cut it for competition. There are many arguments "for" and "against" post-processing, but the fact remains that even during films days, the best images have always been manipulated in the darkroom. That is why we have photoshop terms like dodge, burn, unsharpen mask, etc.

If you can't beat them, join them; so they say. My quest to discover the secrets to successful post processing techniques was finally rewarded after attending a talk on this topic in the camera club. Here, a long-time photographer showed his images and introduced the software that he used. I installed Nik Software and Topaz, ran through the online guides and tutorials, then tried them out for a few days.

Below are some before and after post-processing images I did yesterday. No heavy lifting with Photoshop was required. By applying appropriate presets and using minor adjustments in a combination of Lightroom, Nik Software, Topaz, and Photoshop, I was able to get the result in a cinch. Voila!


Vincent Chin said...

Which would you recommend?

YM said...

Both Nik Software and Topaz have their usefulness, depending on the image you have at hand. These software are plug-ins that work on top of Photoshop. Think of them as extensions of Photoshop.