The Mr and The Mrs enjoy photography at home as well as travel destinations from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States and in between including International travel. Whether we are at home or traveling, we often have our camera in hand. We enjoy looking back at our photography from the past as well as planning experiences we will capture in the future. Part of the experience for us is, later, at home after the photos are taken, we process them in our “digital dark room” and enjoy the memories made.
Thank you for reading about the Post-Process. Taking the photo is half of photography, the other half is making your photo look beautiful. Different Post-Processing packages allow you to be in control of designing a custom workflow that fits your style.
What will be covered: software packages, lifestyle vs landscape photography, designing a custom workflow
Let us share with you what we use to process those life memories!
No matter how you process your photos, you will want to make sure you have what you will need for all types of post-processing. When you capture time and create art, it shines through from the eye behind the lens to the screen you process on and later to the paper it is printed on.
Where The Mr and The Mrs Began
When the Mr and The Mrs started processing our photos, we used a film Kodak Advantix Point and Shoot camera and the photos were put on a disc at the camera store along with photos printed on photo paper. We found a simple photo editing program, Photo Explosion. It was a pretty good program for starting out and we used it on our photos for about five years. It did a lot of things that other software packages did in a simple way and we learned to use it to enhance the color tones, crop, and more.
In 2007, our computer blew up (poof-ka-book-blam!) and The Mr suggested to The Mrs a Mac Book Pro so we could use it more for our photography. Photo Explosion was not compatible with a Mac Book at that time and we purchased a copy of Photoshop Elements 4 since it was compatible. This is REALLY where our process of post-processing began. The Mrs began reading and teaching herself how to process photos, digital scrapbooking, and steps for particular techniques. The Mrs also began to learn about actions and filters and using them in the workflow. The Mrs so often would share with The Mr what she learned.
Since, The Mr and The Mrs have upgraded Photoshop Elements to version 6 and currently, we use version 10. We could have purchased Photoshop instead, but there was a quite large price difference between the two and the difference was really all we needed for what we were doing. So we saved our money and purchased Photoshop Elements and honestly, it has been great for our post-processing and layering needs.
Side note: We hope we aren’t boring you, but feel we need to tell you this so you understand our photography journey and how it might be a little like yours or help in your photography journey.
Learning to Use Actions
Within Photoshop Elements, The Mr and The Mrs liked to use a couple items to help in their workflow: Topaz Labs and Paint The Moon Actions. The Mrs discovered Topaz Labs (located in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas) had a few filters at the time. The Mr and The Mrs found Topaz Labs really fit into the workflow. We started with Adjust and then later, DeNoise. Over time, as more filters came out, we tried them and bought some. In fall of 2014, we purchased the entire set and like having the entire collection. In addition to the Topaz Lab filters (for landscape photos), The Mrs discovered Paint the Moon actions (for face photos). These actions really added some wow to our photos and gave them a timeless look.
Learning to Use Presets
However in 2012, we added Lightroom 3, which allowed a new mix to our workflow for much faster batch processing and exporting and later purchased an upgrade to Lightroom 4. We later had some issues with Lightroom being able to read our raw files on The Mrs Nikon df, so we upgraded to Lightroom 6 in 2015 and use it currently. Within Lightroom, The Mr and The Mrs like to use plug-in’s to help in our workflow between software packages. The Mrs discovered One Willow Presets and Greater Than Gatsby Presets are perfect for giving our photos a nice, timeless look. Lightroom is our main program we use for organizing photos and post-processing needs and working with other programs.
In 2009, our photography continued, but we began to learn the creative modes on our camera more and also began to explore HDR photography and processing. We added Photomatix Pro to our library and began to learn how to use it with our current software packages. It was a love affair.
By this time, we were using Photomatix Pro in combination with Photoshop Elements with Topaz Labs for HDR photography/processing of landscapes and using Paint the Moon Actions in Photoshop Elements for lifestyle photos of people. The Mrs also learned that she could change up her HDR workflow by finishing with Paint the Moon Actions after Photomatix Pro and Topaz Labs to give it more of her lighter, more natural, vintage tones. In 2015, Macphun came out with Aurora HDR Pro, a new stand alone package for HDR Photography that seems to be fairly quick in bringing the photos and a panel of sliders for more HDR needs within the package. We currently use Aurora HDR in combination with Lightroom 6 + Photoshop Elements 10 for our HDR photography/post-processing.
We have adjusted our workflow process to fit each photo we post-process. This in itself was a process! With photography and the post-processing process, it is a time of learning and growth. As more is learned, that is added into the workflow. Learning about the packages in the workflow help you know what your workflow needs to be for a particular photo.
Sometimes, it is just a lifestyle photo that can be processed in Lightroom or Photoshop Elements using presets or actions. Sometimes, no actions or presets are needed and instead a filter or adjustments are needed. Other times, it is a bracketed (will explain more in Camera Tips posts)HDR set of a landscape that can be processed in Lightroom, Photomatix Pro, Photoshop Elements, and OnOne, The addition of Aurora HDR changed this up a bit as Lightroom, Aurora HDR Pro, and possibly only Photoshop Elements for layers may be needed. The workflow has to be created and tweaked to taste.
In our workflow, it depends on the type photo (lifestyle vs. landscape) which software we use (Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, Photomatix Pro/Aurora HDR, or OnOne). Sometimes we use all the packages to finish a photo and other times, we use only one or two. It really depends on the scene captured and as more time is spent with these packages, a workflow is developed.
For lifestyle photos, we usually use presets in Lightroom or actions in Photoshop Elements to keep the subject in the photo looking natural, Often, we use presets in Lightroom and go into Photoshop Elements for layer work if there is any (masking or texturing). Landscape photos can sometimes be several packages to complete the photo, but we usually start in Lightroom and correct any spots on the lens, then we send to Photomatix or Aurora. After this, the photo can be taken into Photoshop Elements for texture layer and then back to Lightroom for last adjustments and watermarking. If it needs extra sharpening, OnOne’s Amazing Detail is a big help, but not always needed. It’s all about designing a workflow that fits your style.
We hope to help others with their workflow by sharing our workflow, before + afters, and more in our Camera Tips.
THANK YOU so much for stopping by to read about what The Mr and The Mrs use in our workflow process. We hope this was helpful for you and we hope your journey behind the lens and in your light-room is full of learning and growth.