XDrive Photo Lesson 14 – Post processing (NaBloPoMo Day 11)

This is my submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 14 – Post Processing.

Raj said, “Well, there is no limit on kind of edits one can do.” For me, there is. For now, that is. I only know a few basic edits. Once in a while, I get frustrated and wish I know more, but most of time those few edits do satisfy me.

Raj has listed out 10 basic edits and he said we should do in the sequence mentioned. The 10 edits (in sequence) are: 1) Horizon/Level adjustment 2) Cropping 3) White Balance 4) Brightness 5) Contrast 6) Highlights 7) Shadows 8) Saturation 9) Sharpness 10) Noise Reduction.

Edit in a sequence? I’ve never heard of it. Usually, I would sharp the photo first, and crop the last. Whatever happens in the middle is anyone’s guess.

Then I read Cambridge in Color’s Digital Photo Editing Workflow article. In it, it lists 10 steps also, and says “If you’ve captured your image using the RAW file format, then the order of the steps isn’t as important.” But it doesn’t give any reason ;-(

I decided… for this lesson, I would edit a photo in 3 ways: (1) edit in my usual way (2) edit in Raj’s sequence (3) edit in Raj’s sequence in backward. I got excited.

The first was easy (however it took me a while to decide which photo to use.) Here are the before (first) and after (second).

It ended up that I only sharpened and cropped this photo (I wish the person is in a different spot, but…). I was hoping there was more to be done. I was going to try a different photo, but it turned out I might not have to. 😉

Moving on… when I tried to edit in Raj’s sequence, right away, I had a problem. I am using Photoshop Element (although I do have PS and Lightroom installed). If you open a raw file with PS, the first editing screen has several edit functions and these are for Raw only. Every edit step on Raj’s list can be done here (to a certain degree) except the first two steps. This means, I can’t really follow his exactly sequence.

I, also, figured out (I think I have figured out) why Cambridge in Color said if you edited a raw file, the order isn’t as important. It is because when you are in this editing-raw-file screen, before you press the button to continue, you can keep editing. In other words, all edits will happen at the same time – the moment you press the button to continue, so it doesn’t matter which you do first.

After you press continue, a second screen will be displayed and it has similar editing functions. By then, a lot of editing is already done, so the order may not make any difference. (I have no idea what I said is true. It makes sense to me.)

(By the way, other than the first two edits, when I compare Raj’s list with what I see in Cambridge in Color, they are pretty much the same.)

Based on this discovery, there is no point to edit in backward sequence either.

(I can be totally wrong, but…)

One thing I appreciate Raj’s lessons is that because of his lessons, I have a chance to learn things I don’t know I should know. 😉 Can’t wait for Raj’s comment and his next lesson. (Do we keep you busy enough, Raj?)

Thanks for visiting my blog.


About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to XDrive Photo Lesson 14 – Post processing (NaBloPoMo Day 11)

  1. Raj says:

    Thanks Helen for your post, I was waiting for a next challenge! But always I learn something from you. Thank you.

    Editing in sequence? .. ha ..ha … did I say that? 😀 oh yeah I said that ..but also I said: “If you are a beginner try to follow the same sequence and once you understand them you may have your own workflow.” 😀

    My intention of saying follow the sequence is to tell the importance of each step. For eg, I always do straighten first and then do cropping, if I do it in other order, my composition may be restricted. Same way before I touch any other enhancements I have to make sure the white balance is set right, based on that I am going do brightness, contrast and other colour settings. If your white balance is off all your colour adjustments will be wrong. Highlights and shadows always adjusted one after the other. Once all the colour and brightness are done I go for saturation adjustment if needed. Finally, I would sharpen the image and as soon as I do this I go for noise reduction. One does not have to do all the steps, it definitely depends on the image in hand. Well, that’s the workflow I follow so wanted to share. Yes if you are used to some other workflow and comfortable then you don’t need to change. Basically, we want to finish the editing job as quickly as possible. I spend max 2 minute per picture.

    Great work on the image there, I liked the crop. Only wished that lady to be within the square. Adjustments done to the image looks good.

    This comment is part of XDrive’s Photography Learning sessions. Thanks once again for being here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Oops, I was going to say that, actually, I think it is a good idea to have a routine. For example, I would like to check level every time, but since I don’t have a habit of doing it, I often forgot to do that. I wanted to figure out if your sequence has any advantage that I need to know. After figuring it out, I would like to start a sequence of my own, which may or may not be the same as yours. 😉

      I always do straighten first and then do cropping, too.

      Do you use PS? I usually go through ever item on the raw screen (the first screen coming up). This includes a lot of edits like white balance, temperature, exposure, contrast, clarity, white/black, shadow/highlight, vibrance, saturation. All are displayed on one page, so it’s easy to go through each one and it doesn’t take long. It also handles noise reduction and more sharpening on another page.

      However, after I am done with this screen and continue, I don’t follow any sequence, which I think I probably should. I probably will (I am coming up with the list while writing this) straighten, check exposure again, check color again, check sharpness again, decide if I need to apply edit in a small part of photo, and finally crop.

      Noise reduction is a bit confusing for me. If it is bad, I like to do it early because if I can’t reduce to a satisfying point, I shouldn’t bother to spend more time on it – just trash it. I have too many photos anyway. 😉

      I don’t edit every photo, only the one I like to edit. I may spend a lot of time on a few. It’s like revising my writing – I enjoy seeing how it gets improved.

      This is a good topic, which I have never thought of. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Raj says:

        That’s exactly the point. Once you complete the routine, definitely one has to revisit all of them and do the fine adjustment. But the idea is to make sure your image is displayed to its full potential. But at the same time spend as little time as possible.
        I don’t use PS, but I feel one has to stick to what your editor supports. As you explained, you have to go with some sequence offered by your software. Any software would have these adjustments laid down with some logic and workflow in mind.
        Yes, this topic is too huge and that’s why I said in the post “there is no limit”. But the bottom line is editing is not to fix the photo, but to enhance it. If your photos are bad, no matter you do, you will not have a great picture.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Helen C says:

          I am convinced! 😉
          Actually, I am thinking to start using LR when I switch to the new PC, which has been sitting in the living room for a month now ;-( I don’t like to switch PC. For a while the CD player keep popping out, so I bought a new one (the one I use is old enough). After we disconnect the CD player, I just kept using it. Anyway, I like LR’s organization function, so I may jump into it. The bad thing is I have watched a video and figured out what to do long time ago. Now I have to find that video and watch it again ;-(
          Anyway… I believe that having a post-processing sequence will be more important after switching to LR. I appreciate the lesson.
          >> But the bottom line is editing is not to fix the photo, but to enhance it.
          Noted. 😉
          Good night.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy says:

    I haven’t used PS, I have adapted to Lr’s work flow and settings. I enjoy reading about PS here.
    Thank you for sharing with us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you, Amy. I want to switch to Lr for a while now, but it’s so easy to go with the tool that I already know. I think I am going to give it a try soon. Wish me luck. Wait, I don’t need luck. I have you. If I stuck, I will ask for help 😉
      Good night.


  3. Thanks Helen for your post! I have my own sequence in editing in LR but it never occurred to me whether is it necessary or not. My sequence is more of “so that I won’t miss something out” or “becoming a habit”. haha!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Thank you for your comment. I thought I have followed you, and just found out I wasn’t. Hmm… It’s fixed now. That’s another reason I am so happy you commented.
      I wanted to use LR for a while, and, believe it or not, I had bought several versions of LR, but never tried it. I think when I switch to my new PC, I definitely would like to give it a try. My feeling is that maybe post processing sequence is more important for people using LR. I don’t know enough of LR to know for sure.
      Love your photos, by the way.
      Have a great day.


  4. Lady Oscar says:

    ” I wish the person is in a different spot, …” makes me laugh. If you successfully made it happen, it will be another whole brand new story!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: XDrive Photography Learning – 14 – Post Processing. – XDrive

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