7 Steps for Editing Your Photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by gary_hendricks@digital-music-guide.com, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. Guest

    When editing digital photos, it helps to have a standard workflow.
    Knowing the right order to apply your editing tools helps you get the
    best results.
    1. Edit in Lossless Format
    Some file formats, such as JPEG, lose quality every time you save an
    edit. This is called a "lossy" format. If you are performing a long
    series of edits, you may actually make things worse despite your
    efforts. The opposite type of format is "lossless." With a lossless
    format, such as TIFF, no quality is lost when you make edits.

    2. The Initial Clean-Up
    Some edits, such as cleaning up noise and correcting lens distortions,
    are best performed at the beginning so you do not exaggerate them
    during later steps. There was no noise in the above example, so this
    step was not necessary.

    3. Adjust the Color
    This involves adjusting the RGB (Red, Green and Blue) or CMYK (Cyan,
    Magenta, Yellow and Black) values. Until you learn the theory of color
    adjustments, it is best to make very small changes and see how they
    look. Often, these adjustments lighten the image and reveal additional
    noise, so a bit more clean-up may be required.

    4. Saturation and Hue Adjustment
    Saturation and hue affect the appearance and richness of the colors in
    your photo. You will usually want to increase color richness. Again,
    the best results are normally had by making small adjustments. After
    this step, re-evaluate your color adjustments to ensure they still look
    right.

    5. Editing
    You can now perform any final edits such as removing blemishes from
    skin, whitening teeth, smoothing wrinkles and so on. Often, the image
    areas that need editing are quite small relative to the whole picture.
    For best results, zoom in and work on the picture close up. This way,
    you will be less likely to make unseemly blotches instead of fixes. If
    major edits are made at this stage, some additional color and
    saturation tweaks may be needed.

    6. Scaling
    You can now try to apply any final cropping and resizing. Remember not
    to crop too close to important subject matter. If you leave plenty of
    space around them, your photo will look more balanced and you will be
    less likely to cover things up when framing. Also, remember to consider
    pixel depth and the rules of thumb for printing before making your
    photo too big. Minimum print quality requires 150 PPI (pixels per
    inch). Maximum quality, which is recommended for enlargements, requires
    300 PPI.

    7. Sharpening
    Sharpening is the final step in the process. You can sharpen any areas
    that might benefit from looking crisper. The reason this step is left
    to last is that sharpening can exaggerate other problems. Because of
    the potential side effects of sharpening, it is usually best to select
    only specific areas for sharpening, usually the main subjects.


    ------------------------------------------
    Gary Hendricks
    http://www.basic-digital-photography.com
     
    , Jan 18, 2005
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. In article <>,
    <> wrote:


    Who the hell do you think you are - the Photo Answer Man?
     
    Randall Ainsworth, Jan 18, 2005
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. traction Guest

    > Who the hell do you think you are - the Photo Answer Man?

    Well that cannot be considered to an intelligent comment- at least the
    original poster shows a modicum of common sense, and more experience of
    photoprocessing than your bland response shows you have.
    Thanks to the original poster for the advice.
     
    traction, Jan 18, 2005
    #3
  4. Hunt Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    >
    >When editing digital photos, it helps to have a standard workflow.
    >Knowing the right order to apply your editing tools helps you get the
    >best results.
    >1. Edit in Lossless Format
    >Some file formats, such as JPEG, lose quality every time you save an
    >edit. This is called a "lossy" format. If you are performing a long
    >series of edits, you may actually make things worse despite your
    >efforts. The opposite type of format is "lossless." With a lossless
    >format, such as TIFF, no quality is lost when you make edits.
    >
    >2. The Initial Clean-Up
    >Some edits, such as cleaning up noise and correcting lens distortions,
    >are best performed at the beginning so you do not exaggerate them
    >during later steps. There was no noise in the above example, so this
    >step was not necessary.


    [SNIP]

    Gary, thanks for taking the time to compile and post this, as it might help
    many just starting into digital image processing.

    I have one problem with the order, however. I base this on the type of work
    that I do (advertising/architectural), so it might not make a difference with
    others' images. If one will be manipulating the image(s) with Clone/Healing (
    Photoshop), then the noise reduction should come, just before the Sharpening,
    as you want any textures that appear in the image, to be treated the same, so
    nothing new is introduced to a image after, say treatment with NeatImage. I do
    my Adjustment Layers for Color, Sat, Hue, etc. first, then make those
    inactive, while I Clone, whatever, then re-activate Adjustment Layers, Save_As
    PSD for final, Flatten and run NeatImage, then Sharpen, and finally Size for
    output. Other than that quibble, I like what you have written.



    >------------------------------------------
    >Gary Hendricks
    >http://www.basic-digital-photography.com


    Hunt
     
    Hunt, Jan 18, 2005
    #4
  5. wrote:
    > When editing digital photos, it helps to have a standard workflow.
    > Knowing the right order to apply your editing tools helps you get the
    > best results.


    Thanks. Those are nice tips. I usually hate to sit in front of a
    computer and work on PS but with the ability to shoot raw, I might just
    give it a try.

    - Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Jan 18, 2005
    #5
  6. Guest

    "3. Adjust the Color
    4. Saturation and Hue Adjustment"

    I do these while the image is still in RAW format (e.g. before TIFF).
    This has to do with the tools at my disposal. I also find that almost
    all of my color issues are White Balance issues and my RAW tools enable
    me to not just adjust the multipliers individually on R, G, and B, but
    also adjust the black points and gain on each channel individually as
    well. This puts and 4 before your 1 and 2, however, I would assert
    that RAW is just as lossless as TIFF.
     
    , Jan 18, 2005
    #6
  7. Randall Ainsworth wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >
    > Who the hell do you think you are - the Photo Answer Man?


    SPAMming us with his Web site?
     
    David J Taylor, Jan 18, 2005
    #7
  8. On Tue, 18 Jan 2005 15:52:34 +0000, gary_hendricks wrote:

    > When editing digital photos, it helps to have a standard workflow.
    > Knowing the right order to apply your editing tools helps you get the
    > best results.
    > 1. Edit in Lossless Format
    > Some file formats, such as JPEG, lose quality every time you save an
    > edit. This is called a "lossy" format. If you are performing a long
    > series of edits, you may actually make things worse despite your
    > efforts. The opposite type of format is "lossless." With a lossless
    > format, such as TIFF, no quality is lost when you make edits.
    >

    Gary, Thanks for the tips. My D-rebel saves in jpeg. I know I can save
    them in raw but if I save them in default jpeg, is it OK to convert them
    first to something like GIF, do the editing & then convert back to jpeg
    for storing ? I can of course store them in GIF as well. My PC being is
    rather old takes a much longer time to load & manipulate TIFF files
    compaed to GIF or Jpeg.

    --

    Gautam Majumdar

    Please send e-mails to
     
    Gautam Majumdar, Jan 18, 2005
    #8
  9. Gautam Majumdar wrote:
    > On Tue, 18 Jan 2005 15:52:34 +0000, gary_hendricks wrote:
    >
    >
    >>When editing digital photos, it helps to have a standard workflow.
    >>Knowing the right order to apply your editing tools helps you get the
    >>best results.
    >>1. Edit in Lossless Format
    >>Some file formats, such as JPEG, lose quality every time you save an
    >>edit. This is called a "lossy" format. If you are performing a long
    >>series of edits, you may actually make things worse despite your
    >>efforts. The opposite type of format is "lossless." With a lossless
    >>format, such as TIFF, no quality is lost when you make edits.
    >>

    >
    > Gary, Thanks for the tips. My D-rebel saves in jpeg. I know I can save
    > them in raw but if I save them in default jpeg, is it OK to convert them
    > first to something like GIF, do the editing & then convert back to jpeg
    > for storing ? I can of course store them in GIF as well. My PC being is
    > rather old takes a much longer time to load & manipulate TIFF files
    > compaed to GIF or Jpeg.
    >

    For photographs, it'd be very rare to use .GIF format to good advantage;
    usually it's destructive. It has a very limited color palette, and is
    generally reserved for drawings, logos etc.

    I'd generally shoot in RAW, convert to PSD format, do the work there,
    and save out as a JPG as last step. Avoid GIF unless you are experimenting.

    --
    John McWilliams
     
    John McWilliams, Jan 18, 2005
    #9
  10. RSD99 Guest

    GIF is a lossy format ... and very poor for photographs.

    Convert them to something like TIFF (using LZW compression, if you like),
    PhotoShop PSD, or PNG that is *not* a lossy format.

    Do *not* "convert them back to JPEG" for storing ... the above referenced
    file types are all around better for use, archiving or long term storage.




    "Gautam Majumdar" <> wrote in message
    news:wneHd.167146$...
    ..
    > >

    > Gary, Thanks for the tips. My D-rebel saves in jpeg. I know I can save
    > them in raw but if I save them in default jpeg, is it OK to convert them
    > first to something like GIF, do the editing & then convert back to jpeg
    > for storing ? I can of course store them in GIF as well. My PC being is
    > rather old takes a much longer time to load & manipulate TIFF files
    > compaed to GIF or Jpeg.
    >
    > --
    >
    > Gautam Majumdar
    >
    > Please send e-mails to
     
    RSD99, Jan 18, 2005
    #10
  11. Stu Dapples Guest

    "Gautam Majumdar" <> wrote in message
    news:wneHd.167146$...
    > Gary, Thanks for the tips. My D-rebel saves in jpeg. I know I can save
    > them in raw but if I save them in default jpeg, is it OK to convert them
    > first to something like GIF, do the editing & then convert back to jpeg


    GIF??? This is an attempt at humour right?
     
    Stu Dapples, Jan 18, 2005
    #11
  12. Hunt Guest

    In article <wneHd.167146$>,
    says...
    >
    >On Tue, 18 Jan 2005 15:52:34 +0000, gary_hendricks wrote:
    >
    >> When editing digital photos, it helps to have a standard workflow.
    >> Knowing the right order to apply your editing tools helps you get the
    >> best results.
    >> 1. Edit in Lossless Format
    >> Some file formats, such as JPEG, lose quality every time you save an
    >> edit. This is called a "lossy" format. If you are performing a long
    >> series of edits, you may actually make things worse despite your
    >> efforts. The opposite type of format is "lossless." With a lossless
    >> format, such as TIFF, no quality is lost when you make edits.
    >>

    >Gary, Thanks for the tips. My D-rebel saves in jpeg. I know I can save
    >them in raw but if I save them in default jpeg, is it OK to convert them
    >first to something like GIF, do the editing & then convert back to jpeg
    >for storing ? I can of course store them in GIF as well. My PC being is
    >rather old takes a much longer time to load & manipulate TIFF files
    >compaed to GIF or Jpeg.
    >
    >--
    >
    >Gautam Majumdar
    >
    >Please send e-mails to


    Unless you need to convert the images to 256 colors, do not save as GIF. I
    assume that you mean TIFF (sounds similar), which is lossless. If you shoot in
    JPG (allowing camera's corrections to be made), then you have already
    compressed the file. When you open it, in say Photoshop, if you Save_As PSD (
    if you have Layers, Channels, etc.) you can save without any loss. Same for
    TIFF, but with fewer future editing capabilities than PSD. However, if you
    then Save_As another JPG for printing, e-mailing, etc. you will re-compress
    the image. You will gain artifacts and loose some detail/color. You might not
    mind that loss, but it will exist.

    Hunt
     
    Hunt, Jan 19, 2005
    #12
  13. Guest

    In message <JPeHd.2007$CI6.1746@trnddc06>,
    "RSD99" <> wrote:

    >GIF is a lossy format ... and very poor for photographs.


    GIF is not a "lossy format" per se. GIF is a palette-based format, and
    used in that context, is not lossy. It is only lossy when used beyond
    its scope; to convey true-color images with more than 256 colors. It
    can convey greyscale photos quite well, as they only need 256 shades.
    --

    <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    John P Sheehy <>
    ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
     
    , Jan 19, 2005
    #13
  14. RSD99 wrote:

    > GIF is a lossy format ... and very poor for photographs.
    >
    > Convert them to something like TIFF (using LZW compression, if you like),
    > PhotoShop PSD, or PNG that is *not* a lossy format.
    >
    > Do *not* "convert them back to JPEG" for storing ... the above referenced
    > file types are all around better for use, archiving or long term storage.


    Gif is not a lossy format. It is a lossless compression format.
    But it is limited to 256 colors, so it loses color accuracy
    (not necessarily gamut) (perhaps this is what you meant by lossy.
    Gif should only be used for simple graphics, like line art.

    Roger
     
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Jan 19, 2005
    #14
  15. wrote:

    > When editing digital photos, it helps to have a standard workflow.
    > Knowing the right order to apply your editing tools helps you get the
    > best results.
    > 1. Edit in Lossless Format
    > Some file formats, such as JPEG, lose quality every time you save an
    > edit. This is called a "lossy" format. If you are performing a long
    > series of edits, you may actually make things worse despite your
    > efforts. The opposite type of format is "lossless." With a lossless
    > format, such as TIFF, no quality is lost when you make edits.


    I agree. But I would argue that any editing in 8-bit mode is
    lossy: intensity lossy. The first step I do is:
    A) convert raw to 16-bit tif (with any necessary color
    balance, contrast), or
    B) convert 8-bit jpeg to 16-bit tif
    >
    > 2. The Initial Clean-Up
    > Some edits, such as cleaning up noise and correcting lens distortions,
    > are best performed at the beginning so you do not exaggerate them
    > during later steps. There was no noise in the above example, so this
    > step was not necessary.


    2) Adjust levels using the levels tool. You can't clean up if the
    image is too dark.

    3) dodge and burn to get the image withing range for viewing
    and printing.

    4) contrast stretching (this affects apparent color).
    >
    > 3. Adjust the Color
    > This involves adjusting the RGB (Red, Green and Blue) or CMYK (Cyan,
    > Magenta, Yellow and Black) values. Until you learn the theory of color
    > adjustments, it is best to make very small changes and see how they
    > look. Often, these adjustments lighten the image and reveal additional
    > noise, so a bit more clean-up may be required.
    >
    > 4. Saturation and Hue Adjustment
    > Saturation and hue affect the appearance and richness of the colors in
    > your photo. You will usually want to increase color richness. Again,
    > the best results are normally had by making small adjustments. After
    > this step, re-evaluate your color adjustments to ensure they still look
    > right.
    >
    > 5. Editing
    > You can now perform any final edits such as removing blemishes from
    > skin, whitening teeth, smoothing wrinkles and so on. Often, the image
    > areas that need editing are quite small relative to the whole picture.
    > For best results, zoom in and work on the picture close up. This way,
    > you will be less likely to make unseemly blotches instead of fixes. If
    > major edits are made at this stage, some additional color and
    > saturation tweaks may be needed.
    >
    > 6. Scaling
    > You can now try to apply any final cropping and resizing. Remember not
    > to crop too close to important subject matter. If you leave plenty of
    > space around them, your photo will look more balanced and you will be
    > less likely to cover things up when framing. Also, remember to consider
    > pixel depth and the rules of thumb for printing before making your
    > photo too big. Minimum print quality requires 150 PPI (pixels per
    > inch). Maximum quality, which is recommended for enlargements, requires
    > 300 PPI.
    >
    > 7. Sharpening
    > Sharpening is the final step in the process. You can sharpen any areas
    > that might benefit from looking crisper. The reason this step is left
    > to last is that sharpening can exaggerate other problems. Because of
    > the potential side effects of sharpening, it is usually best to select
    > only specific areas for sharpening, usually the main subjects.


    You may need editing after sharpening to fix sharpening induced
    artifacts. There is an iterative loop back up to my #2.

    Finally, for contrast stretching, only use levels and curves
    tools (in photoshop); others are additive tools and have
    undesirable side effects. Levels and curves are multiplicative
    tools. (at least in photoshop)

    Roger
     
    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Jan 19, 2005
    #15
  16. RSD99 Guest

    When used with photos ... which actually **is** the subject of this
    discussion ... GIF **is** a lossy format.

    It converts everything to a fixed pallet of 256 colors ... which may (or
    may NOT) have 256 shades of gray ... depending on how it is saved, and from
    what program it is saved. If it is saved using a "Fixed Pallet" (such as
    "The Windows Pallet, for example), it may have only 6 to 9 shades of gray!

    It is definitely ***NOT*** recommended, under any circumstances, for
    photographic images.




    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In message <JPeHd.2007$CI6.1746@trnddc06>,
    > "RSD99" <> wrote:
    >
    > GIF is not a "lossy format" per se. GIF is a palette-based format, and
    > used in that context, is not lossy. It is only lossy when used beyond
    > its scope; to convey true-color images with more than 256 colors. It
    > can convey greyscale photos quite well, as they only need 256 shades.
    > --
    >
    > <>>< ><<> ><<> <>>< ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<>
    > John P Sheehy <>
    > ><<> <>>< <>>< ><<> <>>< ><<> ><<> <>><
     
    RSD99, Jan 19, 2005
    #16
  17. RSD99 Guest

    "Roger N. Clark" posted:
    "...
    Gif is not a lossy format. It is a lossless compression format.
    But it is limited to 256 colors, so it loses color accuracy
    ...."

    With all due respects ... you can't have it both ways.

    While it is true that the GIF file format does not have any "compression
    losses" ... it does have the losses associated with converting a 24 bit,
    three color image (16+ million colors) to a palleted 8-bit (256 color)
    indexed color image.

    IMHO: Loss of color depth ... is still a loss. Therefore, the GIF format is
    a lossy storage format.








    "Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)" <> wrote in
    message news:...
    > RSD99 wrote:
    >
    > > GIF is a lossy format ... and very poor for photographs.
    > >
    > > Convert them to something like TIFF (using LZW compression, if you

    like),
    > > PhotoShop PSD, or PNG that is *not* a lossy format.
    > >
    > > Do *not* "convert them back to JPEG" for storing ... the above

    referenced
    > > file types are all around better for use, archiving or long term

    storage.
    >
    > Gif is not a lossy format. It is a lossless compression format.
    > But it is limited to 256 colors, so it loses color accuracy
    > (not necessarily gamut) (perhaps this is what you meant by lossy.
    > Gif should only be used for simple graphics, like line art.
    >
    > Roger
    >
     
    RSD99, Jan 19, 2005
    #17
  18. Guest

    RSD99 wrote:

    > IMHO: Loss of color depth ... is still a loss. Therefore, the GIF

    format is
    > a lossy storage format.


    Then your opinion isn't useful. It is commonly understood that "lossy"
    etc is applied to the encoder -- not to whatever processing system is
    in front of it. Anything else makes the whole distinction worthless.
    Is a PPM "lossy" because it is 8-bit encoded gamma data that originally
    came from (say) 16 bit linear information? Can we blame a GIF decoder
    for being "lossy" when it faithfully reproduces the encoder input,
    exactly?
     
    , Jan 19, 2005
    #18
  19. Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark) wrote:
    >
    > I agree. But I would argue that any editing in 8-bit mode is
    > lossy: intensity lossy. The first step I do is:
    > A) convert raw to 16-bit tif (with any necessary color
    > balance, contrast), or
    > B) convert 8-bit jpeg to 16-bit tif
    >


    No argument with this, but why, when you later say you work in PS, do
    you convert into TIFF?

    --
    John McWilliams
     
    John McWilliams, Jan 19, 2005
    #19
  20. Guest

    Stu Dapples wrote:

    > "Gautam Majumdar" <> wrote in message


    >> Gary, Thanks for the tips. My D-rebel saves in jpeg. I know I can

    save
    >> them in raw but if I save them in default jpeg, is it OK to convert

    them
    >> first to something like GIF, do the editing & then convert back to

    jpeg
    >
    > GIF??? This is an attempt at humour right?

    No, the entity is trolling. Isn't it obvious?
     
    , Jan 19, 2005
    #20
    1. Advertising

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