Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Post Processing for Portrait Photography

Even though the models in Sacramento are stunning in their own right, it is still no excuse not to at least put some effort into making them look even better once you have their image in your digital darkroom. That would be your computer, if you're wondering. The purists out there who are still using film have a much more difficult, and tedious, task of improving photos in post processing. I can certainly respect their passion and commitment to the original craft, but for this articles sake, I am addressing the trendy and lazy. Ok so maybe not lazy, but let's just say that anyone who is familiar with the inner-workings of a darkroom, who is now using digital, knows how much time they are now saving by plugging their camera into a computer.

There are many software applications that have been developed with a photographer's needs in mind. Some complex, some that have more of a gimmick attraction to them. Some right out of the box can smooth a models skin and remove blemishes with just the click of a button, as well as some applications that will let you easily manipulate photographs into strange shapes, collages or effects. Check out the software section the next time you are at your favorite computer store, and you will be amazed at the number, and variety, of applications for photographers and artists of visual media. It's really hard not to salivate.

While playing with new software is fun for everyone, and I definitely condone the use of multiple applications for your post processing needs, I would suggest that you choose at least one to master. The two software programs I use for the bulk of my work are Adobe Photoshop, and iPhoto. Those two applications can get your "automatic" adjustments out of the way easily, and with Photoshop, you can set up actions to automate certain processes that may be common to all your images. Once I have the easy stuff out of the way, I can use other applications like Lightroom or Photomatix Pro to give my images an extra bit of flair that I couldn't easily do with my primary programs.

Regardless of what applications you are using, it is absolutely paramount that you at least color correct and clean your images in post processing if you want to compete with other portrait photographers for your share of the portrait photography market. Actually, I should say any niche in the photography industry. The more passionate you are about your photos, the more success you will accomplish as a result.

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