5 Preparation Tips For Quality Image Processing

January 2014 1:05 PM 12 Comments

Before You Get Started

Before we start going in depth with the Develop Module we have to make sure everything is in order so we can properly and accurately process our images. We have 5 tips for you so you can start on the right foot when it comes to professional image processing.

Lightroom Image Processing Mastery Workshop v5

The following is an excerpt from the Lightroom Image Processing Mastery Workshop v5. This workshop has over 10 hours of full resolution hands on image processing instructions within the Lightroom Develop Module, and we included 30 images that we develop from start to finish so you can see exactly how it’s done. With this workshop you will learn how to master post production basics, local adjustment tools, and overall development of photos inside of Lightroom. Learn how to master every aspect of Lightroom Image Processing by clicking here.

5 Tips For Quality Image Processing

Tip 1. Use A High-Quality, Wide-Gamut IPS Display

The first and most important recommendation we have is to use a high-quality, wide-gamut display IPS monitor. If you’re a creative professional then you need to see colors accurately on your display in order to post process and create a professional product. A typical consumer model computer display is simply not going to cut it for professional work. More recent Apple computers have IPS display technology which is adequate for professional image processing. However for the professionals working on PC you’re going to want to purchase a good quality IPS monitor, and we have 2 recommendations for you.

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24in Asus PA248Q Left | 27in Asus PB278Q Right

We have monitor recommendations for all price ranges.

Tip 2. Calibrate Your Monitor Frequently

The second tip we have is to calibrate your monitor and do it frequently. If you’re using a pre-calibrated professional display that’s guaranteeing color calibration right out of the box, then it won’t be necessary to calibrate your display when it arrives. But every monitor will eventually have to be calibrated to insure that the colors are maintaining their accuracy over time.

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Because display brightness and color will change overtime, a typical display will need to be calibrated every month or so. That’s why we recommend purchasing a colorimeter and calibrating your monitors often. In our studio we use the Spyder 4 Elite and we calibrate our monitors about once a month.

Tip 3. Work In Semi-Dark Environment With No Direct Light On Your Screen

In order to see the accurate colors on your screen you want to be in a semi dark room with no direct light hitting your screen. If there is direct light hitting your screen then you might see differences in color and brightness on the screen that are not actually on your image. Also if you’re working in a room that’s too bright then you might perceive that the exposure on your image is brighter than it really is and compensate by underexposing.

monitorhood

Some of the editors in our studio like to use Monitor Hoods which prevents any direct light from hitting the screen, ensuring that colors are being perceived accurately.

Tip 4. Work From The Largest Adjustments To The Smallest

When you’re developing your images you want to work from the largest adjustments down to the smallest adjustments. For example, if you have an image that’s very overexposed you want to adjust the Exposure before you adjust something else, like the White Balance.

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Reason being, if you adjust White Balance first and then fix the Exposure, then you’re going to have to go back and adjust the White Balance again as it will look different with a different image exposure. Making this a habit will end up saving you time and avoid unnecessary rework.

Tip 5. Color Correction & Grading Is Subjective

The way you process and color your images is ultimately up to you. You are the artist, and post processing and color grading are subjective. Some people like their images slightly overexposed, some like a lot of saturation and color, and others like a lot of crushed blacks and none of those decisions are wrong! However you choose to process your photos is up to you and your style of photography.

Cool Teal and Warm Apricot Vintage Fades-5

For example, in the image above we show you how to produce two different looks for the same image, and they both work! There are many “right” ways to edit an image, and that’s important to remember. Processing an image is as creative and artistic as the act of capturing and creating the photo.

Conclusion & Learn More

With over 10 hours of hands on image processing instruction within the Lightroom Develop Module, after completing this workshop, you will be able to post process and fix common image issues as well as create virtually any type of advanced image processing effect. This workshop is designed to help photographers truly master basic to advanced post production techniques. If you’re interested in improving your post production skills, the Image Processing Mastery Workshop  has everything you need to turn you into a image processing master.

Pye

About

Pye (AKA Post Production Pye) is a founder and the Managing Editor for SLR Lounge. Pye is also a Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography, an Orange County based wedding, engagement and portrait photography studio. Connect with him on Google Plus

12 Comments

  1. Ryan Cooper

    I would actually argue that what is more important for most of us these days than having accurate, calibrated displays would actually to invest in a bunch of varied standard displays the consumers might have. With the exception of other photographers no one is going to be viewing your images on calibrated screens so for photographers focused on the digital space it becomes much more value to be able to predict how a selection of erroneous screens may display your image.

    I find often that my image may look great on my calibrated Apple display but then I see it on a low contrast screen of a friends and it makes me want to cry, however, with a few simple adjustments I can make the image look good on both display.

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    • Viet Dinh

      That should be a consideration, but I know many of my clients have really bad monitors that I can’t even white balance it so be even on anything. “Calibrated monitors” typically work because you know it work on your computer, and definitely on print.

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    • Drew Pluta

      All you can do is work with a baseline. There is no way in the world you should ever adjust your edit to attempt to hit a client target monitor. You will be wrong every time. No pro does what you are suggesting because it can not work in the real world. Tens of thousands of user machines may access an image online. How in the world could it be possible to custom edit for every monitor? You can’t be responsible for how users set up their machines.

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    • Pye

      From a workflow standpoint, I just don’t think this would make sense. For television/film production, yes, you do check how it looks on broadcast televisions. But for just the normal photographer to be doing this would be extremely impractical. Not to mention, to make things look good on every type of display, they have to be extremely flat, just like in film/television. So it wouldn’t really be possible without altering the appearance of the image significantly.

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    • Michael Steinbach

      This actually makes no sense at all! I can’t even begin to explain how wrong that statement is.

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    • JT

      I agree it is good to have a consumer monitor next to your professional editing one, to compare the two, mainly the very high highlights and very low shadow areas. i would edit for print on my pro, edit for web comparing side by side with the consumer monitor.

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  2. manfesto

    A correction:

    Neither the PA248Q nor the PB278Q are wide-gamut displays, they’re sRGB only. Not a bad thing by any means – heck, Apple’s displays are sRGB only – but they’re not on the level of your other suggestions really (nor, for the price, should they be).

    I’m pretty sure (last I checked anyway) the cheapest way into a monitor with wide-gamut AdobeRGB coverage is if you can find either Dell’s discontinued U2410 (you can occasionally still find one new), or its successor, the Dell U2413, I think both around $450-500.

    If sRGB is fine (I think it can be for most users, especially if they’re not aware of workflow considerations associated with AdobeRGB), and you’re going to be calibrating anyway (FWIW I’d take a calibrated sRGB display over an uncalibrated AdobeRGB display any day), you can save some money by going with Dell’s U2412 for a 24″ monitor, which you can normally get around $250-$280 (even for the same price I prefer Dell’s ergonomics, personally).

    If you want a calibrate-able sRGB 27″ monitor for less than the Asus, Monoprice’s 27″ Pro IPS monitor is a great deal at around $450.

    2
    • fotosiamo

      Actually, the PA246QA that I have is 98% AdobeRGB wide gamut. Its successor, the PA249QA and the larger 27″ PA249QA are also wide gamut.

      In regards to monitor calibrator, I recently switched from the Spyder Elite to the X-Rite i1 Display Pro and I have to say that it is much, much more accurate. There is an option to calibrate with over 450 colors to get very accurate colors.

      I couldn’t get my PA246QA and my new Gigabyte P35′s IPS display to color match w/ the Spyder Elite, but I was able to do so with the i1 Display Pro.

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  3. Q3

    anyone have experience with cheap 4K tv’s used as a computer monitor? those are insane resolutions for the price range.

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  4. Matthew Saville

    I’m surprised that nobody has commented about my totally ghetto monitor hood made out of craft foam, gaffers tape, and a coat hanger. LOL…

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  5. kjelle lindström

    Why do you recomend those 2 ASUS when they do not have wide gamut as you point out as important?

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  6. Steve Enoch

    FYI – The 27in Asus PA279Q is currently available for $611 on Amazon.

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