I’ve been spending a lot of time setting up a new website where I will host a good deal of images. It will use Zenfolio as a back-end and have the ability to allow for buying downloads and ordering prints. Before that while going through my 1300 or so cruise images I setup a few standard processes for processing images so that they look how I feel they should.
When processing images the way I do, it takes a good deal of time. I always am trying to find ways to speed up the process, but on the other hand I always want to have each image tweaked to my eye.
Here are a few points to my (post) processing process:
I shoot images in RAW (DNG) format with flat colors.
I use my old license of Photoshop CS2 on Linux through Wine.
I recently bought a copy of “Noise Ninja” plugin/standalone software.
Steps for post processing that result in finished full resolution pictures (meaning I don’t shrink these as they will be for my Zenfolio gallery):
1. Open a block of images in Photoshop (say 50 at a time) so the RAW converter pops up.
2. Go through each image and tweak the colors of the images I feel are worthy of public viewing.
3. For some images, straighten the horizon line and/or crop the image a bit.
4. Open all of the images in that set into photoshop.
5. Apply the first of two actions that I setup on the image to see if it makes the image vibrant enough for my eye and how I felt the scene looked at the time of capture. This action performs Shadow/Highlight correction (say +X% to both), +XX contrast, auto contrast, -X brightness. This action set results in a image with nice virbrant details yet extracts out some shadow and highlight detail I feel should be visible.
— If the action results in a keeper, I continue on, otherwise I backtrack and do manual tweaking of the image from import.
6. Examine the image and remove any dust spots or other anomalies using the spot healing brush, or the clone stamp tool if the spot brush has issues. I also make final modifications to overall look and feel with various tools.
7. Action 2 consists of auto processing setting in Noise Ninja to remove unwanted sensor noise, conversion from 16-bit to 8-bit, and saving a jpeg in 12 (maximum) quality.
So lately I’ve been going through batches of images with that process in mind. It is time consuming, but I feel it results in the best image possible.