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Author Topic: Please critique my image process.  (Read 4111 times)

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« on: March 06, 2008, 15:10 »
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Hello,

I am a newbie to this forum, and still fairly new to the microstock world. I was hoping you guys could critique my image process and just let me know if there is something I may be doing wrong, or something I could be doing better. I shoot with a Nikon D80, I have a custom setting set up in my menu so that no sharpening, or saturation or anything at all is added. I shoot in RAW always at ISO 100. I import these images from my camera into Apple Aperture were I organize them, from there I export them as JPEG original size. Then from there they go to photoshop CS3 for any editing, usually the only editing I do is removing logos, and playing with the levels, then export from photoshop as JPEG maximum size.

This is the process I have been using for around a year now, so far it seems to be working ok, I have a 170 image portfolio at istock and was planning to go exclusive there. However, since istock has been becoming pretty strict on model releases etc, I decided to start submitting to multiple websites. Currently im submitting to istock, dreamstime, 123rf, bigstock and fotolia. I have applied twice at shutterstock but got murdered both times heh, also have an application waiting at stockxpert, but it seems they take a while.

I was also going to consider setting up another custom setting on my D80 with maybe a little sharpening, plus saturation so I get a more pleasing RAW image straight out of the camera. I think maybe with nothing added at all my RAW images may be a little dull. It is quite a bit of work submitting to multiple sites but I have to imagine in the long run its the best approach to trying to make any money in this business. I am still having trouble grasping that "concept" image that seems to be what microstock is all about but im working on it heh.

Anyway, appreciate those of you who can give any tips or any information, especially those who shoot with a D80. If you have any custom settings that have produced quality RAW images for you. This is a great forum with lots of knowledgeable people so I will always be checking in, I am a photography student in college and love to shoot, its hard to get into that "stock" frame of mind but im working on it.

Thanks for reading  :)

- Trevor


« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2008, 15:39 »
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RAW files are just that, RAW. Keep them that way, don't go fiddling with your camera. I would suggest that saving from the RAW to TIFF would be a much better option. You will retain the 16 bit colour depth and the image want suffer any IQ degradation from JPEG compression, keep your image as a TIFF until you have finished your editing. I tend to archive both RAW and finished TIFF files and only save to JPEG for submission.

« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2008, 16:03 »
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Some will tell you that shooting JPEG and getting it "right out of the box" is the way to go. In a sense they are right, since post-processing a large number of pics can be very time consuming. OTOH, it is difficult - and not always possible, so I shoot RAW. For PS, I wrote a number of actions to speed up the process. For instance - one action to create all adjustment levels. Then a number of actions for sharpening. Also - an action for saving the processed TIFF file (Edit - Convert to sRGB- Mode - 8bit - Save as JPEG). This may not appear to be much - but saves a lot of clicks. Try to automate some most frequent and repetitive functions - it helps a lot.

Also (as said above), if you process your images, then doing it as 16bit TIFF is the way to go. Save to JPEG just for uploading. And add keywords as early as possible - I do it in TIFF stage.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 16:23 by leszek »

« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2008, 17:12 »
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Thank you for the replies, I will now try exporting from Aperture as 16-Bit TIFF, and leave JPEG to when im done in photoshop.

« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2008, 09:30 »
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Trevor,

I'd advise to keep shooting on raw to keep your options open as long as possible. However, I think you've maybe misunderstood what a raw file is. It's the information that's collected from the sensor before the camera's software can do anything to it. In other words, tinkering with saturation, sharpening settings, etc, on the camera wont make any difference at all to your raw file. It will, however, make a difference to jpegs. What I do is shoot a raw file and a 10 mp jpeg at the same time. I have my settings set-up to give me the best possible jpeg. Most often I end up processing the raw file but sometimes the jpeg is fine "out of the box" and that always saves a bit of time.

Cheers,
Bruce

« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2008, 16:27 »
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Yap, let the RAW stay raw with nothing tweaked in there. Then import to 16Bit TIFF and do all the tweaking there. Keep that TIFF as master copy. 500Gig disks are around 120Euro now so buy a pair. Just convert to 8bit JPG at the last moment and in case some things need to be redone, always start from the TIFF. The JPG is just for uploading, nothing more.

« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2008, 21:30 »
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The most important thing is to get exposure spot on in the first place.  It doesn't really matter if you shoot jpegs or RAW - if the exposure is correct you'll be fine.

Spend some time checking exposure against the histogram, and compare the results with the eyedropper tool in photoshop - that will show you if your camera habitually over or under exposes and will allow you to make the right corrections when you take pictures.

« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2008, 07:51 »
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The most important thing is to get exposure spot on in the first place.  It doesn't really matter if you shoot jpegs or RAW - if the exposure is correct you'll be fine.
True but since the dynamic range of a RAW is higher than of a JPG, you can redevelop a RAW a second time with exposure -2 and recover some blown out highlights that are totally gone in the JPG. That won't happen in well-lit studio conditions but for instance it does in sunny nature shots. After all, a compressed NEF only takes 8MB and a TIFF takes almost 60MB.

rinderart

« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2008, 14:59 »
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The most important thing is to get exposure spot on in the first place.  It doesn't really matter if you shoot jpegs or RAW - if the exposure is correct you'll be fine.

Spend some time checking exposure against the histogram, and compare the results with the eyedropper tool in photoshop - that will show you if your camera habitually over or under exposes and will allow you to make the right corrections when you take pictures.

I suggest you spend most of your time learning how to see, previsualize an image, learn exposure, really learn exposure and White balance and stop trying to "Fix" something later. Go shoot some film and it will cost you everytime you dont get it right, you'll be forced to learn exposure like a lot of us had to do. Do this, Put in the time and your workflow will improve dramatically. Spend your time on something that will make you a better photographer, not a better Photoshop Guru that loves to twiddle. microstock is about cost effectiveness unless your time VS income mean nothing. Shoot like photoshop didn't exist and shoot like each image cost you a hundred dollars. because it will. software means absoultely nothing If you cant see.

« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2008, 19:48 »
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Sound advice.

RacePhoto

« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2008, 20:09 »
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Maybe it's just being old and having started with film where as rinderart says, it cost something to take each photo, so I had to think a little before I shot. Even with bulk loading B&W and working in a lab, as a poor college student, it still cost money to take each frame, more to print them.

Not that I mind having the equivalent of a motor drive and a 200 frame roll of film, when I'm shooting racing, but for stock or scenic or anything else, it's not quantity that counts, but quality.

I haven't seen anyone mention Light Room yet, where you get non-destructive editing. The changes and adjustments are only made when you export and convert from the original RAW to JPG, or anything else.
 
Any opinions pro or con for Light Room? It does everything someone would need to do to adjust an image, without all the expense and fancy CS3 features that aren't necessary. It does EXIF and ITPC data, stores it, batch metadata.

« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2008, 21:44 »
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"...not a better Photoshop Guru that loves to twiddle. "

Hey....hey! I resemble that remark!
I love to twiddle, all the day long

The MIZ

A grumpy old photographer is defined as one referring back to the "Good ol' Days" of film.
FILM IS DEAD....may it rest in peace...and the GRUMPY Ol' photographer too!
« Last Edit: March 23, 2008, 03:54 by rjmiz »


 

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