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Post Production Video Tutorial One

From Color To Black & White To Color

I’m often asked, “What do you do in post production with your photos?” My first answer is, “I do my best to get it right in the camera and limit my post production as my time is very limited.” Obviously any professional photographer will tell you, “Get it right in the camera!” I agree with that statement 200% if not more, as I often hear at my photography workshops too many photographers saying, “Don’t worry about it, you can fix it in Photoshop.”

As a professional photographer who has worked with Adobe® Photoshop since version one came out over 20 years ago, I can tell you, Photoshop wasn’t meant as the “Jack of All Trades” to fix your photos. It’s not meant as your savior, it’s meant as a tool to complete the photographic process to your liking, to your photographic style. It is a tool I cannot live without, no different than in film days, we had to have chemicals to process our film and paper. Think of Adobe® Photoshop as the chemical that brings your images to life, the camera just captures what “it” sees, not what you see. Photoshop completes the process and plugins, like Nik Software Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro just tweak it even more for those demanding photographers that insist on perfection.

Post Production Photo of Model, Virgin Islands Photography Workshop

This is the "after" photo of Jenni posing on the beach during one of my Virgin Islands photography workshops.

If you’ve ever seen the documentary, “Frame From The Edge” about Helmut Newton, then you’ll know what I mean when I say, even in the film days, great photographers were just as demanding for perfection in the darkroom post production. Helmut was so critical, that one darkroom professional quit on him because he thought Helmut was too demanding on the final print. The lesson there is that the greats like Helmut are demanding because they seek the perfect image and they also understand you can’t always get it in the camera the way you see it in your mind.

This is the "before" photo of Jenni posing on the beach during one of my Virgin Islands photography workshops.

While I don’t consider myself a great, in fact I consider myself a student of photography, I do have my methods of post production from frame to frame including “Snapshots” and various others. Because I’ve done post production from the darkroom to Adobe® Photoshop, I’ve got habits, or techniques, I prefer. Sure I adapt along the way, you have to in this digital world, but I base a lot on my darkroom days. A good example, “bleach bypass” is not something software companies invented, we did that in the darkroom for effect too. It’s just easier, more predictable, and instant with our computer monitors.

Because it’s the image I took and the final photo I want to output based on what I “see” internally and feel is my photographic style, my post production will vary from frame to frame. So I could create 100 different videos on the post production of 100 different photos, though in the end, my style would still be evident. While post production has basics, fundamentals, concepts and principals like photography, there are many ways to get from point A to point B just like lighting a subject. So I hope you like my first video tutorial here where I just took a “plain Jane” image (no reference to the subject) shot in natural light and “pumped it up” a bit. No, this is not a masterpiece image, just one I decided would work for this video tutorial.

So hopefully you’ll get some ideas of my post production, my methodology, my workflow, etc., and learn something from it and apply it to your photographic style. Perhaps you’ll find an image you felt didn’t have that pizazz and use the techniques in this video to give it that tweak. Some may say these methods are too time consuming, some may say it’s just blah there are easier ways, and my answer to that, “Do what works for you as post production is the tweaking, not the solution.” In the end, its you that has to ask yourself, “Are you an image maker or a photographer?” I’m a photographer, I’m just set in my ways of post production and most of the time, I’m demanding about it.

While I’m no Helmut Newton, an iconic photographer I admire, I am just as demanding of my final output as he was and because I’m often asked how I get my images from point A to B in post production, I’ve decided I’d start sharing you a few techniques via video tutorials when I can. I hope you like it and since I’m a one man show including photographer, webmaster and chief bottle washer, don’t judge my video production methods, I’m a still photographer first, not a webmaster, videographer or video editor. Enjoy and don’t forget our men and women in the military along with their families and friends, God Bless! Rolando

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  1. Great video. Love the technique. I would have never thought of using the snapshot technique you used. I also would have never thought to use Silver Efex Pro to bring in color.

    Thanks for the tips!


    • Julie,

      Thanks! Again, this is one of hundreds of methods of doing post production, it varies from image to image so the possibilities are infinite. Thanks!

  2. If you really are a good phpaogrtohy, it really doesn’t matter what kind of camera you use, just as long as you know how to use. First of all, learn about how a camera works. Learn about the basics like aperture settings, shutter speed, exposure, ISO settings and framing and composition such as the rule of thirds. Remember that you own the camera and not the other way round.

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Welcome to (Lens Diaries™), a hybrid photography blog with social flair. The photoblog provides photo tips, photo tutorials and photo diaries by professional photographer, author, writer, speaker and social media consultant, Rolando Gomez.

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