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DaveSoderlund

Geneva, US
504 posts

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DaveSoderlund Silver Member Laureate Ribbon awarded as a Winner in a Nikonians Best of Images Annual Photo Contest Nikonian since 29th May 2010
Fri 11-Oct-13 06:50 PM

In answering another post I made reference to my "usual tweaks" in Aperture. Over time I've developed a pretty standard workflow that might be of interest to some. After I import RAW images and identify the ones I want to play with, I tend to do the following with nearly every image.

•Adjust Exposure, especially for images with blown highlights, keeping in mind not to dump to much off the left side of the histogram.
•Make initial coarse adjustments with Contrast, especially if it is a low contrast image
•Increase Definition (usually to something in the 0.2 - 0.3 range). I really like the effect this gives if not overdone.
•Modestly increase saturation (to 1.1 or less) -- seems to be needed on a lot of images
•Turn on the "blinkies" and provisionally set Black Point. (I like to have a bit of real black in most images).
•If blown highlights are still a problem, work back and forth with Recovery and Highlights to pull them back in to my satisfaction, then turn off the "blinkies".
•Adjust midrange contrast, either with the Mid Contrast slider or a Curves adjustment.
•If I haven't cropped or straightened at the outset to correct in-camera composition flaws, this is a good time to explore composition alternatives -- occasionally a severe crop will make me have to go back and re-visit some of the prior adjustments.
•If I'm still not sure I have what I want, this is where I generate a new Original and try the "Magic Wand" button or a few presets to see if they can teach me anything else about the image..

For many images, this is the end of the road and it really only takes a few minutes. This is also the point where I consider plug-ins -- my three favorites are NIK's Viveza, Color Efex Pro 4, and Silver Efex Pro 2 (for B&W). If the image has blemishes (sensor spots, other things that need to be repaired) I go to Photoshop CS6, but I hardly use it for anything else.

Obviously, for HDR images, I bypass all of this and send the RAW files directly to HDR Efex Pro 2. I usually try to avoid lift-and-stamp cropping prior to HDR processing just to avoid any alignment issues.

So, that's it. I welcome your comments and critiques. Am I missing something really useful that I should add? I'd also love to hear how others approach this.

Dave

http://davidmsoderlund.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsoderlund/

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