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Post-processing in Shooting the $2million image

Martin Turner (Martin Turner)

Keywords: martin_turner, studiophotography, concept, planning, composition, lighting, shooting, postprocessing, pro, professional_photography, human_factor, working_with_people, studio

This is the eighth and final part of the series Studio Photography: Shooting the $2million image

What we’re going to look at in this part goes against the grain of what most photographers think. Most Photoshop warriors believe that they can improve the shot in post-processing. Actually, this is impossible. You can repurpose an image in post-processing—for example, a photojournalistic shot which is to be used in a campaign—and you can complete the concept you began with, but there is no filter or method which turns a mediocre shot into a great one. It’s only truly great shots that will work for campaigns. If the shot you end up with is not good enough, go back to the concept and come up with something new.

There are basically three things you do in post-processing. First, you have to select the best shot. Second, you need to clean up any artefacts from the shooting process. Third, you conform the image to the requirements of the concept, ready for publication. Doing this requires three different kinds of software. Post-processing is not a question of ‘doing everything in Photoshop’. In larger organisations, these three tasks might require three different people.


The main point of this layout was to be fresh, fun and alive. Consistency was essential. This was a low-level campaign, executed on a shoe-string budget with less than 24 hours between concept and the print hitting the streets. It’s not a $2million image, but it has all the elements of the same approach.


Let’s take an example from a shoot I did recently. This was not the $2million image. It was actually the €25 image, in the sense that this was what we then spent on the media, and maybe €200 if we took into account the time it took for people to distribute the leaflets. It was for a simple ‘at home’ coffee evening. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the job properly.

In a big shoot, we would come back with 250+ shots of more or less the same thing. Less if it’s a static object, more if it’s several people all showing appropriate emotion together.

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Martin Turner (Martin Turner) on March 21, 2019

Expert professional PJ & PR photographer Ribbon awarded for his valuable contributions to the Articles section and the Wiki

You're right — it should say 3000 pixels. Good catch.

Peter Stokes (PAStime) on March 21, 2019

Interesting article, thanks. I think there is one typo where it says "3000 ppi". Thanks again Peter