Process

My Post-Post Processing Workflow
Below I describe my current post-processing technique that I use for the majority of my photos. Even though I have a general process that I follow, I do not apply exactly the same steps for every photo since each image is unique and requires different techniques. I’m always experimenting and trying new things and the process is dynamic. I will update this page as the process changes.

Software
The software that I use to process photos:
• Lightroom
• Photoshop
• Google Nik Collection

Lightroom

1. I start in the Lens Corrections panel. I check “Enable Profile Corrections” and “Remove Chromatic Aberration”. I try the Auto button. Sometimes it works really well, a lot of times it doesn’t.
LightroomLensCorrectionsPanel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. I crop and/or straighten the image if necessary.
LightroomCropAndStraightenPanel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. I then go the Basic panel. Here I bring down the Highlights and bring up the Shadows. I set my white point and black point by holding down the shift key and double clicking on the Whites and the Blacks slider. I increase the Clarity and the Vibrance slightly. I leave Saturation alone. I move up to the White Balance and try the presets to see which looks best. Sometimes I might set the White Balance manually if none of the presets work for me.
LightroomBasicPanel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Finally under the Detail panel I Sharpen the image but use the Masking tool to remove it from the sky or water since I don’t want to sharpen these areas and introduce noise. If the image has a lot of noise I remove it by using the Luminance and/or Color noise reduction. I try to be careful about the amount of noise reduction I use since it can soften the image considerably.
LightroomDetailPanel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After completing these steps in Lightroom I open the image in Photoshop for additional work.

 

Photoshop

1. Create a new layer and use the Spot Healing Brush and\or the Clone Stamp Tool to retouch and repair the photo if needed.

 

2. Use Pro Contrast in Color Efex Pro to give the image some contrast.  I usually just add a bit of Dynamic Contrast.
colorefexprocontrast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Darken the midtones by using midtones luminosity masks and Levels.
levels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Open the shadows by using darks luminosity masks and Levels.
levelsdarks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Dodge and Burn.  Much of the work is done in this step, dodging and burning and painting with color.

 

6. Orton Effect.  Give the image a slight glow by using the Gaussian Blur filter and increasing the brightness and saturation.  I lower the opacity of the layer considerably, usually to 10% or less.
gaussianblur brightnesscontrast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. I bring back some of the textures and details by using the Tonal Contrast filter in Color Efex Pro.
colorefextonalcontrast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Finally, I create a vignette by using the Darken/Lighten Center filter in Color Efex Pro.
colorefexdarkenlightencenter