Like many photographers with digital photography I have been confronted with the problem of photo processing, and their rankings ...

On the notion of optimization of picture …

The digital technology revolutionized the photography, but many amateurish photographers feel out of the race when it is about digital post-treatment. He is not as well difficult as we could believe it to realize a constant production of images of professional quality.

The digital sensors and the dandruff are wonderful tools with their own qualities and defects, but they will never be capable of seizing the dynamics and the nuances which the human eye is capable of perceiving, and of interpreting. He thus falls to the photographer to put his personal touch in an image by the meticulous edition and the post-treatment.

Most of the time techniques used today are the same that those used in past, these are now achieved by means of a computer instead of the hand in the argentic laboratory.

Some consider that the digital optimization is a deceit. I think that it is necessary to make a distinction enter " optimization of image " and "retouch of image ". The optimization of image always existed in photography. To have made of the edition under an enlarger I few confirm that this optimization was as well indispensable as she it is today in digital.

With the argentic the optimization already begins with the choice of the movie used according to the subject to be treated, (sensibility, saturation, grain, etc.) To compare with the regulations that you apply to your APN, following the conditions of recording; then this optimization continues under the enlarger with the choice of the paper and its rank, or the filters with multigrade papers, the masking of some zone of the image, to avoid the overexposure of some zone and increase the time of exposure to uncork the other zones, the possible reframing; as we see him(it) these actions are largely the same that those made today in an IT software of treatment(processing) of file Raw for example.
points to be optimized are often the same (saturation, contrast, high and low light, reframing).
Since the beginning of the photography, the photographers optimized their images in the darkroom. The difference today, it is because we use a digital darkroom (our computer) instead of the traditional darkroom, the evolution of the technology returns this easier work, and faster today, but this one remains for all that indispensable.

For my part, I consider that the "retouch of image " concern the occupations of the graphics design or the advertising, and in this case, we go away from the photography such as one little to conceive her(it) as art, or as purist. However this vision of things commits only me...

On the notion of Workflow ...

"Workflow" is the computer modelling and the management of all the tasks to be carried out in the realization of a business process (in our case the photography).

The various phases (or process) of the working cycle:

Regulation of the APN :

From the recording, I work only in Raw (file NEF of Nikon)
Some modifications of regulation at the level of the device, following the conditions of shots :

  • Regulation of image : Standart - Neutral or Saturated
  • D-Lihgtning asset : Normal - Weakness or Deactivated
  • Reduction of the noise : Low - Deactivated
  • About white balance : I trust the machine, leaving this one on Auto.
  • ISO Sensitivity : I like to choose the sensitivity, but sometimes I happen to select Auto Iso, if the light is too changeable.

Importing on the computer:

After the recording, I import my photos on the computer, I created a file by session of recording, every file corresponding for me to the good old roller of péloche argentic... These files contain a number allowing me to have a chronological classification on the working disk of the computer.
At this level I make a saving of my working disk on an external disk, before erasing or reformatting the memory card of the device.

Import in the picture library:

For the management of my picture library, I use "Capture One" of Phase One for Mac. Previously I was using Aperture, but Apple having decided not developed its program I migrated my library to Capture One. After tries of several software (Lightroom, DxO Optic Pro ...) my choice is focused on Capture One.

Several reasons led me retaining this software:

  • an interface approaching that of Aperture, although a bit more complex.
  • the possibility to organize the interface at its convenience (ability to add or remove tools).
  • The most important point, a processing engine very powerful and very fine raw files, rendering delicacy, the fine detail, better image smoothing, advanced noise management, vividness and color brilliance . This is especially true when one goes up in sensitivity. In the high Isos Capture One Pro, works wonders.
  • Software devoid of unnecessary gadgets, cluttering the working interface.

I thus import my photos in Capture One, with the following options, I leave the original raw files photos to their original locations, Capture One allows the possibility to store the file in its "catalog". On the other hand the save of the base of Capture One, does not contain the saving of the original photos, which is made independently. (see previous phase "importing on the computer").

For the classification in Capture One, I created a project to year, inside the project, I created an Album by working sequence, sometimes a "Group" which little to include several Albums.
Example : The project " Year 2010 ", inside a file "Stay Vanoise", inside the file "Stay Vanoise" several "Albums" corresponding to different hikes during the stay Vanoise. The terminology used here is the one of the software Capture one, that this little to vary in the other similar applications such as Lightroom.

During the import, I affect one certain numbers of information in metadatas :

  • One or several "keywords", these shall allow by then to examine in the picture library.
  • Place of recording, (country city region).
  • Legend.
  • Label : personally I created labels following one: "Family" - "Sport" - " Music and festivals " - "Architecture" - "Nature".
  • Possibility to apply a "style" when importing pictures.

Optimization of the Pictures :

Capture One includes a number of tools to proceed to treatment and optimization of files, to mention only the main ones:

  • Correction of the exposure
  • Correction of the white balance
  • Correction : dark tones - clear tones
  • Levels - channel Rvb
  • Color Editor
  • clarity
  • Accentuation
  • Noise Reduction
  • vigneting

We also find tools for :

  • Rotation
  • Straighten
  • Crop
  • Perspective correction
  • Retouch.(very practical to eliminate the tasks and the dusts present on the digital sensor.)

Other possibilities of the software :

  • Ability to create multiple version of an image, which are automatically stacked.
  • Opportunities to apply local adjustments, this tool allows to create layers and work on specific zones of an picture.
  • Capture One allows the collection of a photo adjustments previously treated, and apply these adjustments to a set of pictures selected. This allows you to work fast enough, with the ability to further refine the treatment, picture by picture.

I assign a ranking to the photos (ranking in the form of star), always in a concern of research. At this level of classification, some pictures may be rejected. Photos can be deleted from the catalog Capture one or how définive deleted from disk, in this case, they are found in the trash of the computer.

On the management of the Picture library...

From Capture One, a large number of operation concerning the exploitation of the picture library little to be made; to quote only the main clauses :

  • Sorting and research according to various criteria (keyword, label, ranking, etc.)
  • Creating Smart Album
  • Printing of photos:
    The module of impression allows to create and to save adjustment of impression (size of paper, orientation, margin, border, color profile of printer, etc.)
  • Export of photos:
    The module of export allows to create and to save the adjustment of export (size, definition, picture format, inlay of a logo), and allows to proceed to the export of a whole series of photos beforehand selected in a single operation. Personally I serves me as this module, for export the pictures appearing in the galleries of the site "Montagne et Nature".

Capture One includes an online help site, accessed from the question mark present on all software tools, and provides direct access to the relevant chapter. Very practical...

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