3rd P: post processing

The 3rd P of my 3P Photo Creation Process is POST PROCESSING.  This becomes a critical step to finalize your photo in digital photography.  If you have not learned how to post process, or are intimated by it, or have started but not mastered it due to a wrong or complicated workflow, read on and...[button link="http://shop.belindashi.com/products/magic-light-landscape-workflow-creative-collection" type="big" color="red"] Learn More[/button]In the DSLR photography world, there are several myths about photo retouching or post processing:

  • Myth 1 - Its main purpose is to fix bad photos

  • Myth 2 - It is too complicated and time consuming

  • Myth 3 - It is used only by professional photographers, artists, graphic designers

  • Myth 4 - It is too expensive to retouch photos.  We can't afford photoshop

If you agree with any of the above, it's quite common.  I used to think the same many years ago as a beginner and amateur photographer.  Now I can assure you that none of the above is true.

First of all, photo retouching is meant to enhance your photos.

You have to understand none of the existing digital cameras, even the most advanced and expensive ones, can capture the tonal range human eyes can see.  That's why you often see a photo with correctly exposed foreground but a washed out sky (instead of blue sky), or a nice sky with sunset colors but everything else pitch dark.  If you capture these photos often and are frustrated with them, you are not the only ones.  Even professional photographers face the same issues.The only difference between you and professional photographers is that they know how to find a better time with better lighting condition to minimize the problem, and they know how to retouch their photos to enhance the colors the camera might have missed.  See this example how timing and retouching can change the outcome of your photo from dull to dramatic.

Photo retouching doesn't have to be time consuming.

On average it takes me 5 to 10 seconds to retouch my landscape photos.  See how you can retouch your landscape photos within 5-10 seconds.

Here's another video tutorial on my photo retouching workflow.

Everyone is retouching photos these days.

OK, "everyone" might be a word with exaggeration.  But everyday millions of people are retouching their photos.  There are so many mobile apps (the most popular one including Instagram) that can help photo novices to enhance photos with one click.  Fundamentally, it's the same concept as Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets.

Adobe Lightroom is very affordable and powerful tool.

I have owned different versions and all the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and Nik Software.  I also tried Apple's Aperture, and some freeware before.  I must say Adobe Lightroom is the winner.  99% of my landscape photos are processed in Adobe Lightroom only.  It is a very powerful tool that can not only retouch your photos, but also organize your photos (Photoshop doesn't have the latter function).  And yes, Lightroom costs only a fraction of Photoshop.Although Photoshop was once the dominant tool for professional photographers and artists, many migrated toward using Adobe Lightroom to retouch their photos, especially after Adobe released Lightroom 5.To learn more about Adobe Lightroom post processing workflow, check out the following articles and resources:

  • The Fast Track of Adobe Lightroom Workflow Video Tutorial - the most essential tools that can help you efficiently organize and retouch photos

  • Magic Light Landscape Lightroom Presets - the exact tools I use to retouch each of my landscape photos within 5 seconds