When it comes to post processing, I am trying to establish a workflow on how do I go about it. I had been using for the last few months Adobe Lightroom 3 as my main post processing tool and Photomatix for the HDR treatment. Now I’m trying my hand on another post processing software from Adobe, the Photoshop Elements 10, which you can say, is like a younger brother of the more powerful (and more expensive!) Photoshop CS5.
This photo was post processed, from Lightroom to Photomatix (for the HDR treatment using single exposure), then to Photoshop Elements 10 (for adding/blending of colors using layers and masks) and back again to Lightroom for the final touches. Why take all the trouble? I wish there is just a one-touch fix-all software but there is none, so…
This is the original photo straight from the camera. As you can see, it is bland, the contrast, color, vibrancy are flat and definitely needs a lot of work to make it pop-out.
Now this is the photo after the HDR treatment where I did some details enhancements.
I saw a lot of those photographs where the colors blended very smoothly and I just wondered how it was done. I know they were not the actual colors but how they were presented just creates a certain mood for the photograph. That’s where the layers from the Photoshop Elements 10 comes in, where you can integrate different colors, blend them or mask them to create a certain effect. You can even combine different photos into one and have every detail from the the other photo be seen seamlessly on the main photograph. You can also create a blurring effect (as what I did for the sky and water portion of the photograph) simulating a long exposure method using an ND10 filter. All of this, without making actual changes on the main photograph (the so-called non-destructive editing). With so may possiblities, a single photograph can be given so many looks and it is up to the photographer to decide which effect works for him.
I like Lightroom for the ease of use and the speed that I can make adjustments to a photograph but there are some limitations to what it can do. I am still fairly new to this program so maybe it is just hidden there somewhere but one thing is certain, there are no layers at Lightroom. External plug-ins are available, like the Perfect Layers plug-in as part of the Perfect Photo Suite 6 or a stand-alone software, from onOneSoftware but I’m thinking, if I’m going to eventually use Photoshop CS5, then the Photoshop Elements 10 is a very good training ground. Having said that, I still plan to try this Photo Suite 6 later on.
Same location but I just got lucky this time that a boat came out from the dock. Again, played around with the features of Photoshop Elements to create this effect.