Before & After – A brief look at Post Processing.

Following the recent Annual Exhibition one of our members , Sue Curry was curious as to what the effect was of post processing in Lightroom /Photoshop on some of the images.

I am aware that many of our members do not engage in much post processing for a whole variety of reasons but I thought that it might be fun to look at a few before and after images and see what the benefit of post processing is.

“Seaham Seagull” by Andrew Stockham

untitledDecember 09, 201956untitledDecember 09, 201956-Edit-EditIn this image there is a common problem ( aside from the sloping horizon ), with a RAW image that out of camera everything looks bit flat and the contrast and the lights and darks need to be tweaked in Lightroom. The panel below shows the sliders that are available to do basic adjustments. The “Tone” sliders are fairly self explanatory and it is really by playing with these and seeing their effect that you get the hang of post processing. Everything you do is non destructive  – ie if you make a mistake or don’t like something you can get back to your original image.

The “Presence ” sliders are great for adding bit more punch to the image or doing some basic colour alterations.

If you don’t want to be bothered with the sliders you can just click the “Auto” button and let the software do what it thinks is appropriate – this is often a good way to start and can work really well.

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Lets look at some other images.

“Cyclist in the Heather” by James Le Page

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In these images you can clearly see how by cropping to a more letter box shape has helped to concentrate the eye on the bits of the image that matter. By lifting the Shadows , James has revealed a colourful and interesting foreground which leads us into the image The other alterations are shown below.

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A final tip from James –  Firstly turn the image black and white , then alter the sliders in B&W before recovering to colour – something to try out and see how you get on with it !!


“Into Swaledale” by Bill Tetlow

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Again we see the benefit of cropping the image. Bill has made some great changes here to show the drama in the sky and the detail in the foreground and has changed the feel of the images significantly . It only takes a few minutes and altering the sliders in the basic panel in Lightroom, as shown below

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Finally the image “Feeding Time”  by Sue which was awarded Second place in the exhibition with , I assume, no post processing apart from cropping. I have taken the liberty of doing some very basic post processing to bring out a little more detail. The changes are fairly subtle and some may well prefer the original !!

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I hope that I have in some way been able to both show why some of us do engage in post processing and also that it is not so complicated. It would be great to hear your views on this subject and any questions that you might have.


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