Post Production: Curves Adjustments

It’s amazing what a little post production can do to lift a photograph to the next level. I’m not talking about HDR, or over saturating the colors, or even blending images (although all of those can ‘lift’ a photo when used in moderation), but I’m talking about the basics. The tools you can find in most photo development software. I personally use Adobe Lightroom for all my post production and cataloging and love it. I think it’s a great program, but there are many others that work just as well, especially with the basics I’m discussing here. When you shoot in RAW format (as I do 100% of the time) the file NEEDS post production. The reason I shoot in RAW is to get as much information from the original photo as possible and also be able to control aspects such as white balance and exposure in post production without losing file information. Very seldom do I do nothing to a photo. Most often, a quick curves adjustment is all a RAW photo needs. That’s what I’ve done here. The photo above is one that needed a slight curves adjustment, creating a cleaner finished product.


Above is the difference between the RAW file (left) and the developed photo (right). You can also see the curves tool on the right hand side that looks like an elongated ‘S’. On this photo I adjusted the darks to -25 and the lights to¬†+38. It creates a bit more contrast and really shows off the details and colors in the foreground and sky.

If you are serious about photography and you’re not shooting in RAW I would strongly recommend switching. You will notice a difference, especially in the digital darkroom.

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