I can’t say I’d use exactly the same post process, but I made it my goal this year to share it with all of you and so here it is.
Here is Picasa’s interpretation of the image
I want to make it perfectly clear that shooting in raw is a must, while the camera does a much better job of processing the image than picasa, the flexibility of the workflow when you start with RAW is staggering compared to any JPG editing, not to mention applying compression prior to editing seems counter productive (at 36 megapixels no one can tell, but my technical sense suggests at some point it can/will make a difference)
I am not here to start a whole shoot jpeg shoot raw debate, but if you are moving to digital post production the raw image is as close to a negative as you can get.
For those of you who are here to see the final product you can go ahead and skip the mumbo jumbo. Just do it – skip to the pretty picture at the end!
For those who want the rundown on how the above turned into the below please read here:
1. Graduated ND filters in camera raw
I applied 2 grad ND filters and reduced the exposure about 0.3 EV from the left and from the bottom right.
This helps balance some of the light in the shot and helps to reduce the area of overexposure
The highlights in the cross are quite overblown. I chose this image of the set to edit first due to this. I wanted to see how distracting the white hole in the center of the image would be. I have to admit it pulls quite a bit of focus and attention.
3. Exposure adjustment
I dropped the exposure by 0.2. That is all – in camera exposure is the best
4. WB – White Balance
Balance the whites. I noticed the image tended towards the blue so I cut the blue channel a bit in favor of the yellow, this had the effect of making the image more inviting without reducing contrast or the rich red tones in the wine highlights
5. Sharpen all the way off
I always remove image sharpening at this stage. This is one area where the camera does a much better job than software. In any case I turn it off for now, we will sharpen later…and the new CC filter for smart sharpen in photoshop is pretty excellent
6. Cross cloning
I added a bit of length to the lower leg of the cross. Nothing to fancy just a simply clone and blend using layer masks
7. Apply warming filter
8. Boost contrast
I added a second layer with an aggressive gausian blur and applied it as overlay reducing opacity and fill until desired level of contrast achieved. Then I masked out the wine glass. I’ll want the extra sharpness and clarity later.
9. Boost brightness
I love the look of these adjustments on almost any picture. Adding midtone contrast is a great way to make the image pop without adding too much clarity slider
11. Flatten image
Unsharp or smart sharpen. Both work well depends on your needs. I used smart sharpen lens blur.
There you have it. One – not quite print worthy photo – planned setup shot edited and published in 30 days.