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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January/February 2007 HelpLine

Labels: HelpLineHow To

Workflow And The Unwanted

Q)  I've been reading PCPhoto and the HelpLine articles for years now. They've helped me quite a bit. My question: When is the best time in the workflow of editing a picture to remove unwanted objects (i.e., telephone poles, signs, etc.)?

Brian Bivolcic
Via the Internet

A)  Ah, workflow...to some, workflow is a passion; to others, it's a buzzword that drives them crazy. To those not familiar with the term, workflow is the specific arrangement of steps used to "process" your images—to take them from the camera to the finished image, whether that be a print or slideshow or Website.

My workflow isn't fancy, nor is it unique (and there are many other different workflows based on unique photographic needs). For some images, you may need to use more steps than others.

Here are the key, simple steps that apply to both RAW and JPEG file types that work for me and include the timing of problem removal. The tools may vary somewhat between RAW and JPEG, but the basic steps are the same. (I've skipped the file organization, naming and copying part of the workflow in order to deal more specifically with your question.)

1. Initial Cropping And/Or Straightening. I often find it difficult to begin working with an image if it isn't straight (partly because I wonder what I was thinking when I captured the image). There's also the problem of unnecessary elements near the edges. If I plan on cropping these elements anyway, I do it now so they don't distract my eye when I make other adjustments.

2. Correcting Drastic White-Balance Problems. As I've mentioned in earlier columns, I think it's important to pay attention to white balance, even when shooting RAW. In this step, I want to get the image close to what I saw at capture. I don't spend a lot of time tweaking color. At this point, I just get it close.



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