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Raw Processing

Lesson 20 from: Environmental Portrait Photography

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

20. Raw Processing

Move into post-processing by working with the RAW files. Pre-processing with tethering offers a jump start -- learn the process of fine-tuning RAWs and organizing files.
Next Lesson: File Handling


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Introduction to The Environmental Portrait


Environmental Portrait Purpose


Personal Work


Find Your Process




Purpose For Action Editorial


Prepare for Shoot


Lesson Info

Raw Processing

Now that we've covered the entire shoot, we've covered the basis of environmental portraits and all that, we're going to move on to re-touching, whether that's carrying on with the selects we just made, file handling and folder structure, actual retouching and Photoshop and then doing some of the color work with an Alien Skin, that's what I like to do a lot of my color-in afterwards because I can really tweak it how I want to and get everything looking the same and consistent, image to image. I'll kind of go over that whole process and we'll introduce some of that software, as well. So, the first thing I wanted to do is kind of go back, again rehash what we went over and then we'll get into studio post-processing. So, again, we went over the environmental portrait, we went over the action editorial shoot here in the studio. We just finished our portrait editorial shoot with our studio setting on white seamless. And now we're going to do post-processing, and then we'll move forward for ...

the last four chapters. We're going to do our indoor location shoot, our outdoor location shoot, our post-shoot workflow, which will be a similar version to what we're going to do now, only with the stuff that we've already shot during the pre-shoot. And then, portfolio and marketing. So what to do with all those images now that we have them, how to put them together, how to show them off, and how to hopefully get work. So, with that said, let's move on to studio post-processing. First thing I want to talk about is our raw processing. We've already kind of done our tethering and our really rough raw processing. Everything when we're shooting, it's a little bit rough and gritty because the location of our subject changes. I just want a general feel when I'm tethering of what the image could look like. But when it comes to actually processing it for a client, or for myself, or for my own portfolio, I kind of start from scratch. I remember the recipe, those settings that I use, but I reset the image back down to zero, fine-tune it for that particular image and then I export that and work on that in Photoshop, then do the color last in Alien Skin and then it's ready to go. So, it's kind of a three to four step process, takes a little time but I'll show you kind of my entire process of how I go from a raw image to a finished image and everything in between. We'll talk about file handling. If you are a professional photographer or you just take a lot of photos, you'll know your computer can get quite bogged down and when it comes time to search for an image, having a good folder structure, if you have employees, having to call your assistant and tell her you need a file from a client from last June, could be a little difficult if they have no idea where that's being stored on the computer. So I'll talk about how I do my file handling and folder structure and how that coincides with invoicing and everything as well. Just so I can keep it organized. Everybody has a different system, it might be easier or better than mine. But I'm just going to explain what I do and it's worked for the last 14 or so years that I've been a photographer, so I keep it consistent, knowing that if I do that going forward I can always go back and find these old files. Retouching and color, so that will come after. Basically, we're going through Capture One, where those images go from Capture One into the file handling, then when they go after that, which is in to Photoshop and Alien Skin and then I want to break down a little bit to end this chapter of, kind of, the advertising verse editorial. It's kind of like an offshoot and it will help us get to the next stage. I just want to finish up with the images and then talk a little bit of more of a broad spectrum of what you can do with these images and we'll really get into that later in chapter eight. So with that said, let's move into our raw processing. Raw processing, I use Capture One Pro. The current version is 11. It's always changing, like I said so I don't even have that up there but yeah. Capture One 11 is what's up on the screen right now for me and that's what we'll be working in shortly. Again, you saw what I like to do when I tether but when I fine-tune it to the raw files, we like to adjust our exposure, adjust our color, our skin tones, the whole works to get everything perfect for that image. I'm kind of a stickler when it comes to technical details. I don't like sloppy photography. I do like it to be loose enough that there's a moment and it's authentic but at the same time, I like the technicality, I like the puzzle of putting together the lights and make sure everything's exposing right. You saw me use my light meter, like 50 times at least. So, I want to keep it loose but I also want to keep it done the right way. And I want to make it as little work as possible on the backend. I'm sure some of you will be probably underwhelmed by the Photoshop I do. But it's because I took so much time upfront to make sure all the lighting was there, that I don't like to sit in front of the computer forever. I'd rather go golfing or do something fun. So, I try and get it all done ahead of time so that way, the computer time is minimal. And then we're going to process to JPEG. I process all my files up to high res and low res JPEGs. A lot of people will talk about lossless files and all that. I keep all the raws. We can always go back and re-use those. But as far as file size and working, I don't want to work from a TIF file, it's huge. I'd rather work from a JPEG, send that off to somebody and be done with it. If I do layered files, I'll save PSDs so I can see the steps. But for the most part, we're talking about raws, and JPEGs and occasional PSDs, but I like to keep it pretty simple and not overthink it. I'm not creating work that's going to get in the Smithsonian or something like that, so if there's a little bit of sharing and quality loss within a JPEG over time, so be it. I have the raw file, I can always go back and work from there.

Ratings and Reviews

Julie V

I had the chance to sit in the audience for this class and absolutely loved it. Watching Dan create amazing images from start to finish in front of us was so inspiring. I've learned so much from this class. It actually gave me the confidence to start playing with lights in my studio. It was really useful to see how he sets his lights and how he can easily mix ambient light with artificial. I also love how he focuses on getting the image right in the camera to only do light edits after. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to learn more about lighting, shooting tethered and editing efficiently!

a Creativelive Student

I love this guy! I so appreciate his honesty while he is explaining his thought process, admitting that his “shoulda/coulda/woulda’s” - which I experience ALL the time. I am now going to dust off my light meter and start using it on location as I’m convinced that it works now that I’ve seen Dan’s class. I enjoyed the detailed way he sets up each light individually, checking to make sure it adds the amount and quality of light he wants. Definitely recommend this class - especially for those people who have experience using studio lights and want to see how they can be used to get specific results. Dan’s clear, simple explanations, his unabashed humility, and his sense of humor made this a truly enjoyable way to spend my time learning his methods.

a Creativelive Student

Dan is an excellent instructor! He's completely transparent with his thought processes, from technical to creative. He doesn't waste time horsing around or getting off topic, but is structured and sticks to his outline. Every minute watched is on topic, and is understandable. He's sincere and likable. The course is great for anyone interested in this genre!

Student Work