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My Quick Edit and Q&A

Lesson 20 from: Photographing America's National Parks

Ian Shive

My Quick Edit and Q&A

Lesson 20 from: Photographing America's National Parks

Ian Shive

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Lesson Info

20. My Quick Edit and Q&A

Lesson Info

My Quick Edit and Q&A

There are to at least distinct ways and there's many different ways to edit photos when I talk about editing I'm now no longer talking about the selection process but the postproduction process there's two different ways to post process you work we'll process your work kind it's already looks so different than my screen right now but the ultimate I'm going to go back to camerata fault so look out dark this images and ultimately ended up picking this frame to process this was in general and to be completely honest less than ideal in what I shot out there on this waterfall um had I been there and focusing a little bit more on on the brights and the whites and the balance and everything I probably I would have gone back if we weren't filming an educational thing I probably would have gone back to this spot after sunset when the light was even more uniformed throughout the entire area so I probably went back a third time now I would have went back at this time to it was overcast and would ...

seemingly be great but the light was still so bright and the nights and the in the daylight sky that the water fall in the water feels so white water that the reflection was incredible on but the sky meaning the brightness of it was so so much different if you look at even how dark the shot is this is probably still, where you know the waterfall should be is somewhere in there, you know, another almost full stop down from where this actual shot was, but that said, I didn't see shoes you lost in the resolution, so my editing process is to go through the I'm sorry post process that I would go through, I'm just going to walk you through. I would use this it's called dhobi camera raw sea are one thing I want to point out to everybody, especially the stock photography world, that a lot of people mrs is tiny little bar away down here, and this is where you're allowed. I'm not allowed, but are able teo change the resolution at which your camera is producing what you're actually reword, that this is where you're able to set the processed resolution of your image. I obviously go in adobe color space rgb nineteen, ninety eight as the same selected on our camera yesterday during the course death. Typically, I would process that sixteen bits have been in the habit of doing eight bits there's a whole world around that essentially that's talking about yur color depth on that. I don't think most monitors can do sixteen bits, yet I think twelve is now the highest, but everything is changing on that, so I do sixteen because it's like if I'm gonna add it into color manipulation photo I want to do it with the maximum amount of information possible so choose sixteen edit in there and then before I save my photo as a jpeg which is how I finally store my photo I'll go back down to a pit but I edit in safety and then cut down to eight file size if you'll notice there's no these air minus signs and this is a plus sign the one without anything is the native size of my sensor twenty one megapixel approximately this is a cannon five the mark two that are shooting with and you'll see these of the pixel dimensions fifty six sixteen by thirty seven forty four s o five point six k or five thousand six hundred lines of resolution that's the native if I were to go up that would be interpreting it up on what image was naturally captured that so what I'm referring to here is resolution this is pretty standard this fifty six hundred by thirty seven forty four's pretty standard for the industry in the professional world for our agency and for a lot of agency they require at least a fifty two hundred pixel on the longest side image to be submitted so fifty two hundred is very common for whatever reason if you're not shooting a twenty one megapixel camera might be shooting an eleven point two and you see it drops down to only four thousand lines of resolution I would increase that I would interpret wait up up on a couple of notches to get it to at least the fifty one twenty you know probably closer to the fifty, six hundred the reason for that is not an agency thing it's actually what our clients asked for you know to get a two page spread across the magazine you need at least twelve and a half inches a cz muchas nineteen inches depending on the type of magazine somewhere larger for men and so on and like magazines about the only place images get published their billboards so on and so forth we recently had a whole takeover of a train station here seattle with images that were the size of the walls on dh so you know you don't want to go up and over with your interpellation to the point where you see a loss and resolution but in all honesty I have seen everybody in the pro world inter plate up at least one or two steps and has been perfectly ok you don't want to take a six megapixel camera and turn it into a twenty one megapixel shot that well work however ifyou're going from eighteen to twenty one making couple small steps it's fine not all images were created equal either for whatever reason some images fall apart faster than others if they're too bright over exposed so on so forth so some images pulled up a little bit better. Either way, my camera works at its native resolution. I'll keep it here fifty, six hundred twenty one megapixels. And then I'll set my resolution to three hundred peop e I or pixels per inch. Three hundred again is the standard a lot of cameras default to two forty the standard required by my clients by our agency and by many of my colleagues in the photography world was also three hundred it's kind of a baseline I've had requests for four hundred, I've rarely ever had requests for less than three hundred so and certainly have never been requested for two forty so three hundred, excuse me three hundred is where I go, I click okay? The truth is, if you've doing this once on your machine, once you set those settings, as long as you're not changing machines or re setting some aspect of your software, those settings will stay permanently. So this is something you can just do once and you're done, so I'm going to process everything at that sixteen, and now I'm ready to make my changes. I try to make many changes I can't to my raw file at this point now, if you're using light room, um, the interface is very, very similar, the tools very similar. I'm gonna walk through my set up and actually show you how I tweet this image I'll go through and show you how I treat other images it's going to be more exciting though I think when we get to the landscape editing and I'm actually going to edit a variety of landscapes for you but that's tomorrow but I'll give you a sense of how this image got processed on dh how this composition kind of came together there any questions on anything though first that I just showed you faras setting resolution say from frozen photography in the chat rooms who says please let and know that this is very helpful so great here yeah glad to hear it from you any questions here in the studio audience bye let me check again with the folks at home would you do would you do the ups step even after you crop trying to see it up step after you crop uh no, I mean I would probably do everything now and then I don't really crop is that talked about love it yesterday I'll crop a little to straighten out her eyes and try to get as close as I can in the field to remember if you have a twenty one megapixel camera and you crop five percent of your frame you've just cropped five percent of your megapixel can you just cropped out that much if you only you know, like let's say, I took this picture that you see on the screen right now and let's say hypothetically, I wanted to make it a vertical. This is something everyone I know likes to do. Wow, we're so much better is a vertical. Well, at least half, if not more of my pictures being cropped out. Twenty one megapixels just became, uh, ten and a half megapixels and more because this is not losing more than half. So now it's closer to eight. Megapixel or not publication ready. You would never really get anything it's very difficult. Getting published under ten megapixels these days. Yes, there's. Such thing is too much. I personally have ah, bit of a data asset management issue with way too large a catalog shoot with the d a hundred and the files are enormous. So is there a point where you just say enough is enough for? Do you like to keep just would you still keep everything? Are you speaking more in the sense of, like keeping all my raw files? Are you saying the sense of inter plating images up in storing them larger? Not just that, but a bit versus sixteen bit versus lost list for I'm only an added sixteen, but I'll save my image. In a so I want to edit in the maximum space so before I actually even save a file here because a member when you're editing a raw file on dh for those who don't know editing a raw file, I'm not actually changing this file permanently. Every change I make khun b undone on dh, so I'm going to make a siri's of changes and color adjustments and highlights in shadows and clarity and all that other stuff I can undo it at any time and stores it in a sidecar file called an ex mp, and so that sidecar files actually where those changes go that's the beauty of the raw file, a raw files essentially a digital negative, and so these steps and processes that I'm making now sixteen but I will always reduce to eight before I store the file, but in the meantime, while making color changes and really messing around my file and once they get it in the photo shops is going to go from here to photo shop to then be saved as a high res jpeg that will be the that will be when I make the conversion and ultimately that'll be the file I save greatly reducing the file size to answer the question about is there such a thing is too much. You know, it's it's a tough thing to answer, I mean, it has to relate to the budget and how much you really willing to spend on hard drives and everything else I think they're is. I mean, I think you could really go overboard very easily in saving every version of every file, layered and so on. I'd rather have to go back and re edit a raw files and save five different psd files that are going to be gigantic, you know? I'd rather go back and just keep the raw, and I keep the j peg that's a personal choice. I don't I used to store tiff files, I looked at storing psd files, the file sizes for me were ridiculous, and I didn't think were necessary on dh, you know, with that, if I could save the raw and the ex mp, if it's been processed and a high res j peg, then I feel like I have everything I've ever needed. And quite frankly, I've never had that problem everyone's different, but I've never had a problem with that methodology, and I'm going to spend a lot more time on this tomorrow in the landscape section and actually go through more of the dodging, burning, sharpening process, but just give me an idea on how that water shot got to where it was. So I'm going to analyze all of this and you have color temperature and so on and you know, one tool that's great for managing white balance and I know that was a big thing that was asked yesterday's to actually pick something that's white in the frame using what's called the white balance like a white balance tool or eyedropper looking type of thing and you can click on this and get a good white balance on the object and you want to be sure that what you're picking is white you could always zoom in as well and do so um uh I spent too much time on that but essentially if you want to fix your white balance you could do that thing you do is you could do a manual or visual version of your white balance white balance obviously based on the kelvin scale as I was saying yesterday something it's too warm to hot think of ah flame for instance of a candle gets really red and hot orson is really cold like ice it gets very blue that's what we're talking about with color temperature on the kelvin scale tint is the greens and magenta sze you can go and adjust those is necessary as well ultimately I want to get and the great part about the white balance to lt's like let's say it's completely off and this is my shot and let's say, I accidentally left my camera in this setting. This is a lossless process. You can adjust your white balance without losing resolution in your image, but I want to go back and try and get to where I was that little white balance tool brings me pretty close to end. It looks just a touch warmer to me than it did at the scenes. I'm just going to cool it down a little bit. I'm going off of sort of the eyeballing of it, then you've got my exposure, which looks dark, and we know it's dark, but I'm just going to go a little bit up, and then I'm going to see how those highlights look, and this is sort of bordering I see the highlights, it's, just that waterfall it's going in and really that's, the only thing I'm adjusting now, I could dodge burn, I could've done multiple exposures, but for the most part, with the darker exposure, I'm ableto more less preserve that most going to open up the shadows a touch, but it doesn't seem to be really needing too much of that, so I don't even need to really do much. I like a lot of contrast to my image is this is the tool here, and they're darks, and you can also do it here with the darks and shadows and have even a little bit more control over it as well depending on how you want to do it it's completely up to you I tend to like a really punchy photo so I tend to bring these down and trying to bring out the bold lines and edges around it you notice and all the work I have it adds a little bit add it's a little bit of punch to it maybe put up the clarity clarity really references that mid tones you know? But I don't I don't do a huge amount of the dusting generally this highlight adjustment is probably the highest highlighted investment I've ever for the time I mean this is exceptional because like I said, I kind of screwed up a little bit in the field and how I I worked this scene so I'm gonna try and rescue that a little bit using the highlights if you're an older version of photo shop they call it rescue you know I think it's a rescue tools the name of it the penny and what you're using a little bit of vibrance maybe a touch of saturation on it all right? So I'm kind of bring it in but obviously things still looking a little darks and now come back after I've added those pieces and these air pretty standard for me around those same settings there's no one we don't now increase the overall look of the picture, but then I'm looking, and I'm saying that the edges still seem pretty dark and here and here, one thing I like to do is enabled lens profile, clara correction. So what that does is you click on this tab appear for lens corrections, and you could see, enable lens profile correction. What that does is it reads the metadata that camera stores the information in my camera stores, and it makes an adjustment for the you know, this, how the orientation of the images in the orientation, but the, uh what would be the word convex khan came it's vignette ing partially definitely, but it's also stretching the image, is taking out the distortion of the lens, so wide angle lens will distort it corrects for that distortion. So you notice they also takes care of a little bit of that problem of that? Been getting on the edges, a cz well, and you see, we're at f twenty to one point three seconds. We're at that low I s o fifty. So these settings we went over in the field. It's not looking too bad. One tool I really like in general, is this, uh, little brush tool, and you'll see if I highlight it school, the adjustment brush and the area in the center the center circle is the main spot that's being affected and the outer circle around it is the feathering so that way the adjustments that I'm going to make sort of dissipates or gradually go out around it and you wonder why I'm doing wherever this brush goes these settings over here are going to be what effects the results um one thing that you want to make sure is that these are all zero um and I'm going to say, well, these are still a little dark in here so I'm gonna just go at about a thirty I'm going to move my brush size up a little bit and get a little bit larger and the idea is that I'm trying to get it at a nice size where I'm going to kind of work it like you would if you were in a dark room and you have the light coming through on the paper back in the day and you kind of worked a little too was my favorite thing is a kid was the kind of dodge and burn and essentially that's what I'm about to do is dodge and burn says you notice I'm applying this and kind of moving it around and I'm just going to hit a few areas and I typically will do a different area for each are different pin for each areas you know this little pin got dropped when I highlighted, it shows me the area that I just went over now what I can do that I have that in there's kind of a quick mask in a way I could go on a just that area independent, and you see the feathering effect it's, not a hard line, but this is where it was at, and I'm going to go just a touch brighter and there, but the ideas I want to blend, so I didn't quite blend all the waste, and I'm gonna go and do just a little bit in that corner and lighten it up, and I could just do also adjusting the vignette ing, but I'm not going to just do the edges. I also feel like I want the face of this rock to open up a little bit, something to do, and I had a little bit of dodging in there do new for this section looks a little large, somebody reduced the size a little bit, and then I might add a little bit here in the tree, but the same do another one because this is feeling a little dark in here is, well, so I'm gonna go across here, so now I'm starting to get more of an equally balanced image, and I'm completely done with this image, because what I'm going to do next is bring in a photo shop open this is probably the most difficult image could've picked for this, so it could be a lot easier like the rainier shots they're like very quick a few quick steps you can do so those of the adjustments that I'll make on this then I'll actually first thing I always do then as I look at my history ram or my levels I was paying attention on them and there is well but I'm double checking here and notice that dark this sistah graham is revealing for this image still thinks that this image is really way too dark but it's very punchy on the screen and you see that because there's no information really over here it's saying that this is where your light should begin but I go all the way over there oh clams, my water folks audio's so I'm gonna go and probably say you could do this open up this is your contrasts is your darks here like that? It's all worked this and in this particular case china exactly. I don't even know what I did. How did I do it? Um I'll probably not go all the way over here, um but you could see see the area that's, not the highlight look at the difference on how much it opens up in there, that's ultimately the result that we would want to get now the question is how do we deal with that in the highlight? And so we can go we could really break it down, we could certainly layer it I'm just going to show you quickly we'll probably just go to right about here I'm gonna have a contrast, tio and I've lost them my highlights. What I would do now is if I saw that I'd actually go back to the raw file and I would probably bring the highlights down even more all the way then I would go in with the adjustment brush and darken just this area too much, too much and then reopen the image. I would have closed that one problem the first two, and the reason is I already know that history rams too too far over, so now what I'm gonna do is move that over and you see, I didn't lose the waterfall nearly as much and you could add some saturation to it about there just a little bit and on the double check for dust so I zoom in usually do about one hundred percent and I do a little dust check again one of those things I've gotten really good at identifying and I used the spot healing brush and I just resize it and away it goes, um getting rid of dust is not considered digital manipulation by ethnic standards so dust is something we have all been removing since the age of black and white film and prints were made on dh it has made it through the test of time and digital world I'm so in general looking through and my dust is looking pretty good I would normally do a little bit more of a rigid analysis but the interest of time and then I would lastly smart, smart, sharp in my image and I usually go around two pixels depth between forty and fifty percent depending on the image because remember raw files not a sharpened file it's an un sharpened file so you have to do all these changes there's no contrast it's a saturation very little anyway and then sharpen and ultimately that would be the and image that I would uh I would get and from there I would reduce it from sixteen to eight and save it as a high res jpeg and that would be the process. Each image is a little bit different. The most important thing I really want to convey about the whole thing is the dodging and burning of it all because that is really how I manage the highlights and shadows and each of these images you know, if you look at an image that I've already processed, you'll see the settings that are already here I brought these highlights all the way down open up the shadows, significant amount, this is an incredibly difficult place because you had immense amount of contrast taking place on dh, so you could see that these manipulations we're already done in there if I hit the healing brush, you see that I actually didn't do any I'm starting a healing brush, the adjustment brush, I didn't actually make any adjustments, no dodging and burning on this particular image, any questions on any of that stuff again? Another way that other people might do this would be to open this file with maybe no adjustments to the and do all the adjustments in layers so you could go back and fix each one. I make a cz many adjustments as possible in that adobe a cr adobe camera raw, then just make a few final adjustments in photo shop two or three things I also choose to do levels saturation and sharpening last you don't ever want to sharpen first you wanna sharpen last should be the last thing you do you may hear often that agencies and places don't want you to sharpen your images. They don't want you to sharpen images that are already really sharp, so if you've already photographed a j peg, you don't want to go and then sharpen that j peg, but because of raw files on sharpened you do definitely want to add some you don't most people tend to really, really over sharpen over sharpening will destroy your photo very quickly so you know it. I just do a little bit, probably almost unnoticeable amount, but enough to give it the sharpness and there's a pre production process that will happen and with actually getting your images printed on at that point, you can actually your image will actually get sharpened. Get a question very good, actually to one is since you ever convert to dmg because the ex mp file becomes embedded in the g and g, and then you only have to worry about one following the little negative file. Yes, I haven't made that a practice, but it is a common and supported practiced by many pros. The only reason having made it to practice is that I to simply have always done it with a c r to in the exit p sidecar. Andi it's worked well for me. Uh d ngs I've heard issues about what the future of the energy maybe is file format where, of course, storing your native cr too, which is a cannonball file format, doesn't is not I've never heard its future being in jeopardy. So how that has merit or not about d n gs? It probably just started in the tire rumor thing going online right now, however, I have heard that about that file format, maybe not sticking around permanently, but I'm not sure the veracity of that is in going from a c r into photo shop. Why don't you bring in is a smart objects, so you could just go back and forth you could that's another way to do it as well. Yeah, you could do that that's actually the way that my father doesn't weigh very different things. So that's why I choose not to do it because he does one half a dozen of another, I dont really typically and go back and forth all that often, to be honest. Two I do this because a speed has been more important to me than the ability to constantly revisit in revise an image. And so this is more about the speed in which I do a process I maybe revisiting out of one hundred images issue I might revisit. One or two over several months at the most mostly adjustments that I make, I make him and I'm on my way, they submitted and they're out the door, so I'm kind of a fast workflow person and that's what this system is meant to be there is absolutely and probably considered even a better workflow, which is smart objects, adjustment, layers and ability go back and constantly rework a file. I'm not the kind of person that constantly works. If I'll try to get as close as I can in the field, I make my adjustments one, two, three save out and stored and then it's either going out for sale or going to my client s o this is the work feel that I've chosen to work for me. I kind of call it the journalists workflow because it's really very similar to a lot of people I know that are more on that same day deadline or very close deadline, and because certainly when I was traveling in was three hundred days a year in the field and I was turning around assignment after assignment every three to five days. This was the workflow that work the best for me, but it's evolving, and I'm always open and also learning more and seeing how I can improve that process.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Field Guide to Photographing the American Wilderness
Icons of Nature Keynote
National Park Photography Intro and Setup
Photo Editing Keynote
10 Steps to Processing Perfect Star Trail Images
Business of Photography Keynote
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


I have taken quite a few courses with createlive and this was by far one of the best. Ian is a fantastic teacher and remarkable at describing what he is doing and his thought process clearly. There is so much good information in this course, I definitely plan on buying this class. Not only is Ian a great teacher, but he also seems to genuinely want to help other photographers and see them succeed. You can tell he cares more about seeing good pictures of nature than anything else. I cannot recommend this course enough. Whether you are a beginner who shoots landscape photography as a hobby or a professional who already specializes in landscape photography, this class has something to offer and will expand your skill set. Can't thank Ian enough and I hope he does another course soon.


Ian is a great teacher and it is great when some one who "can do", can also explain how he does it. Clearly, his experience and commitment are why he is good at what he does. There is a lot more to a great photo than getting the camera settings and filters right. Ian did his best to help us understand what to look for when "working the scene" and finding a good composition without distractions. A great course. Thank you, Creative Live and Ian Shive.


Amazing course. Ian Shive is a wonderful teacher, as well as photographer, and it all comes across. I was glued to my computer for the entire 3 days when the class was live, and just had to purchase it so I don't lose any of it. The bonus materials alone are worth the purchase price. I've got a trip coming up soon and will have the opportunity to put some of what Ian said into practice; and love that I can have it with me on my portable devices so I can refresh my memory and reinforce it all. Great to have on a long plane ride. If you are on the fence, get off that fence and go purchase this great course!!! You won't be sorry. My thanks to CreativeLive, and Ian Shive for giving us this wonderful opportunity to not only learn, but to actually be in the field with Ian.

Student Work