Editing: obtaining the same result twice?

Do you recognize this: you start working on an unedited RAW image from your camera and try to tweak it in Photoshop as good as you can. When you are really satisfied, you save the image and start all over again. Then compare your results, are they identical? In my case they rarely are. Nearly always, I can clearly see differences in contrast, tone, saturation and so on. While in both cases I tried to get the best possible image. I wonder why this is. Am I satisfied too easily? Should I follow a strict editing method (white balance first, then levels, then color etcetera). Or does my mood change while I’m editing? So quickly?

Here’s a couple of things I’ve been considering:

  • Do everything to make your RAW image as good as possible. You can tweak a lot in your RAW converter, but try to capture your image as you want to have it.
  • Batch process RAW images. Don’t adjust settings for each individual image if you want to obtain a consistent series of photos. Same color temperature, same contrast, same curves (assumed all photos were made under identical conditions, such as in a studio setting)
  • If you’re working on multiple images, keep a reference photo open in Photoshop so you can compare (intermediate) results with the reference photo. This really helps to obtain consistency throughout a series of photos
  • Check your light conditions: are you working in natural light? Your environment impacts the way you perceive colors. If you work at night like me a lot, have a look at your photos the next day at daylight. Do you still like what you did? Or, while you’re working, take a short break, read something, watch some video and take a fresh look. Do you still like the picture like you did before?
  • Work on a neutral background. Don’t let you windows/Mac color schema distract you. Choose a theme with neutral grays of maximize your photoshop window to get rid of unnecassary window borders

Maybe I’ll come up with some more. But this is a couple of things I try to obtain consistent high image quality.

Photo frames

Today I received the Halbe photo frames that I ordered earlier this week from monochrom.com, my favorite German internet store for photography presentation supplies. I tried some IKEA frames for a small photo project in my kitchen but these frames suck in every possible way. The Halbe frames instead are extremely well-made, easy to handle and come with the nearly reflection-free Mirogard glass. Recommended!

Sick

Due to the flu I had to cancel both shoots this weekend. I hope I can re-plan on a short term basis (for now I can only think of sleeping and take a good rest). So for those who came to see the first results: be patient!

Upcoming shoots

I’ve scheduled two shoots for the upcoming weekend. Saturday I’m doing a shoot with a SG model for a new set and on Sunday I’m seeing a old friend for a full day of shooting. I’m thinking of creating a new book out of the results of one day so I need about 100 shots which are good enough and don’t look all the same (more or less).

My book has arrived

The Norway photo book that I ordered from blurb.com was in my mail this Saturday, a couple of weeks sooner than I expected actually. It looks good and I’m quite happy with the picture quality. The colors are a bit less saturated than on my screen but I may start using to apply the color profiles that Blurb provides in their B3 program. to avoid any differences in the future.

Alternative photography