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Before & After

By pmorgan  
Thought Id post this one mainly for newbies (I hate that word!)

When I first joined epz I, as Im guessing many of you did, looked on in awe at what certain people where posting on here. They must all have really good cameras, as my shots never look like that! etc

Slowly the penny dropped, and I realised that there were very few images that caught my eye straight out of camera. After lots of reading and messing with layers and curves I started to get the look that had inspired me originally, and gradually developed a workflow.

Obviously there are times when you dont have to do anything to a shot except sharpen and resize for web, but In all honesty they are far and few between for me!

As its Friday I thought Id post a before and after to illustrate my point (which will get slammed by the purists, but hopefully help some people Smile)

This was a shot from last year, I was happy with the composition (pretty much always got to get this right as cropping to suit doesnt always work), but the exposure was poor.

I opened the RAW file V2 and did no more than 15mins photoshop work to get V1. Ill admit its a tad over the top, but as you are reading this, it must have caught your eye!

If you got this far thanks, and if you are a beginner I hope it has shed a bit of light!


Tags: Digitally manipulated Landscape and travel

Voters: Petr, rontear, cdm36 and 106 more

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Metalhead 10 1.9k 2 England
15 Jan 2010 4:48PM
Just shows what can be done. I think it's a prime example of the major "pro" of using digital... Can't think of any "cons"...

I remember reading your tutorial on the hay bale images from last year...

Keep 'em coming. The new people (and regulars!) will find them invaluable.


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WL_Harris 9 3 2 United States
15 Jan 2010 4:48PM
Very impressive work, you did start with a excellent shot but the after is awesome.
Lee (newbie)
15 Jan 2010 4:49PM
Distinctively yours - and I have now picked up some of your prcoessing skills from your excellent DVD - which I am happy to endorse here
LeeFisher 9 59 8 England
15 Jan 2010 4:49PM
great landscape shot, really like the light reflections in the rocks,
arhb Plus
10 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 4:59PM
Excellent work Paul, and thanks for showing how things look before and after - and, more importantly, how quickly you can process to get to a finished image.
andy_AHG 9 106 6 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 5:14PM
Great shot Paul and ace write up.

picturistic 8 7 7 Wales
15 Jan 2010 5:16PM
Paul, its a great shot v1 and v2, love your processing, I think you should have done a 1-10 of the process. I for one would love it

Nobody likes a clever ****, sadly you can't be fobbed off with that insult your images are just too astonoshing and even with the dvd I struggle to follow the tangled web you weave and the magic that somehow changes a boring underexpose looking image into this cracker.

Don't take it personally but I hate you Mr Morgan.

Coleslaw 12 13.4k 28 Wales
15 Jan 2010 5:25PM
Absolutely amazing your processing skill, Paul.
Good advert for your DVD....Smile
Jouo 14 56 Finland
15 Jan 2010 5:27PM

Don't take it personally but I hate you Mr Morgan.

That makes two of us then Wink

edrhodes 13 547 12 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 5:36PM
End result is what it's all about, brilliant work mate.

Phil_Morgan 11 182 1 Wales
15 Jan 2010 5:39PM
In the hate club here!! LOL! Wink
Buy the DVD people, best tenner you will spend on photography Smile
15 Jan 2010 6:04PM
Great image & processing

15 Jan 2010 6:12PM
Thank you for this it gives us newbies hope at getting things right and it shows that we can get there
Eviscera 12 1.1k 149 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 6:15PM
I'll never mention your sharpening algorithm again !

Class result Paul.

15 Jan 2010 6:17PM
Its very helpful not only to "newbies" but to the rest of us too.

I find, the same as you, that I look at some of my RAW files which are downloaded onto my computer and think they are rubbish. But being RAW, the processing "brings them out". I've now discovered not to be too hasty to delete images that at first I think are rubbish but to wait over a period of time, maybe months, and go back to them and you often see something in them that you didn't see at the time - if you know what I mean!

Great shot to boot !
martinl 14 269 2 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 6:25PM
A masterclass in the before and after. Nothing added, and nothing taken away, just using what's there already.
sut68 14 2.0k 76 England
15 Jan 2010 6:27PM

Quote:I realised that there were very few images that caught my eye straight out of camera

... there must've been 'one-or-two' on the back of our cameras that day in the Clachaig then, judging by your open mouthed reaction and the profanities you came out with Wink Tongue

You'll never get invited to join the Magic Circle if you keep giving away your secrets Grin
Ian-Munro 10 200 15 Wales
15 Jan 2010 6:53PM
Thanks Paul and yes you should have posted this example because it does help people.

Its a superb image that may stop me chimping and deleting on the spot Wink or better still "menu" "format".........gone Wink


One question though, do you get any noise or artifacts when pulling out the exposure?

pmorgan 11 217 13 England
15 Jan 2010 7:13PM
Thanks everyone - much obliged!

Cheers Rich for the GEA - very kind!

and too Ian for the UA Smile

Quote:there must've been 'one-or-two' on the back of our cameras that day in the Clachaig then, judging by your open mouthed reaction and the profanities you came out with

Fair point PaulSmile however mine do sometimes look superb on the back of the camera, then I get home and load them up and....Sad

Quote:You'll never get invited to join the Magic Circle if you keep giving away your secrets

Just think of me as the masked magician - exposing the secrets to make everyone push the boundaries and find newer and better illusions! Smile Wink

Quote:One question though, do you get any noise or artifacts when pulling out the exposure?


Only if I push things too far Ian, but usually not un-salvageable

Thanks again everyone
Coleslaw 12 13.4k 28 Wales
15 Jan 2010 7:18PM
Don't worry about them, Paul, at least I love you.... LOL

And thank goodness there are people like you, Paul, otherwise we will never learn the tricks in million years....Smile
Paintman Plus
11 1.2k 177 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 7:40PM
The difference is substantial and I almost thought v2 was in mono, so it shows a photographer may need to gain a few Photoshop skills to bring out the potential of the RAW image.

I think ( though I'm not 100% sure ) the screen shot is based on a jpg processed image within the camera whilst the downloaded RAW version ( as you know ) is the 'digital negative'. This may be the reason why the screen image is so impressive. Also your photography is rather impressive.

15 Jan 2010 7:52PM
Great example and write up Paul. The magic of layers and curves.

Dont play yourself down to much, the true essense of photography is Composition in what we allow the viewer to see and exposure in how much detail we show them. That is a talent on its own! The PP is just a special little bonus. Great work.

BillyGoatGruff 11 191 199 England
15 Jan 2010 7:55PM
Done it again, Paul!

Truly excellent work.

IMHO, it's the final image that counts, and not how many or which tools it takes to achieve it!

Have another medal to add to your collection! Smile
This is a gorgeous image.

Emu72 9 7 1 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 8:06PM
Thanks for sharing Paul... made me realise not to bin so many raw's to start with Wink oh and that I have a lot to learn in ps.
Anyway for what its worth I purchased your dvd and found it helpful to the point I always process with lab colour but again have a lot to learn.

Oh and top quality image, great sharpening!! ;-0

martin.w 16 522 22 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 8:12PM
Great work as usual Paul Smile
Sue_R Plus
12 11 6 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 8:15PM
Totally amazing! What a transformation! Thanks for letting us see the "before" shot as well this time.

Angi_Wallace 10 172 10 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 8:21PM
Wow, what an amazing piece of work. Thank you for sharing it.
Dotrob 12 Wales
15 Jan 2010 8:30PM
Great work, super lighting.
viscostatic 11 36 5 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 9:11PM
The colour version for me - absolutely stunning.

Alan_Coles 12 178 11 Wales
15 Jan 2010 9:19PM
Amazing image before & after is something I can only dream of!
Hanners Plus
12 875 10 Ireland
15 Jan 2010 9:22PM
stunning processing Smile
derekhansen Plus
9 210 24 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 9:31PM
Its a fantastic shot Paul and thats initially down to a very good composition. Without that any amount of processing wont achieve a good image. It is so refreshing to see someone with your skill willing to be so open with their techniques. As far as giving secrets away yes others may copy your processing but you have a natural talent as a foundation and that can never be given away. Respect to you.

cassiecat 10 39 46 England
15 Jan 2010 9:53PM
WOW, thanks for showing what can be done.lesley
Platchet 11 5 8 Wales
15 Jan 2010 10:15PM
This inspires even more not to dismiss a lot of my work.
Digital Photography, I love it, just wish it was around when I started (30yrs ago!).

Well done for showing both versions.

hary60 9 2 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2010 10:15PM
WOW what stunning work
cirrusminor 10 380 3 England
15 Jan 2010 10:29PM
Well done Sir Wink
15 Jan 2010 10:30PM
Cracking shot and result. Many thanks for showing what can be achieved, i'll be purchasing the DVD. Chaz.
LesF 11 182 9
16 Jan 2010 8:33AM
Certainly is a cracker Paul and its good of you to add the original and the text, just says it all about you, top man

Buffalo_Tom 11 2.3k 9 Wales
16 Jan 2010 9:42AM
Well done Paul...appreciate the assistance you are giving to all.Excellent result from the original.
User_Removed 8 25 1 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2010 1:37PM
You say you use layers and curves , etc. I not sure what all that means. This shot is a winner in my eyes because I did not know it had been processed unless you had explained. Also you had not done that daft process where the water look like mercury? I like V1 and 2 equally. I think photoshop should be an enhancer otherwise it is in a completely different genre and should be viewed as such. I like it very much
DaveMead 8 23 14 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2010 3:23PM
Brilliant Paul, a superb example for all.
Dennis_Bromage 10 45 20 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2010 3:48PM
Your honesty is refreshing Paul...
Suehh 11 39 6 England
16 Jan 2010 3:53PM
Your images are always wonderful - and if this is what processing does, I had better learn how to do it properly! A stunning one!
dathersmith 11 559 12 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2010 7:31PM
Well it caught my eye Paul and you've provided a great insight into your processing.

CathyI 13 344 3 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2010 11:55AM
What a transformation and very interesting indeed to see the "before" to illustrate what can be achieved through processing! Very helpful to all, and certainly to me. I think I'm going to have to have a look at this DVD business...
mpnuttall 11 91 6 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2010 1:20PM
Well, you've sold me on the DVD. Just ordered it now. Let's see what it can do!

Terrific final image by the way Smile

colin63 9 6 England
18 Jan 2010 6:37PM
Paul fantastic image and your normal high quality of processing

Nice that someone shares the magic secrets

Nice to see this sort of thing - very revealing!

clive burrow 14 71 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2010 9:32PM
Another outstanding image Paul, hope you a good supply of those DVD's ready Smile
Nigel_95 Plus
12 262 2 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2010 9:25PM
Remarkable transformation Paul, I'm going to have to look at your DVD again (and again). I am stunned at what you have drawn out in V1, however I think V2 has a greater sense of depth.

tripodted 12 32 1 Northern Ireland
20 Jan 2010 9:35PM
Stunning work Paul. I now don't feel so disappointed at my RAWs straight from camera after seeing your original.
helenlinda Plus
11 360 22 United Kingdom
24 Jan 2010 9:36PM
Thank you so much for this. I feel so pathetic with the amount of work that needs doing to my shots. This has been such an encouragement.
Scott_Scot 13 4 4 Scotland
26 Jan 2010 7:59PM
Well Mr Morgan, giving away your secrets now !! Wink

Great result mate!

grezmel 8 15 United Kingdom
1 Feb 2010 11:05PM
Stunning work - fantastic.
Bonico 8 Romania
14 Jan 2011 7:41PM

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