Useful Tools in Post Processing

Some say that post processing is now part of photography itself. Straight of the camera pictures are rare nowadays. Almost everyone edit their pictures one way or another. Even some in-camera settings are already considered post processing.

But one can’t argue that post processing can help enhance your art. So here are some useful tools that photographers can use in post processing.

Crop Tool

The crop tool is very useful and can change the impact of a photograph instantly. With this, you can crop off unwanted objects and maintain the subject’s relationship with the viewer. You can also change the orientation of your picture, landscape to portrait and vice versa. Composition can also be affected by this. The rule of thirds, for example, can be achieved by simple cropping.


Photo by Bernard


Photo by Bernard

But cropping has its limitations. This is mainly affected by your camera and lens. You can’t be too aggressive in cropping if you don’t have enough megapixels. If you reach a pixel level crop, noise would be much evident. And if your lens is not good enough, you might notice some sort of sharpness deficit.

Dodge and Burn

A lot of photographers try to use this and fail. The most common mistake is using it too much. By using too much, the viewer notices that the picture has been edited and will focus on the edit rather than the photograph.

The dodge and burn tool is a good way to divert attention. If cropping can’t get rid of unwanted subjects, dodge and burn can redirect the attention by darkening or highlighting a part of a photograph. This tool can be used in landscape and even in high end portrait retouching.


Photo by wsilver

Healing Tool

The healing tool is commonly used to remove skin blemishes. But it can also be used in removing distractions. And with the improved version in Photoshop CS5, it’s a lot easier to unnoticeably edit pictures. Stray hair, a leaf, and sensor dust are just some things you can remove with the Healing Tool.


Photo by jasonr611

Sharpen and Blur

Another tool to enhance a photograph is the sharpen and blur tools. As the name suggests, they either sharpen or blur a photo. So why would someone blur a photograph? This tool is used to further enhance bokeh and to make the depth of field narrower. Some use it to make certain objects less noticeable. Be careful though since the blur tool can be quite ugly if not used right. The blur of this tool is quite different from the bokeh of your lens. So don’t rely on this tool only.

The sharpen tool is commonly used to bring out mode details in certain objects. For example, you want the textures of the wood to be more aggressive, you can use the sharpen tool to get that effect. Caution though since too much sharpening will produce artifacts that are noticeable.


Photo by Silent’s Witness

You have noticed that most of the tools were used to make the subjects more prominent or to remove unnecessary objects in the photograph. With this, the impact of the subject on the viewer is enhanced. And part of photography is about that. A photograph must be viewed and having a strong impact is a good way to have a connection with the viewer.

So to those who are saying that post processing destroys the art, better rethink your stance. Keep on shooting and embrace the light!

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