By Guest Blogger Abe Novy:

Recently, Brad asked me to do a guest post for the blog and suggested the possibility of using a recent processing technique I had learned as a subject.  I thought of doing this, and then realized that I’d really just be using someone else’s tutorial to write about.  This is not what I wanted to do to introduce the Within A Click world to myself.

What did cross my mind is the entire thought process that goes into processing an image.  In general, most of us don’t take an image SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) and post it somewhere for the world to see, especially if we’re shooting digital.  What’s great about digital (the term “great” being somewhat debatable here) is that we have the ability to really tweak and adjust our images on the computer with all of the post-processing programs that are available to us such as Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, etc.  We can combine layers upon layers, compensate for certain mistakes, and add so much color and tone to a photo that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming.  The one thing to remember is that, as David duChemin says in “Within The Frame”, there is no “Un-suck Filter” in any of these programs.  Meaning, if your shot stinks, the processing will too.

One thing that I have started to do more recently is take a few risks in my processing.  Risk-taking is not necessarily something you want to do with every photo, because some landscapes just weren’t mean to be over-contrasted and turned purple.  However, there have been times when I  have sat in front of the computer, wasn’t happy with the image alone, and went through a Q&A process:

  1. Think back to what it was you might have been thinking at the time you took the shot.  Was there something in that scene that compelled you to click the shutter at that moment?

  2. Does the photo hold any special meaning to you?   Does it represent something important to you?

  3. Is there anything simple you can do to convey those thoughts and meanings?

  4. Are you willing to spend some time on the shot, leave it and then come back to it later?

  5. Will something radical just make it worse?

Most of the time, you have to do #4 in order to answer #5. It could be that your frame of mind is not right, or it could be that you were rushing because you wanted the world to see your art.

My best advice regarding processing is to take your time and don’t be afraid to do something you’ve never done before. Slow down, take a deep breath, and if you’re not sure, leave it and come back to it in an hour, a day, a week even.  Get online and look up new techniques or better yet, buy some books by guys like Scott Kelby and let him walk you through things step-by-step.  You’ll learn some hard and fast rules, but you’ll also learn that sometimes you have to break those rules as well…and let’s face it, breaking the rules is fun!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the processing “process”, and please, if you have any shots in particular that you took post-processing risks on, please link to them!

*Thanks to Brad and the gang for giving me the opportunity to voice my thoughts here, I am excited to be a part of what you guys are doing.

**Photos used here were placed together with the original unedited shots within a border to show the difference between SOOC and final result.

Abe Novy is an emerging photographer from San Antonio, Texas.  “Charming, intelligent, sophisticated, handsome, talented, genius….oh wait..are we talking about me?  Well, never mind then.  Scratch all that.  I like to use my camera.  If other people like what comes out of it, well, I like that too.  I know nothing about photography that can be taught, only that which can be learned.  Experience is the greatest teacher of them all.  I like popcorn with lots of butter.  And I like you.”