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Old Saturday 8th August 2015, 14:21   #1
MTem
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Photo processing advice please

50 odd years of birding, only a few with a camera of any kind, and only a couple of years with half decent equipment as I've tried to move beyond 'record shots'. I now use a Canon 70D with 400mm f5.6 Canon prime lens. I now shoot RAW and use Canon DPP that came with the 70D for processing. All the latter done up to now by 'trial and error' and a bit of Internet surfing, with a reasonable outcome in most cases. I realise clearly no amount of processing will correct a fundamentally poor photo!

A few questions for those with a bit more expertise please....

1. Can you recommend any books/tutorials/websites that deal well with processing photos, especially if they use bird or wildlife photos as examples? My main challenges are correcting exposure and shadows, as well as appropriate noise reduction or sharpening.
2. Is there anything to be gained from purchasing other software? - Lightroom and Elements seem to get mentioned a lot. If so they seem to come in several grades - any advice on the right intro point. What do I get that isn't in DPP?
3. Am I right to keep shooting RAW and then seeking to process? Almost all of my photography is handheld, and opportunistic so usually there is little time to change settings on the camera, so I tend to use TV with a fast shutter speed, and adjust exposure as I move into different light/shade environments then take what I get and try to get the best from the outcome back home on my desktop. My objective is good, sharp photos that show key ID features well, not magazine quality excellence.

Thanks

Mick
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Old Saturday 8th August 2015, 15:24   #2
ChrisKten
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Originally Posted by MTem View Post
50 odd years of birding, only a few with a camera of any kind, and only a couple of years with half decent equipment as I've tried to move beyond 'record shots'. I now use a Canon 70D with 400mm f5.6 Canon prime lens. I now shoot RAW and use Canon DPP that came with the 70D for processing. All the latter done up to now by 'trial and error' and a bit of Internet surfing, with a reasonable outcome in most cases. I realise clearly no amount of processing will correct a fundamentally poor photo!

A few questions for those with a bit more expertise please....

1. Can you recommend any books/tutorials/websites that deal well with processing photos, especially if they use bird or wildlife photos as examples? My main challenges are correcting exposure and shadows, as well as appropriate noise reduction or sharpening.
2. Is there anything to be gained from purchasing other software? - Lightroom and Elements seem to get mentioned a lot. If so they seem to come in several grades - any advice on the right intro point. What do I get that isn't in DPP?
3. Am I right to keep shooting RAW and then seeking to process? Almost all of my photography is handheld, and opportunistic so usually there is little time to change settings on the camera, so I tend to use TV with a fast shutter speed, and adjust exposure as I move into different light/shade environments then take what I get and try to get the best from the outcome back home on my desktop. My objective is good, sharp photos that show key ID features well, not magazine quality excellence.

Thanks

Mick
In answer to #1; Have a read here:

http://www.digitalbirdphotography.com/contents.html

Most of the site is pretty basic stuff, but it's always worth revising what we know (or what we think we know )

Chapter #11 onwards is worth a read if you've not done much processing before. You my find answers to your other two questions in the rest of the chapters.

There's many other resources that google will find on many other sites.
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Old Sunday 9th August 2015, 19:05   #3
Jim M.
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2. Is there anything to be gained from purchasing other software? - Lightroom and Elements seem to get mentioned a lot. If so they seem to come in several grades - any advice on the right intro point. What do I get that isn't in DPP?
I was in a similar situation to you (using Olympus proprietary software), and decided to take the plunge and buy Lightroom 6 (the standalone version). This seems to have become Adobe's primary all-in-one program for serious amateurs who do not need or want the complexity and/or expense of Photoshop. It has both sophisticated organizational and photo development tools. I'm still learning it but am pleased with my purchase so far. One thing you get with it in contrast to the camera maker's proprietary software is lots of support and education options. There are a variety of instructional books, for example, that will teach you how best to use it. You can download a free trial of Version 6 from the adobe website. (Though it is the subscription version, which I think means you can't directly upgrade to the standalone version, a minor inconvenience).

(By the way, version 6 only came out a couple months ago, and there are minimal differences between it and version 5. None of them are important to bird photographers so far as I can tell. If you want to save money, you can probably buy version 5 books cheap and they will tell you all you need to know even if you are using version 6. I was hoping I could buy version 5 the program cheap, but the discounts I was hoping for never materialized.)
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Old Monday 10th August 2015, 09:56   #4
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Thanks Chris/Jim,

The website looks very useful, as are the Lightroom comments. It is clear from the little I've read so far that I am not getting the best final outcome from my photos as I need to get both better trained and better equipped.

Any other views from users of Canon DPP as to the benefits of other software like Lightroom?

Mick
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