View Full Version : How much time do you spend post processing?

04-30-2008, 10:17 AM
I'm just curious as to how much time people spend processing and/or editing an image they like?

I used to use the Gimp but found it hard for a beginner... so I bought Elements 6... it's so much easier for pano's and fixing vintage scanned photo's etc....

When I get home from shooting... I use Picasa to go through them and delete the garbage ones right away... make minor adjustments on the rest (sharpen, crop), and put aside any "real keepers" for more complicated processing in photoshop.... the only trouble is... this pile is building up.... and I'm not so excited spending time processing them....

What kind of time do you budget on a single "keeper"?

04-30-2008, 09:12 PM
I really can't say because uses are different and require different levels and kinds of postprocessing.

For printing purposes, some picture noise will not even be visible but contrast, punch, and separation of the subject from the background are extremely important. For video projection, even lighting and sharp images are important. For fashion or product work the clothes, car, diamonds etc. are more important than the model or anything else in the picture. For legal work it is necessary to ensure accuracy with no lens distortion. For some work, it may be creating a text area in the photo. For scenics accurate colour without the haze or overly cool colour temperature is essential.
For portraits it is flattering the subject which means doing the "touch-up" which was not possible at the camera.


05-01-2008, 08:35 AM
yes but how much time??

lets say your a pro and you have set the shot up properly to begin with (or as properly as you can)... what percentage of your time is spent post processing rather than shooting?....

05-01-2008, 09:55 AM
It really depends on the image and how much tinkering you want to try even if you are a pro.

But just to give some type of timeframe, for an image where I'm only doing the basics as needed (contrast control - sharpening - colour balance - a bit of local dodging and burning) maybe 10 - 15 minutes.

If I'm tinkering...It's totally based on the shot and can go into 30-90 minutes plus per image.

Hope that helps,


05-01-2008, 10:39 AM
Perhaps 5% to 25%. The least would be on photojournalism, large events, and public relations work. Getting the shot is the most important factor.
Most would be on portraiture and commercial work where fine details and colour/tone are extremely important.

My approach is to use the software that will do the job the quickest and still provide quality results. Paint Shop Pro for example has a one click fix which Popular Photography compared with multiple steps to make the same fix in Photoshop. They found that the Pro Shop Pro fix was often more accurate than Photoshop. It does not always give me what I want, but even if it does on an irregular basis, it still saves me time.

Viveza as a plug-in is the fastest approach for dealing with lighting, shadows, hue and colour, so this approach is perfect for scenics. Software filters are also a fast approach to accomplishing the same task that would require several steps in Photoshop. Saturation by the way is not really necessary when you can use other methods to get similar results.

The software that came with the camera you are using or even another camera may have some neat features that speed up some aspect of postprocessing too. Photoshop is also useful and I certainly use it for more sophisticated demands.


05-01-2008, 10:39 AM
If I am just doing corrections maybe 5-10 minutes but if I am altering the photo can take up to and hour and maybe more. All depends on what I plan on doing with the image, when I decide to print I can spend up to half an hour going over the entire photo looking for things I think will impact the finished print. The last print I did I spent almost two hours tweaking minor things so the finished print would be what I wanted the outcome to be. SO many variations and really nothing firm in time lines anyone can really give.

05-01-2008, 03:34 PM
For me, I've had some shots that get about 2 minutes of post-processing time - a quick rename, noise removal (if necessary) and a few other minor modifications. On the other hand, some shots that I feel particularly attached to or that I want to make pop a bit more can get half an hour or more of my time. It really depends on the show and how I've felt about it.