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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 08 Sep 2011 (Thursday) 20:05
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post processing steps in order?

Mostly Lurking
19 posts
Joined Oct 2009
Sep 08, 2011 20:05 |  #1


A n00b question. What is the order of the post processing steps in lightroom and PS
after importing file in RAW format from your camera?

Is it best to resize my image first before applying color correction and white balance.
I know some recommend for sharpening to be applied at as a last step

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144 posts
Joined Feb 2008
Sep 08, 2011 20:13 |  #2

First, I don't apply every correction to every photo, it all depends on what I have and what I want out of it.

That being said my workflow moves from left to right and then top to bottom.

I apply sharpening using one of Matt Kloskowski's presets (you can download them from his website)
Then I move over to the top right and crop if it needs it. Then I move down through WB/Temperature, exposure, blacks, clarity, vibrance and then contrast.

Again, I don't always do all of these things, and on occasion I'll go back to a previous step if something needs to be tweaked.

That's my flow.


Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM, 580EX II
Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS II USM, Canon 17-40mm f4L USM, 50mm f/1.8 II, 430EX
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Cream of the Crop
6,725 posts
Likes: 7
Joined Feb 2008
Location: Maryland
Sep 08, 2011 20:39 |  #3

1. Biggest change needed.
2. Second biggest change needed.
3. Third biggest change needed
4. etc
5. etc

Just messing with you. But it is basicaly true.

As far as sizing I do it last before exporting. You want as much info in the image as you can get when doing any editing. (external link)

Eric ­ Xu
Senior Member
688 posts
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Joined Aug 2010
Location: Santa Clara, California
Sep 08, 2011 20:45 |  #4

Lightroom does everything in one step thankfully. Which is why it's preferable to pixel editors like Photoshop for most of the things you do with a photograph.

For the average photograph, I start off with doing everything I can effectively accomplish without sacrificing quality in Lightroom, such as exposure compensation, shadow fill, lens corrections, etc.. This includes capture sharpening (unless NR is required)

When I'm done with the photograph in LR, I move to Photoshop for creative sharpening and any fancy cloning/warping that needs to be done. If NR is required, I'll hold off on capture sharpening in LR, do NR first in Photoshop with Neat Image, then capture sharpen, then creative sharpen. Finally, I'll print or export to web with final output sharpening applied.

My Flickr. (external link) My Gear

4,297 posts
Likes: 7
Joined Aug 2010
Location: Princeton, IN
Sep 08, 2011 21:05 as a reply to  @ Eric Xu's post |  #5

For me starting in RAW it's:

White Balance
initial sharpening (to deal with A/A effects)
output to photoshop
noise reduction
Levels adjustment
color/hue/saturation (if needed)
retouching and other pixel editing
output sharpening

I am serious....and don't call me Shirley.
Canon 7D and a bunch of other stuff

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Joined Sep 2007
Location: Vancouver, WA USA
Sep 08, 2011 22:57 |  #6

Some people are "committed" to finalyzing their work in Photoshop, others prefer to get optimal work out of Lightroom and, if possible avoid going to Photoshop if possible.

A lot depends on the photo(s), of course, and also on the demands of your work and workflow.

You don't say if you shoot Raw or jpeg, and that makes a difference as well. Lightroom, as well as Adobe Camera Raw, is designed to make use of the advantages of the Raw format, which has greater latitude in making "broad" adjustments to tones/colors, both in highlight and shadow recovery but also in a better all-over range of adjustments, whereas once you have converted to an RGB image (jpeg, tiff or psd) then the Photoshop editor has fantastic tools for working with those images and then Lightroom falls behind (except if you are using it to manage your library).

I happen to be in the "Lightroom only (if possible) workflow" crowd. So, I try to make maximal use of the various Lightroom tools with my Raw captures. Global adjustments like White Balance and those in the Basic panel, the Tone Panel and the HSL panel do great, and of course there are eyedropper tools for "targetted" adjustments. And the Detail panel has sharpening and noise reduction tools that have become quite sophisticatd and powerful. To me, they are not only useful for "capture sharpening" but often provide a very good final output image. But, the Export and Print functions also contain "output sharpening" which can be used to taste.

And then, Lightroom has the Local Adjustment Brushes and the other tools at the top of the Develop panel (below the histogram). If you've never familiarized yourself with these tools, well, you're missing something. Of course there is the Crop tool, the clone/heal tool, the rest of the set, but if you are serious about preparing an image without resorting to Photoshop then the brushes can apply a multitude of adjustments to an object which, by the way, includes both Sharpening and Softening brushes.

As far as processing after Exporting/Resizing an image, well, if it helps the image then so be it. Of course at that point there can be a lot of usefulness if you go into Photoshop for the various sharpening tools that you can get use of as well as other work that can be done to produce the finished product. Of course you could run the resized image through another round of Lightroom for "output sharpening" as well -- it's up to you and what you want to do!

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post processing steps in order?
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