Street Photography and post editing

As street photographers we often struggle with how much post editing we are ”allowed to do” on our images. As times go, I am leaning towards, that the final result is the most important aspect for a photographic work. So my advice must be: If you like the final result, then it doesn’t matter what and how much pre- or post processing was used.

Modern cameras have a lot build in effects you can use on your image direct from the camera. Its all up to the photographer how to use them. On my Ricoh GR camera, I sometimes use the Black and White High Contrast effect. It is a strong visual effect that allows you to think overall lines and composition, rather than pixel details or technically image quality. But I never only shoot jpg. I always shoot raw files, and sometimes combined with jpg, if I want to use some of the build in effects in the camera. On my Canon 6D I only shoot raw files, but the Ricoh GR has some creative effects I occasionally like to use.

Actually I like the Ricoh’s High Contrast so much, that I have made a Lightroom preset that is very close this effect (you can download it from the link in the bottom of this article), in case I haven’t used it at the shooting moment.

Here is an example. At first I considered deleting this image (and maybe I should have 😉 ). But I liked the sky and the kind of darkness and strong lines.

The first image is the original raw file. A street snapshot, where the sky of course will fool the metering, and underexpose the image. I prefer manual exposure, but here I used aperture priority and -0,7 underexposure.

Copenhagen, September 2016. Photo: Jan Jespersen
Original Ricoh GR DNG file

The next image is the jpg straight from the camera, with the Ricoh GR effect High Contrast B/W.

Original JPG file, with the Ricoh GR High Contrast Black and White effect
Original JPG file, with the Ricoh GR High Contrast Black and White effect

The last image is processed in Lightroom with my own Ricoh GR High Contrast simulation. But in this case I also have used the Lightroom adjustment brush on the girls face.

DNG file with Lightroom adjustment similar to the camera effect. Adjustment brush on the girls face. Copenhagen, September 2016. Photo: Jan Jespersen
DNG file with Lightroom adjustment similar to the camera effect. Adjustment brush on the girls face.
Copenhagen, September 2016. Photo: Jan Jespersen

Here are the adjustment brush properties:

skaermbillede-2016-11-05-kl-22-41-09

After this I have added some extra grain to give it a little more hardcore film-like look..

Feel free to comment and criticize. We all see things different  Remember nothing is right or wrong in photography. Most important is your own perception and taste.

Link to the Ricoh GR High Contrast Black and White contrast preset:

JJP Ricoh High Contrast BW.lrtemplate

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6 Comments

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  1. Ahh…thats a discussion that so many of the street photographers I view seem to want kept in the closet.
    I like your examples, each with a different end and story.
    You wrote, “Most important is your own perception…” I agree with that and enjoyed your article.

  2. It’s true. Its the end result that counts. If you managed to make it as you wanted it to be, as you previsualised than who cares. Having said that, lots of PP would not save a weak photo. What is a weak photo? Up to the photog to decide… Nice post!

  3. Great post – thanks for sharing!

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