Photos copyright 2013-2016 Regina Rickert. All rights reserved.

I'm going to try firing up the blog again for 2016, especially the nature/landscape side of things. It is in desperate need of a redesign so I will be working on that while shooting for KSTV. Unfortunately the slideshows on older posts have been disabled by flickr. You can find all of my work in my gallery.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Workflow additions to improve your photos

I often get asked photo quality questions when doing my fantasy portraits. I would like to share a few tips and tricks on how I make sure that I start with the best quality image possible when creating the portraits.

Since most of my clients aren't photographers by nature, the number one problem I see with the average snapshot is the presence of digital noise. Noise appears as a grainy texture or sometimes even tiny dots of color.

One of my first steps in preparing an image is running it through a program designed to eliminate noise. I use Noiseware for my noise reduction. Noise Ninja is another popular program.

The Community Edition of Noiseware is available as a free download here:

My next step is to run a defog.

In Photoshop:
Go to Filters>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask and enter these values:

Sometimes this can be a little too much, so you can half it or run it on a layer and adjust the opacity (slider) until you get the look you want.

I have a defog action from Renee Oakenfull at Vibe Studios that is fantastic. You can find her link in my favorites.

Here is an example of what running the defog does for your photo:

The key is to run it at the beginning of your workflow.

This makes an amazing difference in my nature images.

Next I would make any color corrections, contrast adjustments, etc.

The last step should be sharpening.

Here is a fantastic thread with techniques for sharpening from Jessica Bell:
Sharpening tutorial

For a good year I used this process at the end of my workflow:

In Photoshop:
Go to Filters>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask and enter these values:

It is good for general purposes, but I found my macros needed a little more.

I use the technique outlined in this article from Outdoor Photographer Magazine:
Sharpening Techniques

Jess has created some wonderful sharpening actions that are available on her blog:

These are all I use now. They take the guesswork out of it and make it so quick and easy.

A simple run through Noiseware, a quick defog and a little sharpening go a long way in preparing an image for my portraits. I hope you will give some of these techniques a try.



Copyright for these photos belongs solely to Regina Rickert. All rights reserved.