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Post-processing software

How to Post-Produce?

A lot of software exists to deal with photographs. Here are my favourites:

Adobe Photoshop

Importing the images to your computer is easy; the camera can function as a USB stick or disk drive. Or you can take out the card (Compact Flash, SD etc) and use a card reader to get the images. I have found the latter to be much faster on my Canon EOS 350D, although it seems to help very much if your memory card is fast.

Then, the application of choice is Adobe Photoshop (CS2 or CS3). Photographs coming directly from your camera often need processing:

  • Sharpening; to avoid aliasing (Moire), cameras blur the images stored. You can restore some of the sharpness, for example with Adobe Photoshop's 'Unsharp mask' function.
  • Dynamic range; most images can use a facelift in their dynamic range, meaning the image uses the full range of possibilities from white to black. Photoshop's 'Levels' or 'Curves' function will help here.
  • White balance; auto white balance doesn't quite cover it when going for the best quality. Being able to make grays truly gray helps in restoring the color as it was when you shot it.

Troubleshooting Photoshop

Sometimes you need to help Photoshop a bit to get things working:

J River's Media Center

This is a photograph libray management tool. You can download the program (which isn't free) here. I use it to handle over 20,000 photographs in a convenient, flexible database. It allows you to sort photographs based on a large number of fields, and quickly select groups so you can find the shots you want easily.


This relatively small piece of software is a gem to reduce noise without sacrificing sharpness (it can even add sharpness while reducing noise). You take an image and a noise profile (which can be taken from the photograph itself, provided you have a clear smooth 200x200 pixel area to indicate the noise) and you smooth out the noise. A 100% zoom example is displayed below:

EOS 350D, 200 ISO, 1/50s, original

Neat Image applied

The software can be downloaded and purchased from; for best effect you'll need the Pro+ version (16-bit image support). For other applications (Home/Home+) you'll probably won't even bother denoising.

Some examples (and review) can be found here. Comparisons with other noise reduction tools can be found here.


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