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Advanced Aviation Photography Workflow – The JID Workflow 2 for Photoshop.

Workflow Start Leveling Cropping Dust removal Colour & Levels Sharpening Actions

Updated July 2010

This tutorial follows on from my first tutorial which is designed to work with most graphic packages and aimed at the digital photographer who is quite new to post processing images for publication on the internet. For this tutorial I am assuming that you can use Photoshop and get a half descent image from your digital camera but just in case a few pointers

If you are going on a planned shoot, it is important toknow what you are going to do with your images once you have taken them. If you just intend to publish them on an aviation website then you may only need to shoot in jpeg mode. If you are going to try and sell your work to a commercial company or have it published in aviation magazines they will want as high a quality image as possible then you would be far better shooting in RAW. Even if you plan just shooting for the internet you will find you have far more flexibility with a RAW image as compared to a jpeg.

So you are out shooting - ISO 100, F8 to 10 - aiming for exactly the correct exposure with your metering. Well there is a saying in the new digital era - ‘shoot high’. This suggests that you should aim to slightly overexpose your image. The main reason for this is that the dark areas of your image will not be as noisy as they would had you aimed for the correct exposure. Slightly overexposing your image in RAW is not a problem, as you will not lose the detail that would have occurred if shooting a jpeg. So let’s take our slightly overexposed image into Photoshop now.

Open your image and, depending on the software you are using, your RAW image will open. In my case I have taken an early morning shot of a Monarch Boeing 767-300. Challenging? Well there is a very dark background behind the aircraft and a camera’s metering system (depending how you have it set) will try to get the exposure correct for the whole frame. This can result in the white areas of the aircraft being exposed correctly with the rest of the frame being underexposed. What I attempted here was to slightly overexpose the aircraft, keeping the background reasonably well exposed. This minimizes the amount of noise created in the dark areas by your camera. So what do we have?

Opened with Canon’s Camera Raw converter we see the image. All I intend to do here is adjust the exposure so the whites of the aircraft are not ‘clipping’. What’s clipping? The red areas of the image are where there is overexposure, so all I am going to do is adjust the exposure slider until most of the red disappears.


When I am happy I just select ‘Open Copy’ to open the image in Photoshop.


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