Post processing John's LS3 RX-7


New Member
Jul 2, 2013
Dallas, TX
For those of you who have ever wondered what the hell it is exactly I do after I take a picture (which is exactly zero) here's an abridged version.


I shoot in CR2 so that I have more information to draw from should I need to go back and adjust exposure or something (which I frequently have to do because I'm a shit photographer). The downside is that CR2s are fucking huge, take up a ton of space on your camera and can only be opened with programs like Photoshop or Lightroom. This is more or less what one of my photos looks likes fresh off the camera.


On top of being a shit photog I have terrible eyesight and I'm uncoordinated. This means approximately ALL of my photos are crooked. That's why I use an 18MP camera, to give myself the utmost amount of leeway. First thing I do in PS is level the photo and/or add rake to make the subject appear to be a bit more aggressive.


The next thing I do is clean up the picture a little bit. The vast majority of the time the car is sitting on dirty concrete so I'll go in and get rid of the more obvious oil spots, tire marks, debris, cracks, stains, etc. I'll also clean up any errant light sources, spots, etc that might draw the eye away from the subject. I try not to jack with the cars themselves but I will try to get rid of little things like bird shit, dead insects, etc.


The last step is color correction. Having no formal education whatsoever in photography or any sort of art/media/design I basically just eyeball this shit until I think it looks right. Because this car was shot at night with crap equipment (Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS on a 550D) the ISO was set super high, meaning in order to get a shot that wasn't blurry and super dark, I had to sacrifice photo quality. The colors are washed out and it's grainy as fuck but hopefully I can fix that in Photoshop. So I go in and up brightness, contrast, adjust levels to bring out the shadows, make the blacks blacker, jack around with vibrance, apply filters, etc until I'm happy with the final product.


And just to make it a little easier to see what the hell I did, here's the left side unprocessed and the right side is the final product.


And one more for comparisons sake.