Iceberg Alley (Color Efex Pro 4 Processing)

Podcast 301 : How to Create Really Punchy Images!

In September, I had a conversation by mail with a friend that some of you may know from the MBP Community, Jared Fein. Jared had taken a look at the images on 500px following Episode 295 : An Introduction to 500px, and asked how people achieve the punchy look that...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • C. Daniel Chase
    Posted at 23:43h, 09 October Reply

    Martin, I enjoyed the clear reminder that we need to develop our camera profiles to create good images.

    One thing I don’t think was clear from your discussion of White Balance, is that it does not apply if you are shooting RAW. It only effects in-camera corrections applied to jpegs. Thats why we need the power of our external tools like Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop, etc. RAW images are definitely not ready for display, as jpegs are intended and commonly used by the public.

    On page two of this Canon Professional Network post–see the paragraph “Working in RAW” (their site design prevents direct linking to page 2)–it describes the relationship of RAW with White Balance.


  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 00:18h, 10 October Reply

    Thanks for the comment Dan!

    On White Balance, being able to change it later is a given.

    I personally believe it is important to set this in camera though, even when you are shooting RAW. I should have gone into this, but the reason is the histogram is built from the in-camera JPEG and not the RAW file, and when you are tweaking your exposure based on the RGB channels of the in-camera JPEG, if it’s too warm or red, you’ll blow out your Red channel earlier than you will when you process your RAW file, and the same goes for too cool a White Balance, and the Blue channel.

    In addition to this, I just want to see a constant color balance as I shoot, and not something that’s all over the place while shooting.

    This is perhaps the least important of the points mentioned, but this technique works for me, as I am very careful with my exposure based on the channel information.


  • C. Daniel Chase
    Posted at 00:54h, 10 October Reply

    Ahh, yes. Since you are using the histogram to set the exposure, this makes sense. But, the clarity that it does not get stored in a RAW format image is important too. Some of your pro-sumer class of readers may not realize that. I didn’t for some time.

    I’m a relatively recent convert to digital–had a hard time giving up my Canon A-1 that was a press rental at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY where I was able to purchase it direct from Canon post-Olympics (I was working for the photo concessionaire)–but the dollars & cents of digital just lets me shoot so much more! Processing is now FREE! And I only print what I like, after polishing myself. No need for my old darkroom gear filling up the bath…


  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 09:37h, 10 October Reply

    Yes, I should have put this clarification in there. I thought about touching on RAW, but do believe it’s kind of a given now too.

    That’s a cool story about your A-1. It’s great owning a camera with a bit of history!

  • Bob Segal
    Posted at 07:59h, 09 November Reply

    “Digital Photo Professional which remains the son of satin”

    Son of Satin? Doesn’t sound to bad to me. Hah.

  • Paul
    Posted at 18:25h, 18 January Reply

    Hi Martin,

    I’m new to your site and am just catching up on old Podcasts, so apologies if I’m a little slow on this one!

    My current camera is a Canon d30 and whilst I’d love to upgrade believe its better to focus my cash and energy on developing my craft of photography for the time being.

    However as a previous user of a d30 are there any tips for getting the best out of my work today? Should I invest in a X-rite in the meantime?


    PS Just downloaded you new ebook – great so far….

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 11:25h, 27 January Reply

      Doh! Sorry I missed this comment for a while Paul!

      Images from the D30 could be very flat and lack contrast sometimes, so I imagine the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport would help to make your colors pop.

      When I had a D30, I also often found that just adding auto-levels in Photoshop gave my images the boost they needed. In the Adjustments panel, hit the Levels button, then the Auto button to apply auto-levels. It can be a bit of a sledgehammer tool, but it worked well pretty much all of the time on my D30 images.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks for downloading the book too!

  • Paul
    Posted at 12:19h, 27 January Reply

    Thanks very much for the tip! I’ll give it a go and maybe get round to submitting an image for the next monthly challenge!

    Hope the Hokkiado trip goes well and look forward to seeing the results!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 16:54h, 27 January Reply

      No problem Paul. I hope it helps.

      Thanks for the well wishes for Hokkaido too. I can’t wait to see what we find up there this year. 🙂

  • Kim Hansen
    Posted at 18:07h, 11 February Reply

    Just want to say hi,
    I am about to get my first printer, and by coinsidense read about you in Craft&Vision. I downloaded your book Making the Print, and almost all my questions got answered. Thanks a lot!
    As I find your website and blog very interesting and resourceful I will be a regular reader from now on.


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 18:54h, 11 February Reply

      Hi Kim, and thanks for stopping by. Thanks for reading my book too! I’m pleased it helped.

      Do keep in touch.


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