I’m taking today off work and heading to Austin, Texas to visit the McKinney Falls State Park, Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Park. McKinney Falls is the only waterfalls within 200 miles of Sugar Land, Texas and I’m finally going to have the opportunity to use my Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter to hopefully create some nice images of flowing water. Given the lack of rain we’ve been experiencing the past few years, this wonderful neutral density filter has been gathering dust (figuratively speaking) on my shelf for much too long. Wish me luck!
Seeing that Nik Software has recently made all their plug-in filters compatible with Lightroom, I thought I’d run through my updated workflow to give you an idea of how I process most of my RAW images these days.
This image illustrates how I use the Nik Software products to enhance my images and reduce the amount of time spent in post capture processing.
- I begin by cropping the image in Lightroom and applying some basic settings in the “Develop” module to correct the white balance, increase the contrast and touch up any spots on my image.
- Next I export the image to Dfine 2.0 where I analyze and correct any noise present in my image. Dfine does an excellent job of reducing noise without reducing image sharpness and makes it easy to apply the noise reduction only to those areas that need it.
- Next I export the image to Sharpener Pro 3.0 using the RAW Presharpener settings to selectively sharpen some areas before processing further. This RAW Presharpening is very subtle to detect.
- Next I export the image to Viveza to selectively enhance the image’s contrast, saturation, warmth, etc. If I do nothing else to an image, Viveza is the one tool that I almost always use.
- If needed, I next export the image to Color Efex Pro 3.0 or Silver Efex Pro depending upon what effect I’m trying to produce. Both programs contain a wide variety of color or black & white presets to help you obtain just the right look.
- Finally I export the image to Sharpener Pro 3.0 and apply the required output sharpening, either for print or web. I generally dial down the intensity of this final sharpening to prevent the creation of noise or JPEG artifiacts.
- Then I export the image from Lightroom in whatever format I need.