Indoor pictures processing tips

Hello, I have many pictures with similar histogram:

here is an example (SOOC):

What I did with the RAW file was:

  1. exposure +0.40 EV
  2. tone curve - L - pick the blue color - find it on the curve - 14.4 → 20.3
  3. equalizer - clarity - lower mix from 1 to 0.7
  4. shadows and highlights - ON - shadows +20 highlights -50
  5. local contrast - ON
  6. contrast brightness saturation - ON - saturation +0.11
  7. profiled denoise after all that (this particular picture was pretty noisy, the rest are not that bad)
    Here is how the image looks like after that:

    here is its histogram:

    As I mentioned above I have many pictures (many of them with people) with very similar histogram. So I am going to copy the history stack and apply to all of them. For sure I will do some minor adjustments per each pisture such as the exposure will be different and I will switch off the local contrast module for pics with humans, etc.
    But since I am only learning the photography I am wondering if I could have done better than that. Just want to make sure I am doing something completely wrong or I am not missing something very important.
    Any tips / ideas will be much appreciated.

You can play with the RAW if you want.

RAW file:
20170201_181543_402.DNG (20.9 MB)
XMP file (darktable):
20170201_181543_402.DNG.xmp (11.1 KB)

I don’t think there is such a thing as “wrong” if you’re getting desirable results, but that is probably the artist in me talking.

If you didn’t want to copy the whole history stack, you can make per module presets, or multi module presets, and apply them. I believe this is a bit more flexible than just cooyimf the whole history stack.

You know… sometimes I spend 20 minutes playing with a RAW and I think I like the result but looking at the JPG SOOC I realize that camera did a better job :slight_smile:

1 Like

@Andrius Been there, done that. Facepalm.

I think every picture needs different adjustments. Very difficult to find a set of adjustments that work for all indoor pohotgraphs. For this particular one, here is what I did
20170201_181543_402.jpg.out.pp3 (9.8 KB)

The colour of the table top and the blue and red icing on the cake is where the main difference lies. Only you will know whether it is more realistic or not :grin:

If it’s just a one time thing I wouldn’t waste time creating presets but use ctrl-shift-c to only copy the modules I am interested in, then paste it with ctrl-v.

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@shreedhar Yours actually look very natural. The walls are grey, the counter top is milky white. SOOC the walls are purplish and the counter top is yellowish. Plus it lacks contrast.

I am wondering what is the best way to boost the blue and red colors on the cake without affecting the color balance of rest of the picture. (without using masks)

Since red colour is also present on the sofa seat and blue on the wall, it will be difficult to boost those just on the cake without masks.

Why no masks? I use GIMP on Windows system, and using masks is very very easy. The initial inertia might prevent you in making an attempt but give it a try (I am assuming that you are saying no masks because you think they are complicated.Ignore this message if this hypothesis is wrong :slight_smile:)

I always make way more shots than you should so I try to do heavy processing with masks etc. on best shots only (4-5 star rating in my case). 3 star shot like the one in the subject I might do some light processing or won’t touch at all. Otherwise my whole life will be in front of darktable.