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Ghost Processing

What in the world is ghost processing? Ghost processing is a service I offer in which I process your landscape images without credit needed. Many people get into landscape photography for their love of the outdoors, not for their love of office studios and computers. But in order to consistently make compelling wilderness images it is necessary to spend hundreds of hours behind a computer using various photographic processing software. Mastering the techniques of image processing requires a lot of experience and time in developing manual techniques that can find no replacement in image automation. It is understandable that not all photographers are interested in this studio life. I, on the other hand, love working behind a computer in the development of my landscape imagery.


The Process

I process all landscape images manually with the use of Lightroom and Photoshop. This manual process allows me to apply my own artistic vision, free from the visionless limitations of automated software. I approach every image differently with the goal of giving my clients a final product with which they are satisfied. My clients are free to take over the process at any stage. Some just need a clean blend for dynamic range from which they can apply their own final touches; others prefer a completed process all the way to the print stage. Below is a step by step process:

  1. Upload all RAW files that may be used for a single image. These will include all variations of the same composition.

  2. Include all information necessary for me to process the image. (Example 1: “Process to completion. I’ll need a web version and a 20x30 print file. Please remove the bird.” Example 2: “RAW adjustments and exposure blending. I’d like to do the rest myself. Cool the white balance to make it more blue.” Example 3: “Process to completion. Can you emphasize the fog and make the image misty with low contrast?”) If print files are requested it is helpful that I know which print lab and format you are using so I can download ICC profiles.

  3. I will examine the RAW files, review the processing request, and get back to you with an estimate.

  4. Please allow up to a 3 days for turn around. While it does not take this long to process an image, it is necessary for me to step away from the image for a while to see it again with fresh eyes and make further adjustments.

  5. I will send a proof from which you can request further refinements and preferences.

  6. In addition to the image formats requested I will also provide you with a flattened master file as a Tiff so you can keep it for future use. Payment is required before the master file and any print files are delivered.



Rates:

$75/hr.

Images can take anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours to process to completion, depending on the complexity of the landscape, dynamic range, and detail. Images with land and sky (especially when shooting into the sun) tend to take longer than images with only land. Before beginning I will send an estimate and stick to it (unless additional requests are made after completion). If you are unsatisfied, I will not charge.

I offer significant discounts for multiple images and/or on-going clients. Please contact me for more information.


Useful Tips

Providing me with good files is essential and will ultimately be the determining factor of whether an image will be successful or not. Below are some tips you can follow that will increase the chances of yielding a compelling image.

• Shoot in RAW.

• Shoot in the lowest ISO possible.

• Check your camera LCD at 100% to make sure your image is in focus.

• Shoot in interesting light. There isn’t a whole lot I can do with bad light.

• Bracket exposures for dynamic range. It doesn’t hurt to have more than needed.


FAQ:

Q: Can you replace skies?

A: Yes, so long as a sky is provided. I do not have skies of my own to use. Keep in mind that not all skies will work in an image. (For example, an image in that is front lit will not blend with a sky that is back lit. I will let you know if the sky does not work.

Q: Can I provide reference images that I’d like my own image to resemble?

A: I’m happy to aim the processing in a certain direction. It should be kept in mind, however, that an image with different light than the reference image will not look the same. It must first be shot in similar conditions.

Q: I accidentally shot in jpeg. Can you still work with these files?

A: I can, however I will be significantly limited in what I can do. The final image will more closely resemble the original jpeg file out of camera.

Q: Can you keep the master file if I’d like you to use it to provide me with print files in the future?

A: Yes I can. I will also send you the master file for your own keeping to ensure it doesn’t get lost.

Q: Can you show me the adjustments that you’ve done to my images?

A: Sure, I’m happy to share my screen via Skype to go through my workflow and explain why I made the adjustments I made. My hourly rates apply.

Q: Can you edit cell phone pictures?

A: Yes, although I am much more limited in what I can do. If your cell phone has a RAW option, then I highly recommend using it.

Q: Do you offer printing services?

A: Not at the moment. But this is something I intend to do in the future.