Here’s a photograph I took a couple days ago for the Ants of North America guide:
The image did not look like this straight off the camera, however. Below, I show the CS4 photoshop manipulations I performed on the original RAW file to transform it into the final picture:
The point I’d like to make about these manipulations is that I try to keep them to a minimum. The trick is to get as much right as possible on the original exposure.
Some things I can’t control, of course. The MP-E lens is always soft. Running ants are difficult to frame exactly where I want them.
But I can make sure I shoot on a clean backdrop, using a camera with a reasonably clean sensor, to cut down on the amount of cloning in post-processing. I can create diffuse lighting to minimize glare and shadows. And I can arrange the strobes and camera settings to ensure a proper exposure, so that downstream levels adjustments are minor tweaks rather than major alterations.
Post-processing is one of the topics we will cover in detail in BugShot 2011. You are planning to attend. Right?