Every photographer has a different post-processing style that defines them and becomes their photographic identity. Pick any of your favorite photographers and you will see that there is a consistent style that is applied to all their photos in their portfolio. It is important for your post-processing style to maintain the same, consistent look throughout your entire portfolio, especially if you are in the business of photography because when your client signs a photography contract with you, they are signing up for your style. It would be a great disappointment if the photos they receive look wildly different from those that are on your portfolio, which could be equated to false advertising.
In my photos, I like to keep a natural, high-contrast look throughout. It is easy to over-process your photos as you become more familiar with the different adjustment tools in software such as Lightroom, Photoshop, or Aperture. It is certainly beneficial to understand how the different settings affect the look of your photos, but in the end, you have to settle on a style.
My post-processing goal for photos taken indoors is to maintain a colder hue to the skin tones by reducing the orange/red hues. I do this to set the subject of my photos (i.e., the humans) apart from the scene which is usually warm and lit by incandescent lighting.
My post-processing steps are as follows:
- Get your white balance perfect. Use a white reference point if available.
- Crush the blacks by moving the slider to the right.
- Bring some of the black back by adding fill light.
- Adjust the hue of the red/orange channels to mute the orange tones.
- Bump up the luminosity of the red/orange channels to bring some brightness back.
- Adjust split toning to make the image greener.
- Adjust the exposure to the far right to bring up the brightness.
- Turn up recovery to tone down the skin highlights.