ON1 Inspiration – A Crooked Path

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When I sit down to post process an image, I have a concept of what the final photo will look like. However, getting to that final image is rarely a straight path. Actually, the path to most of my finished photos is very crooked. There is experimentation involved, and sometimes our vision of an end photo changes as we craft a scene.

I think this is true for many photographers. There’s an idea of the finished photo. Yet we don’t always know precisely what filter to apply. We don’t know exactly where to set the sliders. There are many twists, switchbacks and turns along the way.

The photo I’ve chosen to share with you today is a perfect example. I start with a concept of what I want the final photo to look like. Reaching that vision was not a direct path. As I make one set of adjustments, the visual feedback I get from the photo preview prompts me to make different changes and sometimes backtrack and revisit filters I’ve already applied. Styling this photo turns out to be a roundabout path among Develop, Effects and Local Adjustments.

I hope you enjoy this latest episode of ON1 Inspiration.



41 comments on “ON1 Inspiration – A Crooked Path”

  1. On February 3, 2017 at 11:54 am rdbimages53@gmail.com wrote:

    Wow, that was a lot of work in 14 minutes! Very useful and the results were great. But, Scott, how do I remember all of this? I have watched quite a few of these informative videos from you and others on the ON1 team and feel overwhelmed. So much capability in the program, but I feel lost in trying to remember it all. Any tips?

    1. On February 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm Scott Davenport replied:

      I wish I had a shortcut. Knowing what filter to reach for comes in time – it’s a matter of practice.

      I’d suggest starting simple and working globally on your photo. When you start working on a photo, ask yourself what it needs. Does it need contrast? A color boost? A white balance adjustment? You can do a lot in Develop with the Tone & Color and Color Adjustment panels. Turn to Effects for “style” adjustments – a glow, finer grained contrast, color tinting. Again… try using the “what does my photo need” approach to help guide you.

      And yes… there’s multiple ways to add color, add contrast, etc. Choose one to start with. In addition to Tone & Color, my go-to filters are Dynamic Contrast, Color Enhancer/Color Adjustment and a Vignette. I can do a lot with those.

      You may reach a point with a photo where a *portion* needs work. Selective adjustments are when you turn to Local Adjustments, blending options and masking. For example, the red door in this video. Generally speaking, if I can do something with blending modes I will. If I have to mask, I’ll try to use masking bugs. Why? It’s faster for me. Brushing takes more time (and I embrace my inner laziness! :).

      Each photo you process is another practice session. Your muscle memory will grow. It becomes more natural. Also, as will your processing style emerges, I think you’ll find there 5 to 7 core filters you’ll use again and again. You will get to know them very well.

      I don’t know if this ultimately helps you or not. I can tell you that none of us are born knowing these things. They are learned and it takes time. And don’t be afraid to experiment! Many of my post processing sessions are filled with wrong turns, switchbacks and bad choices. Keep at it.


      1. On February 22, 2017 at 2:13 am Chris Flentye replied:

        Good instructions Scott. Thanks.

  2. On February 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm Jean-Claude Guillen wrote:

    Many thanks, Scott, for this Inspiration video !
    Among other things, I learned that the masking bug has many capabilities which I was just overlooking…
    I do appreciate that even for a professional photographer, photo post-processing is not a straight line ! But a very nice result obtained at the end !

    1. On February 3, 2017 at 4:09 pm Scott Davenport replied:

      You’re most welcome, Jean-Claude. And yes, experimentation, mistakes, wrong turns and back-tracking are standard fare in my processing. And that’s often part of the fun – sometimes you find a look for an image you didn’t know what there.


  3. On February 4, 2017 at 11:52 am Jack Larson wrote:

    It was worth the entire tutorial just to get the tip of Apply To when you applied an effect only to the Highlights. I also appreciated the different ways that you used the Masking Bug. Thanks

    1. On February 4, 2017 at 12:07 pm Scott Davenport replied:

      Sure thing, Jack. Glad there was one gem in there for you. Those blending options are so incredibly useful (yet often overlooked).

  4. On February 5, 2017 at 7:18 am keith simpson wrote:

    As always, a very helpful video Scott. When it works correctly, RAW is a great product and very easy to use. I’m looking forward to later this year when the missing functionality is added and the bugs are fixed.

  5. On February 6, 2017 at 8:59 am Catherine Tremerryn wrote:

    Fantastic lesson – learnt such a lot and has sorted many of my problems out. Many thanks Scott.

    1. On February 7, 2017 at 10:24 am Scott Davenport replied:

      You’re welcome, James. It’s a marathon for sure, not a sprint. Keep at it!

  6. On February 10, 2017 at 7:24 am Karl Jakob wrote:

    Many thanks for this inspiration, which turns to all users of “ON1 RAW”.
    Great Work!

  7. On February 22, 2017 at 4:04 am wlsweather7@mac.com wrote:

    Thanks for the great video, Scott. Early on you were interested in driving up the attraction and intensity of the door at the end of the hall. Wouldn’t have been much easier to simply take an adjustment brush (perfect) and brush in the extra punch (sat, more red etc) you wanted to add?

    1. On February 22, 2017 at 6:39 am Scott Davenport replied:

      Hi Michael,

      Sure. In this case, an adjustment brush may have been all I needed. There’s almost always more than one way to do things. I did adjust Hue, which isn’t controllable with a local adjustment, but it’s possible tweaking tint or vibrance with a local adjustment would produce a similar look.


  8. On February 22, 2017 at 4:52 am Volker Gottwald wrote:

    This is a great video with many valuable tips. And I like the end result.
    I learned about copying a mask, which I had not used yet and using the eydropper for changing saturation by simply dragging left or right. Also I was wondering when to use color enhancer in develop or effects. Now I know the difference.
    Question: You don’t use the histogram at all and display of clipping. Any specific reason?

    1. On February 22, 2017 at 6:25 am Scott Davenport replied:

      Hi Volker… no specific reason I didn’t refer to the histogram in this video. Often I do. Although specifically for clipping, I tend to use the J key to display clipping in the preview window.

  9. On February 22, 2017 at 4:57 am Volker Gottwald wrote:

    Just a proposal to improve memorizing what you did: At the end of the video to summarize or even just when you do it add a few lines of text in bullet points with the steps you used in processing. I saw other videos here, where this was done. I found this helpful.

  10. On February 22, 2017 at 8:06 am Robb Charles wrote:

    Great job Scott, and Thank you!
    I have noticed that building up my “mind’s” library, is to; slow down doing each step methodically. Your way of teaching helps build that foundation.
    However, I need a little more help with “lighting” and contrast. I would appreciate in the future you working with more bright “water” pictures, even those photo’s that one might call “blown-out.” In the meantime; I’ll be following along with the “Blends” book, and your video’s!

    1. On February 22, 2017 at 10:38 am Scott Davenport replied:

      Sure, Robb. I’ll keep shots in mind about blown or near-blown highlights (although I try hard to avoid that when shooting :)

  11. On February 22, 2017 at 9:52 am Michael Anderson wrote:

    Very nice demo! We need more of these about using Photo RAW without having to go to external apps.

  12. On February 22, 2017 at 9:52 am Barbara Hayton wrote:

    Excellent tutorial with so much good “stuff”. I’m loving trying more with my images and the difference it makes. Thanks so much, Scott, for you easy to follow, immediately helpful information.

  13. On February 22, 2017 at 12:11 pm Priscilla Steelman wrote:

    Thank you so much for those extra helpful masking tips—-Wonderful results (and gorgeous image!)

  14. On February 22, 2017 at 5:55 pm Jeffrey Madl wrote:

    My wife hates me, especially since I started using On1 for I always feel compelled to ask for a second opinion: “Which one looks better; This one, or This one…or maybe this one?”

    So your local from San Diego? Please come by the Tall Ships Festival sometime, maybe take a cannon battle cruise!

    1. On February 22, 2017 at 7:38 pm Scott Davenport replied:

      Well… I won’t take any marital responsibility! :-) And yes, I’m in San Diego. The Tall Ships Festival is a fun one for sure. I’ve never done the cannon battle cruise – sounds fun!

  15. On February 22, 2017 at 6:05 pm Elizabeth Girardeau wrote:

    This was really good. What I particularly found affirming for me is that I understood where Scott wanted and needed to go with this. However, this is what I learned. I was not totally smart enough to know how to get there. So I really did learn some methods that I need to try out. Love these videos. Thanks for offering them.

    1. On February 22, 2017 at 7:37 pm Scott Davenport replied:

      Elizabeth… let’s rephrase that… you’re not practiced enough to know how to get to your envisioned photo. Nobody is born knowing this stuff. It takes time. It takes practice.

      Don’t be afraid to try out a filter or a preset, and then back it out because it doesn’t work for your photo. Or, a filter works, but only for a portion of your photo (that’s when you mask!). Over time, you’ll get a better feel for what filter or adjustment to work for.

      Keep at it! And have fun doing it… sometimes an experiment will surprise you in a good way.

  16. On February 22, 2017 at 6:07 pm jk02251212@outlook.com wrote:

    Thank you for this video! I never thought of using the masking bug in lieu of a vignette and getting even more flexibility to tweak. What a great tip.
    Now, I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in going back and reapplying and reshuffling previous effects. I always thought that it was my own weakness of not getting it right the first time, but it’s a creative process after all.
    Your videos are excellent and instructive, but that’s probably stating the obvious…

  17. On February 23, 2017 at 5:38 am Valerie Ewing wrote:

    Thanks so much, I just learned some new ‘tricks’ that I didn’t know I could do.
    I loved how you adjusted the highlights. That issue has evaded me for a long time until now!

  18. On February 23, 2017 at 5:26 pm Sharine Borslien wrote:

    Thanks, Scott! I needed to see this as I move ahead with a massive photo-journal project. I have been trying to do too much with the presets and filters, often coming up short of my ideal finished product, and now I see how to better use both local adjustments and masking. I feel better armed to launch into my next photo edit, and even go back into edit mode on “final” images that I’m not 100% happy with!

    Also, your video prompted me to go into my backup files of the rejected images and salvage a handful that now seem totally workable: bonus!

    1. On February 23, 2017 at 6:41 pm Scott Davenport replied:

      Great! And I’ve been known to revisit older photos from time to time as my processing skills improve, too. :-)

  19. On February 25, 2017 at 4:21 pm LYNN B wrote:

    Thanks so much for your “Inspiration” , Scott! It was especially helpful to see how you combined and revisited various tools. So often only one aspect of editing is in focus, but this video shows that a workflow is rarely linear. I enjoyed the way you addressed your work so as to give a better understanding of composition as well as thoughtful post-processing. ‘Hope you’ll be back soon!

    1. On February 25, 2017 at 4:27 pm Scott Davenport replied:

      Thanks so much, Lynn. I’m glad you enjoyed the video. And I hope to be back again soon, too. I think I just might… ;-)

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