I have to admit I’ve been doing more post-processing of my pictures since the eyesight failure. Most of it is cropping to make up for not seeing what in the viewfinder correctly, but some of it is the usual colour/brightness/contrast tweaking to get things just right. Then I usually shrink things down and sharpen them as a matter of course.
One of the photographers I follow recently did a very long video on all the rigmarole he goes through in processing, and at least I haven’t fallen into that trap. I say “trap” because I think a lot of people over-process their images, and not just the HDR ones. I probably will never do this because I now lack the ability to see subtle differences.
That said, I’m going to show you some subtle differences! The purpose of which is to demonstrate that what order you make adjustments (at least ‘automatic’ ones) has an affect on the final result. First the base image which has only been shrunken down and sharpened:
This picture can benefit from both some colour enhancement and tonal correction as it is somewhat washed-out, lacking both richness and contrast. So let’s correct the white balance then enhance the colour, using ‘automatic’ functions for both, before shrinking & sharpening:
But what if we colour enhance first, then correct the white balance?
There is a subtle difference, even to my eyes. Better? Worse? That’s a matter of opinion.
Now let’s look and see what happens if we shrink & sharpen first, then adjust white balance and colour:
And in the other order:
The last two images are the most alike, and you can see they are both different from either image which had colour changes before being reduced in size. This is because the computer program judges the whole image when making its adjustment ‘decisions’, and if the image is made smaller first there is less information to work with. Will that make the end result better or worse? That would depend on the particular image and your personal tastes. It is important to remember this especially if you are cropping segments out of the whole, as whether or not the removed portions are included in the program’s analysis for adjusting can have a significant effect of the final result (as in if large amounts of a particular colour or shadow/highlight are being left out).
There’s not only science to this, but art as well. You may find it helps to try such multiple changes in different orders to get the best results.
It’s still not a good picture, though.