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One of the first steps in optimizing an image in my view, is to not even optimize the image at all. To not try to change the appearance of the image, but rather to evaluate the image and see whether or not its worth working with. And to get a sense of which types of adjustments you might want to apply. Let's take a look at this image for example. One of the things I'll do early on with many images. Is evaluate the histogram, we have a large number of bright pixels that's obviously the sky here. Now since this is a foggy day and we have some diffuse lighting, that might not be a problem but its something I'll want to pay attention to. And I also can see that the darkest values in the image don't go all the way down to black.
So that's something that I might want to keep in mind, possibly darkening up those dark values. I also like to evaluate the capture settings. In this case I can see that the image was captured with an ISO setting of 400. Which for the camera used in this case that's not a serious concern, at higher ISO settings, I might be concerned about noise. But at 400 ISO I'm not really worried about it. I can see that the aperture was F16, so I should have pretty depth of field front to back. And so I won't need to worry about any issues of soft focus for example at least I shouldn't.
A 125th of a second shutter speed. I should also have a sharp image with no motion. This image happens to have been captured on a tripod. So, that should certainly be the case. So, I think all things considered the settings look to be pretty good. I do want to pay careful attention to those brights. Making sure that I've got at least some texture or detail in the sky. Obviously it's going to be pretty bright. But I want to make sure that it's not totally blown out. I can also take a look at the overall sharpness of the image, and perhaps evaluate checking for dust spots and other blemishes. Just generally trying to get a sense of which sort of adjustments I might want to pay attention to for the image.
For a sharpness check, I'll work at the one to one zoom setting, so on the navigator, I'll click that one to one option. And then I can click and drag the box in the Navigator. In order to zoom around the image, and get a sense of whether or not the image is indeed sharp. And of course, in this case, it was obviously a bit hazy with fog so there may be some relatively soft detail. But it does look like the image is sharp. I'll even zoom into a four to one zoom, just to get a little bit better sense of it. And it looks like we have good detail here, I'm not too concerned about the detail level here, or the sharpness. This happens to be a relatively low-resolution image, and so I'm not going to see tremendous detail when I zoom in. But all things considered, it looks good.
And also, zooming in at that four to one or maybe even taking this up to an eight to one zoom setting. I'll check for any noise, and it looks like in this case there's some small indications of noise. I see a little bit of green and magenta in the wood here, for example. But overall it looks like the image is pretty clean, which is what I would expect considering the ISO setting was at 400. So, again by checking the histogram, checking those Capture settings you could go even into the Library module. And scroll through to check some of the other metadata values including the Exif settings.
If you feel that those would be helpful in evaluating the image. But then also using the Navigator to zoom in to varying degrees to check the image for sharpness, for detail, etcetera. Once you've taken the time to evaluate an image. You'll have a better sense of whether it's worth working with. And which specific adjustments you might want to apply.
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