General notes

  • I use Darktable for postprocessing RAWs.
  • I shoot on a Pixel 6 Pro, mostly because it fits in my pocket and I usually take trips completely on a whim. (And the automatic processing it does is quite good, so I feel better about myself when I manually make something I like better, lol.) But, I'd like to get into film photography eventually, and on the digital side of things not being able to manually set focus has been a huge issue for me, so I might be looking at a DSLR purchase in the near future.
  • I am completely OK with making creative postprocessing decisions that make the scene look slightly less true to life, if they result in an image that's nicer to look at.

General workflow

  • Crop: usually I try to nail down the composition I want as I'm taking the shot, but this doesn't always work out. I shoot and crop with a 3x3 grid guide and try to line things up to that.
  • Lighting: Usually I'll adjust the exposure and black point (ignoring Darktable's warnings about not adjusting the black point) first, then if I don't like the result, use the "shadows and highlights" module for more fine-grained correction and white point adjustment.
  • Color: At this point the image looks a little desaturated. Depending on how I am feeling, I'll either use the "velvia" module (extremely limited control over outcomes, but I often like the result - start with strength and adjust compression after), the "color contrast" module, or the "color correction" module. I don't usually have much success with adjusting global chroma but I'm probably doing something wrong.
  • Color, again: I often take images in less than optimal conditions (e.g. cloudy day, sun is in the totally wrong place and it's impossible to get it to light my subject) so I frequently need to adjust colors further after adjusting saturation. I use the "color lookup table" module for this. I often will push a gray sky just a little bit in the blue direction, and will adjust other colors too if I think it'll make the result prettier (e.g. make bricks a bit redder). Here's an example:

Lots of color lookup table used in this example image.

This page TODO

  • Darktable screenshots?
  • Examples of photos at each stage