"Shooting 35mm in a world of Digital post-production"

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by seth_samuel, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. I shoot a lot of film these days on my Leica M6. When I shoot digitally with my Nikons, I always shoot in RAW so I naturally make adjustments (curves, white balance, highlights, etc) part of my workflow. When I scan my 35mm film, I always hesitate to tweak anything. I'm not sure it is justified as people have been touching up film shots for years. But in the age of digital post-production, I find that no mater how great an exposure, how great the light, and how great the Leica lens, there is always something that can sweeten the image.
    What are everyone's thoughts on digital post production of film photos and our need to tweak everything?
    Seth
     
  2. very nice post
    i think about that also
    well, i find myself also working hard on digital and minimizing any post-processing on film.
    somehow i think film has it's own soul, and one is not supposed to tweak it a lot. Also it really shows much closer to what i want to see
    rui
     
  3. I am in the same position, I think. I also find that when I look at a digital image, I'm looking at colors, contrast, and resolution. With film, I look at the picture, the moment. Perhaps it does not require much processing...
     
  4. I just tweak them to my heart's content just as I do with the digital (would you know from my gallery which ones were film pictures?).
    I think it's about whether in photography you are looking for photos or for challenge. There's nothing wrong about challenges: trying to come up with the most beautiful picture with minimum processing is good for developing shooting techniques. But I'd call it more a challenge than anything else; it's like with athletics -- you don't swim 50 m as fast as you can because you have something urgent to do on the other side of the pool, you swim to show that you can.
    But if you have a final concept in mind, then any means is allowed, be it digital, chemical, or any imaginable photoshopping.
     
  5. I don`t think PP should be seen. Therefore my scanned film is treated with the same PP as digi files.
    The advantage of digi is having neutral or saturated colors, high contrast or low. Why should film that is digitised be different? Use a low contrast film and make what you want out of it later same a shooting raw, sort of.
     
  6. I'm sold on digital post processing. I use digital capture (RD-1s) and film cameras, with the film developed and scanned to disk. Digital post processing is the greatest ... I grew up dyed in Dektol and Microdol, but I am a lot happier now to do the thing on a PC. I still don't do much on the PC that I didn't do in a darkroom, but it is just easier and more convenient.
    I don't do my own developing and scanning, so my concern is the continued availability of quality processing labs. I worry that as mass-market film dies (and it will), one will have to look to more specialized and expensive labs, or do it onself.
     
  7. I'm ok with it depending on the situation - sometimes, there is no need for it but when warranted, I don't have a problem.
    For color film (that is developed and scanned to CD at CVS), I post-process a bit in Photoscape (typically levels and contrast) - they do such a lousy job now, I'm seeking a new place to get my color film developed.
    I recently acquired an Epson V300 scanner and am learning the ins-and-outs of that. I have scanned some slides recently and had to do some adjustments in Photoscape as well. I may try Vuescan and do my adjustments there instead.
    - Ray
     
  8. Tweaking a film scan digitally is just another way of tweaking a print exposure from that same original negative, especially in black and white.
    Although either done well is appealing, I think much more satisfaction comes from a well-conceived and modified hand made enlarged photographic print. A lot of the creativity occurs at that time, as we cannot always realize our visualised scene solely through the estimated film exposure and result. The projected print manipulations (or their digital analogue) also allow us to alter what the negative contains, in an artistic manner.
    Such hands on creativity and freedom is one of the most satisfying aspects of photography.
     
  9. You tweek this and tweek that. I'd like to nail my exposures so my wet prints look great with a minimum of fuss but it seem there's most often a bit of dodging to be done. Scanned film at minimum needs a levels adjustment in PS to put those tones where they ought be.
     
  10. My feeling is that, as soon as you scan your film negative, it has become a digital file. I don't have any sense of preserving film purity. I process all of my scanned photos in photoshop and/or irfanview before posting.
    Unfortunately, I don't know how to enlarge and print film the 'old-fashioned' way, wish that I did and that I had the time and space to do so. The internet in general and PN in particular has given us all such a great opportunity to exhibit our 'art', the only catch is that it all has to be digital and post-processing is a necessity.
     
  11. " they do such a lousy job now, I'm seeking a new place to get my color film developed"
    That's exactly what I worry about.
     
  12. I work 100% with film (mainly Leica M) and Ive never seen a scanned film image - especially negs - that dont need some post processing. Film doesnt have "purity" it merely has different qualities and charateristics to digital; and these qualities and charateristics can be improved, emphasised or exaggerated through post processing to "produce" an image. The neg is merely a starting point...
     
  13. I post process anything I think needs it.....film or digital. Heck, I burned and dodged like a madman when I did wet printing, and digital editting just makes it so much easier to do. There's almost always a little tweak here and there that can add to the image's look.
     
  14. I don't understand the concept here. If you are darkroom printing you are going to do whatever you can to improve the image. What's the difference in doing it in Photoshop? It's exactly the same thing.
     
  15. Sure... They're your images and if you can improve them, why not?
     
  16. Why not indeed...
     
  17. The scanner used to scan film is a digital camera. So, once you have the scanned digital image I don't see any difference at all between the two when it comes to post-processing. Your just less limited with PS than with film processing. My frame of reference is Ansel Adams who supposedly made some 60 plus prints of one of his favorite negatives and "never did get it right." And how long did that take him? He might have succeeded with PS. Or now, Cartier-Bresson who always had others develop and print his negatives. As a result, he insisted that no one else crop his carefully crafted, in-camera cropped images. If he had had access to PS and digital scans and was willing to crop after the fact himself, he surely would have done it. In fact, there's no way he could have gotten all of his film shots exactly the way he wanted them to look, especially the on-the-fly decisive moments. That means that he threw away perhaps thousands of negatives because they were not framed perfectly when he took them. Imagine the great shots that he might have produced if he had been able to crop them slightly or even substantially. What a loss. Well, we'll never know, will we?
     
  18. "What's the difference in doing it in Photoshop?"
    Doing in PS is "Easier". So some people feel guilty doing it with a click of the mouse. Some need to sweat it out to get that sense of satisfaction. I guess.
     
  19. Yes, we do what we can, and we do it because we can. Think of the purist color slide worker. What you show is basically what happened to the emulsion in-camera. This is the restriction and the challenge of the color slide. (OK, there are some processing tricks and sandwiching, but I'm talking purist.)
    But without that restriction we are going to tweak the image anywhere and anyhow we can.
     
  20. I always tweaked my film in the days before digital. Clients didn't seem to care for orange, negative images.
     
  21. My best friend is my Konica-Minolta dedicated scanner. It is the machine that puts my negatives and slides into my digital darkroom, the only darkroom I have ever used that was mine. Using Photoshop I have revitalized slides and color negatives. I have found life for film shots I thought to be dead losers. Digital post-processing has been my liberation.
     
  22. Seth, I shoot film exclusively and don't "tweak" my photos for two reasons:<br>
    <br>
    1) I don't like post processing. I'm a photographer because I like taking pictures, not sitting in front of a computer; <br>
    <br>
    2) When I take a picture, I want it to be as good as it can be. I try to pay attention to things that might need correcting and
    do it "in camera."<br>
    <br>
    I don't do my own processing and for exhibits, I go over the negatives with the lab printer, relying on her expertise (she's a
    great printer) for any needed corrections, usually not beyond a bit of burning and cropping. The prints are made through an
    enlarger.<br>
    <br>
    In my opinion,there's nothing "sacred" about film and tweaking it or not. Like everything, it's a matter of personal taste and
    preference.
     
  23. I shoot both 35mm and 120. I make prints in a wet darkroom. It's always been my desire to have my photographs reflect exactly what was in front of me at the time of exposure. Life is by no means perfect and therefore I don't expect my photographs to be perfect. The more tweaking a image gets, the more it's about the photographer and his/her idealized concept of the images content. This is OK with me. I just would rather keep my pictures more about content then about whatever technical skill I may have in the steps from exposure to final print. To this end, my pictures are about as un-tweaked as possible. I don't burn or dodge or tone (except for the ocassional selinium tone) and I only print the full negative. What I see when I take a picture is exactly how I want the print to look.
     
  24. In over 40 years of using slide film, I never once thought of it in terms of purity.
    Slide film always has distinctive color and contrast characteristics. They are built in in the factory. I prefer a more neutral palette such as Fuji Astia over Velvia.
    That is probably why my adding digital to my equipment choices was so easy. A RAW file typically has high color accuracy and neutral contrast. To some it looks blah. To me I like like the fact that I am now free to express myself.
    When scanning slide film I worry less about changing the color palatte than trying to bring out shadow detail. I think I am trying to create what I see on the light table.
    Like many others I don't think there is only one way to skin a cat.
    It is nice to have all of these options.
     
  25. In the past I always felt that an extra minute in the camera (composing, looking for distracting items, adding some fill) was far better than spending extra hours in the darkroom. I've known people that have been quite careless shooters...often using the excuse that with street shooting in particular they didn't have time to be 'careful' while shooting...who afterwords would brag about the 3 hours they spent to get that perfect print.
    I was always a careful shooter. Came from my early wedding work I imagine. The studio owner would give us 3 36 exp rolls if the wedding was being shot in 35mm, or 5 rolls of 120 if we were using the 645 Mamiya. (this was in the late 70's).
    I quickly learned to make every shot count if possible.
    The result was that when shooting for myself I shoot carefully. In the 'old' days I seldom spent more than 20 minutes on any one print in the darkroom.
    Now I shoot film, scan and digitally print, to the same effect. Seldom do I spend more than 10 or 15 minutes fixing/adjusting a print in photoshop.
    I have better things to do than spend hours in front of monitor.
     
  26. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Richard Avedon's photos were shot meticulously, as careful as one could be. Days to set up, completely controlled lighting. Yet some of his prints had well over 100 localized corrections and probably took at least a day in the darkroom, especially for the first print. There's nothing wrong with a lot of post-processing if one wants to do what the camera will never do on its own, especially if one has ideas about how they want a print to look.
     
  27. Jeff, I'd like to clear up one thing in your last post..."especially if one has ideas about how they want a print to look."
    This does not necessarily require hours in the darkroom. It is well documented that our own darling of Leica photography, HCB would not allow his photos to be cropped, and would only allow limited (and he always had final say) contrast manipulation.
    I think it would be safe to say he cared about what his finished image looked like just as much as Avedon.
     
  28. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    My statement was not exclusionary. Some people do quick prints. However, as I said, if one has ideas about how they want something to look, there's nothing wrong with a lot of post-processing.
    I don't really believe in "darlings" of photography, either. There are a variety of approaches to photography, not just HCB's. I realize that might be heresy on this forum, but photography would be dead if we only had HCB and imitators.
     
  29. I agree with Larry K. that once film is scanned it becomes a digital image and the "purity" of film is lost. Photoshop is the digital darkroom, and scanned film is digital, so why even have a pretense that scanned film/ digital images are more "precious" because they were originally shot on film? The only way you can maintain the purity of film, IMO, is to make prints in a wet darkroom.
     
  30. If the technology is there, I'm going to use it. It's no different than switching to a newer, improved film emulsion or process. I place all my 35mm negatives on a light table and shoot them with a locked off digital camera and sharp macro lens. I scan 120's. Even so, they all have to be manipulated in some form, whether I do it or the scanner does. I can tell what shots were film originated, and see the subtle differences, only now I can enhance them at will.
     
  31. The photographic process is about translation, translating the light reflected from a 3-d environment to a 2-d image, and that light's full-spectrum to a very narrow one. Without thought or creativity behind a translation you wind up with an automated or mechanical translation which too easily distorts what is being expressed. Of course, any modification of a translation can go too far and result in something unrecognizably different from the original.
    How far you go in a translation depends upon how you value the impression of reality.
    I think it Ansel Adams said, "The negative is the score and the print is the performance". From this analogy, it is not an unreasonably thing to say that the full aesthetic capacity of a great photograph is not realized until it is post-processed and that skill is required both in the capturing and in the post-processing.
     
  32. Jeff, not trying to ruffle your feathers. I agree with your last post entirely. It's just that some people are of the opinion that photography has somehow been made better because of what is allowed in post production.
    Yes, it can be a part of the working process for some people...and some genres of photography really lend themselves to post production. I just wished to make it clear that on the other hand, those that choose to shoot in a style that doesn't include a lot of photoshop are not producing 'lesser' quality work.
     
  33. Seth, I'm with you. I shoot my M6 because there's no photographic equivalent for the feel or the sound -- the soft click -- of a Leica shutter or the certainty of its rangefinder focus. Aesthetics aside, several commentators above are right -- most of our images get digitized. But, properly labeled and stored, our original images -- those little slivers of film -- remain to be projected, printed, copied or scanned as we choose from now on. For my occasional freelance PJ assignments, I'm all digital. But when I'm shooting for myself -- pleasure, curiosity, proving a point -- it's my M6 and a roll of Fuji Velvia, Provia or Astia.
     
  34. I don't do a whole lot of adjusting myself. I've been burning alot of Superia 400 lately, and with my F100 the results have been spot on.

    But it is nice to know I have the option to make adjustments if I need. I haven't had near as good of results with some films.
     
  35. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I just wished to make it clear that on the other hand, those that choose to shoot in a style that doesn't include a lot of photoshop are not producing 'lesser' quality work.​
    I understand that and didn't mean to imply it, if I did. It's usually a stylistic decision.
     
  36. " Sweat it out to get that sense of satisfaction". Nope, some people just enjoy the process of printing from a negative. To me, its just plain fun to watch that image appear on the paper in the developer. It's like gardening, I just enjoy getting my hands in the dirt and watching the creation process. If I gardened on a computer, I would be a ex gardener. Some of us actually enjoy not working with a computer.
     
  37. Photography is about the image, not about how you got to the image.
    Not that I don't enjoy the whole process wether it be film or digital. For instance, I process my own C41 film and enjoy doing it. I also enjoy collecting film cameras, but that isn't photography. Its just that I also like gadgets.
    So many creative things can be done in PP that it would be a shame to restrict PP to digital only. I recently took some film shots of the Grand Tetons behind Lake Jackson. I was disapointed that the water wasn't calm enough to give nice reflections of the mountains in the water. No problem, I added reflections in Photoshop, done tastefully I asure you.
    If you like the result, then what does it matter how you achieved it?
    Ron
     
  38. HCB would make countless corrections before he allowed the final prints to be made...
    Me, I dont have time for such endeavors. I take the shot get it processed at the Frontier and be done with it. Occasionally I make some B&W prints, play around with the contrast to get some exposure. I have a guy that works wonders on a big digi machine and he processes my enlargements.
    Taking pictures through my Hasselblad's Zeiss glass or my Leica is all that interests me.
     
  39. Tweaking, yeah. Fixing, overhauling or faking photographs that aren't there to begin with? Almost never works for me.
     
  40. "Seth, I shoot film exclusively and don't "tweak" my photos for two reasons:

    1) I don't like post processing. I'm a photographer because I like taking pictures, not sitting in front of a computer..."
    Agreed! I take umbrage, to a degree, when it is suggested that "it's not photography" if one doesn't do one's own processing and printing. Many well-known photographers had other people process and print their film, partly because they knew that there were advantages to having someone handle the printing who had spent as much time and effort mastering that as the shooter had mastering the acquisition of good imagery. Some seem to think that just because Ansel Adams spent days working on each print, that that's the only way a serious photographer would do it. Fact is, that was just ONE way, and it only worked for him because he had the unique talent for it and his style of photography meant that he probably didn't have 1000 images from an event to sort through and PP.


    Personally, I like the act of finding and taking a photo; of operating the camera. I can't say I enjoy post-processing the images much, especially when they're vast in number. The thing is, I still consider it photography. Photographers photograph, printers print; and there's nothing wrong with that. It drives me crazy to have to sit in front of a computer even longer than I would, just to get the images I want, so yeah, if I could swing it, I'd have someone else do it, someone whose judgment I trust; and I would still consider the final product MY picture.


    Maybe if I had a more ergonomic computer setup, it would be a different story. As it is, editing pix from a trip or an event causes me all sorts of aches and pain and makes me tell myself repeatedly that, if I could afford it, I'd probably only shoot film and take it to a pro lab. But I can't, and there's hardly any decent non-expensive labs left it seems. So I shoot mostly digital, and accept the fact that I won't be getting the most out of my images because doing so can be uncomfortable, and because, quite frankly, tweaking a single picture for hours and hours doesn't really get me all that excited... I don't think there's anything wrong with the people that DO enjoy it, but I don't like when some of those folks (especially over on the DPReview forums) make a point of telling everyone how taking your film/files to a printer means it's not photography.
     
  41. I now shoot primarily colour negative stock, which I have scanned to a CD at the time of processing. Sometimes I shoot transparencies, but even then I get a CD. Sometimes I tweak things, do some cropping, adjust contrast, colour, etc. But I enjoy actually taking the pictures, not sittng in front of my laptop for hours, just to echo what Alex said above.
    I know some weddng photograhers who complain that now with digital, they spend an inordinate amount of time in post production to satisfy demanding brides who expect instant gratification, some even want the proofs on a CD before they leave the reception. When they shot rolls of 120 film, it was weeks before they had to deal with the bridezillas. With digital, the 'high drama' starts the day of the wedding. Glad I don't make a living in that field!
     
  42. I think there's no general rule about the amount of 'allowed' tweaking for either digital or film capture (I suppose B&W is already a significant tweak with respect to the real world image, and I can't understand why manipulating chemical reactions should be more 'natural' than digital processing), just follow your feelings. But, actually, I suppose that when and if you find out that most of your photos goes through significant digital post-processing, you'd better simply switch to straight digital capture.
     
  43. Sally Mack hit the nail right on the head. Like her, I tend to do as much as I can in camera to try to get the best possible result. Once I scan the film, it usually stays exactly how it was shot. Not because post processing couldn't improve it - what Seth said it true, no matter how good the shot is on film, it can usually be improved however slightly with some post processing tweaks. But because I already work hours a day in front of a computer screen, the last thing I want to do is spend time 'fixing it in post'. I'd rather spend that time out in the field, experiencing life and taking shots.
    To post process or not is a personal decision, one I'm not about to look down on others for doing it. We all have our reasons.
     
  44. Tweaking and artistic control can be quite different animals. Although tweaking (in digital or in wet darkroom) can restore light balance, it can also be overdone. It is debatable whether artistic manipulations can be overdone, as they are more subjective in natuure. They are either successful, or not (and success, too, is subjective).
    HCB's desire to have his photos printed full frame simply reflects his desire to communicate what he composed. Perhaps he should have paid more attention to (that is, carry out himself) darkroom printing, as some of the images printed by others seem to be wanting in tonal quality.
     
  45. Chris I agree with all you say. Still that's no reason not to use photoshop, and in fact use it however one wants to. Overdone or subtle it's an individual's artistic judgement. There's no "pure" method of creating IMO except for the process you create for yourself. Don't forget, at one time the camera was a new-fangled contraption for people who could not draw, or on the other hand, the death of drawing and painting. Those old arguments seem antiquated these days. Now its been replaced by digital v. film. At the end of the day, there's only subjective value judgement. Work will stand on it's own. Regardless of that, I too, like to get a photo as much done in camera as possible. Practically it gets you to a place of creative judgement if you start of with a good negative, digital or otherwise, or a negative/file that is set up to take you a certain way when you get it into post. Also, I don't seperate ends from means though it depends on the ends. In other words, If it was a professional situation where I had to deliver "product" I would do whatever it took to deliver it within bounds of certain considertions. i,e. photo journalism etc. which demand certain strictures.
     
  46. Because I hate "tweaking" and post production software, and because I am an old film user since the '60s, I do my damnedest to compose and expose my shots so that no post production work is needed. True, there is the occasional picture which is close to sensational except for some small detail. For that situation, I truly miss my enlarger, the use of which was FUN! These days I just develop, scan and print. An overview of much of what passes for photography today is so digitally corrupted by post processing, that it resembles the work of the Pixar studio or some such. Fetching, maybe, but hardly pure photograpy. Many opinions given in this forum tell me that I am not alone in my feelings. But, hey! If it feels good, do it! They will take my MP from my cold, dead hands! Best regards, Bill
     
  47. Well Bill if you like precision in camera work, I can remember in Comercial Photoraphy class, the first assignment (all film), was to shoot a cube, cylander and ball, each with precise lighting ratios using 2 hot lights, such that you evenly displayed the 50% ratios, shot with a large format camera and contact printed with no dodging or burning allowed. They had to be perfect. That was really fun. It's true wet darkroom is alot of fun.
     
  48. I admire you Seth for keeping yourself within a similar confines of a darkroom in a digital world. Indeed you have brought up an interesting topic, which brings so many photographers to ponder as to why some of us are still shooting film. We all have our own reasons, but I think it was Ansel Adams who said that a photograph was eseentially a "big lie". It took me a few years before I gathered what he may have actually meant by this, but essentially a photagraph allows many means of distortrion in how something is seen. With film however, that level in which one could distort was limited. With digital, the means and potential for the "lie" seem easier and greater; almost without limits. I don't want to get too deep or spark too much controversy with this, but I think I still shoot film because I've come to view digital (virtuality) imagery as being too much of a "lie" to live with. It's pollutive towards mans sense of reality and tangible reasonate. At least for the younger generation. This is only my opinion however.
     
  49. >>> I don't want to get too deep or spark too much controversy with this, but I think I still shoot film because I've come to
    view digital (virtuality) imagery as being too much of a "lie" to live with. It's pollutive towards mans sense of reality and
    tangible reasonate. At least for the younger generation.

    Lies and reality? Indeed. I could list dozens of well-known film-based photographers whose work is far removed from what
    people consider reality, and is hanging in museums all over the world. This is not something exclusive to the digital domain.
     
  50. Indeed you are correct Brad, but what I was more or less driving at is that film was limited and involved greater effort in creating such distortions than as with digital imagery and computer generated animative editing. For instance if we were to take one of those museum examples, for instance, the surrealistic Jumping Dali photo taken by Phillipe Hallsman where Salvador Dali is jumps into mid air (along with cat, water, fish from bowl also suspended in the air) We could make note that it took nearly fourty jumps from Dali and several dead fish to get the final shot. With digital, the entire effect could have easily been mimicked with the scrolling of a mouse. Dali later attributed some of his arthritic pains to that very photo project mentioned above. There was more of an element of truth to it perhaps, but then again, it is only my opinion.
     
  51. I shot film because I like the tactile feel of it. I print everything on silver gelatin paper in my darkroom because I like to print. I scan the prints to share ideas and pics with others that I've met on flickr. I work in the computer industry and hate to use computers. I don't own PS or do any PP whatsoever. I'm not a purist, I just hate using a computer. I've got the print and I know what it looks like, putting it on the Internet is so that I can share it with other people.
    I agree though, nothing beats the sound of the M6shutter.
     
  52. personally, i've never had one digital photograph that i've taken look the way i wanted it to, so i play with contrast and saturation and do what i can to make my photos look the way i want. i feel a little more freedom with digital too, almost like it's a starting point. with film, it's just the opposite. the only photos i really mess with are the ones i've messed up in camera. however, i do use lens filters, experiment with different film stocks, and push my film like crazy which is basically the same as someone adjusting things in photoshop. photoshop just makes your life easier (and less expensive!)
     
  53. I shoot mostly slide film, and have it scanned professionally onto CDs. If I need to adjust anything, it's only very minimally: contrast and levels, etc.
    The main reason is I would far rather be out taking pictures than spending hours in front of the computer!
    The digital age is turning everyone into computer programmers, glued to a screen.
     
  54. The trouble is, the scanned image is already a post-processed image. Search this site and you'll find a lot of information on this. One poster actually recommended that you scanned a "raw" image and do all processing in Photoshop.
    To avoid any digital processing one would be forced back into the dark room. What to do? I don't know the answer.
     
  55. I think whatever floats each photographer boat, film or digital is fair game. Enjoy the ride!
     
  56. "20 years from now we can re-scan our film and get 2029-level image quality."​
    A pretty convincing dissertation on the true RAW. (Film) : Ken Rockwell states...
     
  57. I find it more a matter of necessity than philosophy!
    In general, the film and paper combination produce a beautiful and natural gradation of tones, and I have little wish to change that. However, it results from the complimentary characteristic curves of the paper and negative.
    I usually find that I must make many adjustments to the scan file to persuade it to look like a straight darkroom print. This is partly to substitute for the characteristic curve of the printing paper, but especially because I've been careful not to clip highlights when scanning, and this results in a distorted tonal curve (at least in the setup I use - Canon FS4000US with Vuescanan and operated by an idiot)(me). I also need to restore sharpness lost in scanning. I regard those adjustments as corrective rather than creative.
    However, I may also want to loose distracting shadow details, or boost mid-tone contrast where the original lighting was flat, or squash in the tones of the sky. In the darkroom you would commonly do these minor creative tweaks by choosing the paper grade and exposure, perhaps progressing to flashing or different paper developers. I don't see any reason not to do equivalent things to a scan file.
    In the darkroom, I may also do a little burning and dodging because uncontrollable light conditions out of doors can create visually distracting effects. So far, I do burning and dodging rarely with scan files because I find it such a pain on a computer.
    In either darkroom or lightroom, beautiful light seems to me an elusive thing. Where light quality is what I chiefly wanted to capture, I find I have to almost excavate it from the negative.
     

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