I photograph using the RAW image format. My approach to post processing is after doing basic adjustments in your RAW Converter Software Program to develop the RAW data look at the overall image and ask yourself:
Is the shot good enough in your eyes to warrant some extra post processing to enhance it and highlight some of its strong features?
Once you decide it is worth the effort for some extra post processing then proceed. When processing the image look at it in terms of three stages:
Stage 1: Global Adjustments - (optimizing entire image without a great deal of aesthetic judgement).
Any basic adjustments (as required), such as Levels, Reduce Noise, Straighten and Remove Dust
Spots, Contrast (Adjustment Layer or Curves), Saturation.
Stage 2: Local Adjustments - (single out specific areas of the image which require specific attention).
More detailed adjustments (as required/desired) such as Layers, Channels, Masks, Blending Modes,
Gradients. Dodge and Burn, Filters.
Stage 3: -Final Adjustments - Target Levels adjustments and sharpening (as required/desired).
There is a multitude of techniques to enhance images. Subtle adjustments are the key so the
processing of the image doesn’t look overdone. Post processing is the digital darkroom and as such
is a vital part of the art of digital photography.
I use Olympus Viewer 3 to transfer my images from the camera to my computer into a Year/Month/Date folder/file structure.
Then I use Oly Viewer in Slide Show mode to view my images. I then select the images which I consider worthy of further processing. Olympus Viewer 3 is not that difficult to use, just clunky and slow.
But the output IMO is the best when converting Olympus RAW files.
I use Oly Viewer to convert my ORFs and make changes to the camera settings or other adjustments that maybe required (I rarely do).
Then save file as a TIFF (16 bit) and open it in Photoshop/Lightroom for any exposure corrections/global adjustments that maybe required.
I then do any Local Adjustments I consider necessary and finish with some Final Adjustments as desired.
I then resave the TIFF file (for printing if desired), then downsize the image and convert to JPEG format for posting on web.