Part 3: Before and After Images, Ritz Theatre (Retro Oklahoma City)

Everyone loves to debate whether a “good camera” is required in order to take “good pictures.” (If photographers had a dime for every time we’ve heard “you take such great photos; you must have a really good camera” we wouldn’t need to sell our work.) Similarly, people have widely varying opinions on the importance of “Photoshopping” in the creation of good photography.

So, does gear matter? Do post-processing skills make or break a photo? I personally have mixed feelings on both of these questions, which is partly what inspired this project, as I mentioned in Part 1 of this series.

In Part 2, I asked which camera helped produce the best final photo and have been fascinated with the feedback (it’s not too late to chime in! Post your comments). Today, in Part 3, I’m interested in assessing which camera captures the best raw image (i.e. unedited, right out of the camera). To do that, consider these before-and-after versions of the abandoned “Ritz Theatre,” located on Britton, just east of Western Ave in Oklahoma City.

iPhone 4

iPhone 4: Before

iPhone 4: After #1 (Lightroom 3, No Filters)

iPhone 4: After #2 (Instagram Filter + Tilt-Shift)

Nikon D700 / Full-Frame DSLR

D700 / Full-Frame DSLR: Before

D700 / Full-Frame DSLR: After

Rolleicord / Medium Format / 120 Film

All of my 120 film images from this project were developed and scanned (high-res) by Richard Photo Lab in California. If you need a lab for film, I definitely recommend them.

Rolliecord / Medium Format Film: Before

Rolleicord / Medium Format Film: After

Remember, I shot all of these hand-held, so forgive the crooked “Before” images. Apparently, I need to work on straightening my camera! 🙂

I edited all of these inside Lightroom 3 (with the exception of the iPhone Instagram image), applying basic corrections as needed such as straightening verticals, correcting lens distortion, recovery, black point, color tweaks, sharpening, noise reduction, cropping, white balance, brightness, fill, curves, etc.

So what are the answers to the questions above?

  • Which camera produced the best “Before” image and needed the least amount of technical improvement for the “After” version?
  • If you could only photograph this scene with one camera, and you couldn’t post-process the image at all, which camera would you pick?
  • How much did post-processing matter in these images?



About Mosaic Collective, LLC

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, founding member of Mosaic Collective, LLC, which was founded in early 2017 and is based in Central Illinois. I own and operate Mosaic Collective with my partner in business and life, my husband, Nathan. Mosaic Collective, LLC houses our rental property, my consulting contracts (with the nonprofit and public sectors on various work), and also my commercial and portrait photography business, which has been doing business as Holly Baumann Photography since 2008 long before the formation of our LLC. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and sometimes, my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
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One Response to Part 3: Before and After Images, Ritz Theatre (Retro Oklahoma City)

  1. Alissa says:

    Rollei!! 🙂


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