People from a local club were asking for me to put a quick 'how to' example up.www.flickr.com/photos/accessac…
Warning: This photo was taken at the Zombie Walk during comic-con. If you are squeamish, you have been warned, it has blood and stuff like that.
Most of my photos use little to no postprocessing beyond Lightroom. Postprocessing is never an end unto itself, it should be used to enhance the mood, feel, or subject matter of a photo. Use a light touch, don't overdo it.
Personally, I'm not a fan of photoshop. It costs a lot of money, even the 'student edition' is expensive these days, and it has a high learning curve. I know you can do amazing things in photoshop, and it is the de-facto standard. But it takes a lot of time, and since CS1, I just haven't found it very intuitive or user-friendly. I still use Adobe products, Lightroom is an Adobe product that I really like (since V4).
"Grunge" (Dirty) is a common type of processing used for macabre things like horror scenes or zombie movies. It tends to emphasize 'strong' or 'bad' lighting, contrast and detail to the max, and works well with blood, dirt, etc. It generally goes against the standard conventions of portraiture or positive portrayal of a subject.
1) Shoot with the type of postprocessing in mind. Don't be afraid to do things you wouldn't normally wouldn't do. For instance, this photo would not be very good for common use. The side-lighting makes the face too dark and the backround is too bright and mostly blown out. But for grunge, this is fine, or even encouraged. The reason I chose this photo was the character's stance or posing.
2) Come out of lightroom (and go into postprocessing) with the best histogram for maximum image fidelity. What this means is, for instance, if you want to make an image darker, don't make it darker in lightroom because you will lose image fidelity that way. Bring it out of lightroom at a normal level and then decrease the brightness in filtering as the final step. This way you can maximize your color and tonal detail.
3) I learned this type of processing years ago after doing a HotD photoshoot inside a parking garage. I purchased the Topaz Labs filters at an anime expo a couple of years before that after seeing a demonstration in the dealer's hall. Topaz Labs aren't the best filters out there, but for the money they are pretty good, and they come with a lot of useful presets. I've also never had to pay them for an upgrade or anything like that, each new version has come for free.
4) This is just an example. I'm not a post expert nor do I spend a lot of time with post. In general, if you can achieve it within the photo itself, it takes much less time and effort. The type of post I do, "global postprocessing" where the whole image is affected, is mostly designed around my own needs -- I do a lot of things to minimize time usage and get photos out as soon as possible.