editing tips for concert photography

Unveiling Top Editing Tips for Concert Photography

Concert photography is an exciting and challenging field, with photographers striving to capture the energy, emotion, and atmosphere of live music events in stunning images. In order to truly master the art of concert photography, it is essential to understand the importance of post-processing and editing techniques tailored specifically for this dynamic environment. This comprehensive concert photo editing guide will provide you with a range of editing tips for concert photography, ensuring that your images truly stand out and tell the story of the performance.

Key Takeaways

  • Editing plays a crucial role in achieving professional-quality concert photos
  • Addressing common challenges such as varying lighting conditions and motion blur
  • Selecting the right editing software for your workflow and artistic vision
  • Implementing exposure adjustments, color correction, and sharpening techniques
  • Using creative effects to emphasize motion and enhance the visual impact of your images
  • Establishing an efficient and organized editing workflow
  • Backing up and safeguarding your edited concert photographs

Understanding the Basics of Concert Photography Editing

Concert photography is a dynamic and challenging art form that requires not only technical skills in capturing the moment, but also an understanding of how to edit concert photos to bring the energy and atmosphere to life. This section will break down the basics of concert photography editing to provide you with the foundation for a successful post-processing workflow.

Concert photography is often characterized by varying lighting conditions, fast-moving subjects, and high contrasts, which makes the editing process crucial in achieving professional-looking results. Here are some concert photography post-processing tips to overcome the common challenges:

  1. Varying lighting conditions: Concert images are often taken under unpredictable and constantly changing lighting conditions. Adjusting the exposure, highlights, and shadows can help beautifully lit images.
  2. Motion blur: In live music photography, capturing the energy and motion is essential. However, motion blur can occur, especially at lower shutter speeds. Applying sharpening and noise reduction during editing can enhance image clarity.
  3. Color casts: Different types of stage lights can create color casts that affect the overall look of your images. Color correction techniques can neutralize these effects and achieve more natural colors.

To start addressing these issues, familiarize yourself with the essential editing tools that will greatly improve your concert photos:

  • Exposure adjustment
  • Shadows and highlights control
  • Color temperature and tint adjustment
  • Contrast and clarity enhancement
  • Sharpening and noise reduction

Remember that the specifics of each editing tool may vary depending on the software you use and the image format (RAW or JPEG) you’re working with.

RAW vs JPEG: Pros and Cons

In concert photography, choosing between shooting in RAW or JPEG format can significantly affect your post-processing experience. Here’s a comparison of the two formats:

Format Pros Cons
  • Better detail and dynamic range
  • Greater flexibility in editing
  • Easier color correction
  • Larger file sizes
  • Requires more processing time
  • Smaller file sizes
  • Faster processing time
  • Lower dynamic range and detail
  • Less flexibility in editing

The decision to shoot in RAW or JPEG depends on your personal preferences, workflow, and storage capabilities. Regardless of your choice, understanding the basics of concert photography editing will empower you to make the most out of your concert images, capturing the magic of live performances and leaving a lasting impression on your viewers.

Choosing the Right Editing Software for Concert Photos

With a variety of editing software options available, photographers have the luxury of selecting a program that best fits their workflow and artistic vision. From industry standards like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to free and open-source alternatives, finding the right editing software for concert photography can seem daunting. This section will provide an overview and comparison of popular editing software programs, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, with a specific focus on tools beneficial for concert photography.

When looking for the best editing software for concert photography, it’s crucial to identify your unique needs, budget, and proficiency level. Some software programs, like Adobe Photoshop, offer advanced features but may pose a steep learning curve for beginners. In contrast, others prioritize ease of use while providing a solid foundation for learning editing techniques for concert photography.

Here’s an overview of some popular editing software programs recommended for concert photography:

  1. Adobe Lightroom
  2. Adobe Photoshop
  3. Affinity Photo
  4. Skylum Luminar
  5. Capture One
  6. GIMP (Open source)
  7. Darktable (Open source)
  8. RawTherapee (Open source)

To further clarify the differences between these programs, the following table compares essential features relevant to concert photography:

Software Price Platform Highlight Reel Adjustment Advanced Color Correction Noise Reduction
Adobe Lightroom Subscription-based Windows, macOS Yes Yes Yes
Adobe Photoshop Subscription-based Windows, macOS Yes Yes Yes
Affinity Photo One-time purchase Windows, macOS, iOS Yes Yes Yes
Skylum Luminar One-time purchase Windows, macOS Yes Yes Yes
Capture One Subscription-based or one-time purchase Windows, macOS Yes Yes Yes
GIMP Free (Open source) Windows, macOS, Linux No Yes Yes
Darktable Free (Open source) Windows, macOS, Linux Yes Yes Yes
RawTherapee Free (Open source) Windows, macOS, Linux Yes Yes Yes

In conclusion, choosing editing software for concert photos ultimately depends on your unique needs, preferences, and budget. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each option will help you make an informed decision on the best editing software for your concert photography journey.

Adjusting Exposure for Perfectly Lit Concert Photos

Proper exposure is crucial when capturing concert photographs, as it determines the image’s overall brightness and darkness. In live music settings, lighting conditions often fluctuate, resulting in exposure challenges. Editing concert images allows photographers to balance exposure levels, ensuring perfectly lit concert photos that resonate with viewers.

This section will delve into strategies for correcting underexposure and overexposure, while maintaining image quality. Furthermore, it will address specific techniques for managing shadows and highlights, along with brightness and contrast adjustments.

perfectly lit concert photographs

Working with Shadows and Highlights

Preserving details in both bright and dark areas of an image is critical, especially when dealing with stage lighting. This can be achieved by mastering the art of balancing shadows and highlights. Highlights refer to the brightest parts of the image, while shadows represent the darkest.

  1. Adjust the exposure of the image to brighten or darken it as needed
  2. Use the highlights slider to decrease the intensity of overly bright areas
  3. Adjust the shadows slider to reclaim details lost in darkness
  4. Utilize the histogram feature in your editing software to monitor adjustments and avoid clipping

By managing shadows and highlights effectively, photographers can preserve the details and subtleties within perfectly lit concert photographs.

The Role of Brightness and Contrast

Brightness and contrast adjustments play significant roles in enhancing the visual impact of concert photos. Brightness controls the overall lightness or darkness of the image, while contrast emphasizes the differences between light and dark tones. When manipulating these elements, photographers must avoid common pitfalls that can lead to unnatural-looking images.

Adjustment Tips
  • Adjust subtly to avoid overexposing the image
  • Use in combination with the exposure slider for more control
  • Experiment with selective brightness adjustments for localized changes
  • Start with small increments to retain image quality
  • Avoid overdoing it, as it can cause loss of detail
  • Use the curves or levels tool for more precise contrast control

By utilizing these tips for editing concert images, photographers can create perfectly lit concert photographs that maintain an authentic and visually appealing appearance.

Color Correction Techniques for Vibrant Images

In concert photography, color correction plays a vital role in maintaining the atmosphere and energy of the live event. While capturing images, cameras may not always account for the drastic change in light temperature caused by stage lighting. Color correction techniques for concert photos can help enhance the images, ensuring natural skin tones and accurate stage lighting colors. The following tips highlight essential methods to achieve vibrant concert image editing and concert photo color adjustments.

  1. White Balance: Adjusting the white balance is the first step to tackle color temperature variances. Modify it according to the lighting environment and experiment with different settings to find the most suitable appearance.
  2. Hue and Saturation: Alter the hue and saturation of your concert images to achieve vibrant and natural-looking photos. Adjusting these settings can affect skin tones and stage lighting, finding the right balance is crucial.
  3. Color Balance: The color balance tool helps you address color casts by precisely adjusting primary colors (red, green, and blue) that closely resemble the atmosphere of the concert.
  4. Selective Color: This powerful tool enables you to target specific colors in your concert photo and manipulate them without affecting the overall image. It is particularly useful for dealing with unwanted color casts in individual elements.
  5. Split Toning: Split toning allows you to apply color toning to both the highlights and shadows. This technique helps create a contrast in your images, emphasizing the visual appeal of your concert photos.

It is crucial to remember that each image may require a unique approach to color correction. Therefore, it is essential to assess the specific needs of your concert photographs and adjust your techniques accordingly. The table below summarizes the primary goals you should aim for when applying color correction techniques for vibrant concert images.

Goal Description Techniques
Accurate skin tones Natural and believable skin tones in your concert images. White balance, hue and saturation, selective color
Stage lighting colors Authentic and vivid stage lighting colors that resemble the true atmosphere of the concert. Color balance, hue and saturation
Contrast enhancement Enhance contrast in your images to make them visually appealing and emphasize specific elements. Split toning

Color correction techniques can significantly improve the appearance of your concert photos. With practice and careful consideration, you can create captivating, vibrant images that accurately represent the live music experience.

Sharpness and Clarity: Enhancing Concert Image Details

In concert photography, capturing sharp and clear images is key to conveying the energy and excitement of live performances. This section will discuss effective techniques for enhancing sharpness in concert photos and achieving clarity in concert image details without introducing unwanted noise.

enhancing sharpness in concert photos

Here are the tips and techniques to boost the sharpness and clarity in your concert photographs:

  1. Use the right equipment: A high-quality lens with fast autofocus capabilities and a camera with a good low-light performance will maximize image sharpness in challenging concert settings.
  2. Stabilize your shots: Utilize monopods, image stabilization, or higher shutter speeds to compensate for vibrations and camera shake, which can lead to blurred images.

Applying Sharpening Tools and Techniques

After capturing your photos, various post-processing techniques can help you further enhance the sharpness and clarity of your concert images. Use selective sharpening to draw attention to critical areas, such as an artist’s face or instrument details. Here is a practical workflow for applying sharpening in concert images:

  1. Zoom in: Zoom in to 100% on the image to get a clear view of the details that require sharpening.
  2. Adjust the sharpening parameters: In your chosen editing software, adjust the amount, radius, and threshold values to optimize overall sharpness.
  3. Mask off desired areas: Use layer masks to apply selective sharpening to specific areas within the image. For example, mask off the background to maintain a smooth bokeh effect while sharpening the subject.
  4. Check for noise: Make sure that excessive sharpening does not introduce noise into the image and adjust the settings to find a balance between sharpness and image quality.

Strategies for Minimizing Noise

While it is important to emphasize sharpness and clarity in concert photography, you should always be mindful of noise levels. Consider the following strategies to mitigate the introduction of noise when enhancing sharpness in concert photos:

  • Shoot at the lowest possible ISO: Reduce the ISO sensitivity to minimize noise in the captured images.
  • Use noise reduction tools: During post-processing, apply noise reduction tools with caution, as overuse can adversely affect image details.
  • Balance sharpening and noise reduction techniques: Strive for a balance between sharpening and noise reduction, ensuring that neither dominates the image.

In conclusion, employing appropriate techniques to enhance sharpness and clarity in concert image details is essential for capturing the essence of live music performances. By using the right equipment and applying smart post-processing techniques, you can create stunning, high-quality concert photos that truly stand out.

Cropping and Composition: Framing the Moment

When editing concert photos, cropping is an essential tool for enhancing the overall composition and removing any distracting elements. By refining the framing of the moments captured, photographers can concentrate on the subject, create balance, and tell a more powerful visual story. This section discusses techniques to effectively crop concert photos and make them more visually appealing.

Cropping concert photos can be fundamentally transformative, enabling photographers to direct the viewer’s attention to the most captivating part of the image. The key is striking the right balance – ensure that your cropping decisions enhance, rather than diminish, the story conveyed by the photo.

For more guidance on how to create dynamic and engaging compositions, we will delve into one of the most widely recognized compositional techniques in photography: the rule of thirds.

rule of thirds

Using the Rule of Thirds in Concert Photography

The rule of thirds is a fundamental principle of composition that can be applied to concert photography composition for visually striking results. This technique involves dividing an image into nine equal parts by splitting it with two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines. The intersections of these lines, known as the points of interest, are where the viewer’s eyes are naturally drawn. Placing subjects or key elements along these lines or at the points of interest can make the image more aesthetically pleasing and engaging.

Here are a few tips for employing the rule of thirds in your concert photography:

  1. Position the artist, instrument, or other focal points at or near the points of interest.
  2. Align main horizontal elements, like the stage or horizon line, with one of the horizontal lines.
  3. Add visual balance by placing secondary subjects along the remaining lines or intersections.
  4. Keep in mind that the rule of thirds is a guideline, not an ironclad rule. Experiment and trust your artistic instincts when creating compositions.

Remember, the ultimate goal in framing concert moments is to tell a compelling visual story. By effectively cropping images and applying the rule of thirds to your concert photography, you can elevate your work and engage your viewers with powerful and captivating images.

Reducing Noise in Low Light Concert Images

Minimizing digital noise is a common challenge in concert photography due to the typically low lighting conditions. Achieving a balance between noise reduction and preserving image detail can be a delicate process. This section will cover techniques for reducing noise in low light concert photos, discussing both in-camera practices and post-processing methods.

reducing noise in low light concert photos

  1. Use a camera with a larger sensor: Cameras with larger sensors tend to produce less noise at higher ISO settings.
  2. Shoot RAW: RAW files give you more control over noise reduction and image quality during post-processing.
  3. Opt for the lowest possible ISO: Lower ISO settings generate less noise, but this may also reduce the camera’s ability to capture enough light; experiment to find the best setting.
  4. Use a fast lens: A lens with a wider aperture allows more light to reach the sensor, allowing for a lower ISO and less noise.
  5. Underexpose slightly: If necessary, slightly underexpose your photos in-camera and adjust the exposure during post-processing to minimize noise.

Post-Processing Methods

Software Noise Reduction Tool Benefits
Adobe Lightroom Noise Reduction Slider Adjust the Luminance slider to reduce digital noise while maintaining image detail; use the Color slider to eliminate color noise.
Adobe Photoshop Reduce Noise Filter Offers a range of controls, such as Strength, Preserve Details, and Reduce Color Noise, to fine-tune noise reduction.
Topaz DeNoise AI AI-Powered Noise Reduction Utilizes artificial intelligence to analyze and identify noise patterns, effectively reducing noise while retaining detail.

Keep in mind that aggressive noise reduction can lead to a loss of image detail, which could make your concert photos look overly smooth or artificial. When using any of these post-processing methods, it’s crucial to strike a balance between reducing noise in low light concert photos and maintaining image quality. To achieve this, apply noise reduction conservatively, focusing on areas where noise is most evident while preserving details such as facial features and instruments.

Dynamic Editing: Bringing Concert Photos to Life

Dynamic editing for concert photos is essential to showcase the energy and emotion of the performance. By incorporating advanced techniques, you can take your concert photos to the next level and create a striking visual narrative. In this section, we will explore some powerful editing techniques that can bring your concert photos to life and enhance their visual impact.

Selective Focus is a useful technique to draw attention towards the main subject and create depth in your images. In concert photography, selective focus can emphasize the lead singer, instrumentalists, or other essential elements, reflecting the atmosphere of the event. You can achieve selective focus by using a shallow depth of field while shooting, and later, adjusting the sharpness and clarity of your subject during post-processing.

Radial Filters enable you to apply local adjustments to specific areas of your image in a circular or elliptical pattern. This tool is perfect for adding natural-looking vignettes and balancing the exposure, color, and sharpness around your subject. By using radial filters, you can create a focal point in your concert photos and draw the viewer’s eye to the most impactful elements.

Dodging and Burning is a classic technique used to manipulate the luminosity of an image selectively. The dodging process lightens specific areas of a photograph, whereas burning darkens them. By applying these techniques to your concert images, you can control the shadows, highlights, and mid-tones, ultimately shaping the viewer’s perception and enhancing the image’s depth and dynamic range.

Technique Description Benefits
Selective Focus Emphasizing the main subject by using a shallow depth of field and adjusting sharpness. Draws attention towards the key elements, creates depth in the image.
Radial Filters Applying local adjustments to specific areas in a circular or elliptical pattern. Creates natural-looking vignettes, enhances the focal point in concert photos.
Dodging and Burning Manipulating image luminosity by lightening (dodging) and darkening (burning) specific areas. Controls shadows and highlights, enhances depth and dynamic range.

By combining the dynamic editing techniques mentioned above, you can create concert photos that tell a compelling story and captivate your audience. Going beyond basic edits and exploring these advanced methods will give your images a sense of motion and energy, creating a lasting impression.

Applying Creative Effects to Emphasize Motion

Concert photography presents the unique opportunity to capture the raw energy and excitement of live performances creatively. One way to emphasize this dynamic motion is through the use of creative effects such as motion blur and zoom effects. This section will explore these techniques and provide insights on how to utilize them effectively to create striking and memorable concert images.

Utilizing Blur for Artistic Flair

Intentionally incorporating blur into concert photos can result in images that exude a sense of movement and intensity. There are several ways to achieve this effect, such as panning and using slow shutter speeds. Below, we discuss these techniques and how to implement them for artistic concert photography:

  1. Panning: This technique involves moving the camera in sync with the subject while using a slow shutter speed. By keeping the subject relatively sharp and the background blurred, you create a strong sense of movement. Experiment with different shutter speeds to find the ideal balance between motion blur and sharpness.
  2. Slow Shutter Speeds: Using slower shutter speeds while photographing a moving subject can create an artistic blur effect that evokes a sense of motion. To avoid camera shake, use a tripod or monopod, and try various shutter speeds to find the best results for your specific scene.

Another option for introducing creative blur into concert photographs is through the use of zoom effects:

  • Zoom Blur: By adjusting the focal length while using a slower shutter speed, you can achieve a unique zoom blur effect that adds depth and movement to the image. This technique works best when the artist is relatively still and the audience or background are in motion.
  • Radial Blur: Similar to zoom blur, radial blur adds a sense of motion to an image by blurring elements radially from a central point. This can be created in post-processing using software like Adobe Photoshop, which offers a radial blur filter for controlling the intensity and position of the effect.

Finally, remember that these creative effects should be used judiciously and with a purpose. Overuse can detract from the overall impact of your concert images. However, when executed thoughtfully, they can enhance your photographs and add an artistic touch that sets them apart in the world of concert photography.

The Importance of Backing up and Organizing Edited Photos

As a concert photographer, you invest significant time and effort into capturing perfect shots and editing them to create stunning visual narratives. However, all of your hard work could be compromised if you don’t have effective backup strategies in place to safeguard your edited concert photos. Implementing a robust backup system is necessary to protect your images from potential loss due to device failures, accidents, or malicious cyber threats.

There are a few storage options available to ensure the safety and longevity of your edited concert photographs. Firstly, cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or Adobe Creative Cloud provide secure and easily accessible online storage. These platforms often offer automated backup features and enable you to access your images from multiple devices wherever you have an internet connection.

Another option for safeguarding your work is to invest in external hard drives. These portable devices provide ample storage capacity and can be quickly connected to your computer for convenient file transfer. It’s a good idea to follow the 3-2-1 backup rule, which recommends having three copies of your data stored on two different storage types, with at least one copy stored off-site or remotely.

In addition to having a reliable backup strategy, it’s essential to create an organized and structured photo library to manage your vast collection of concert images efficiently. This not only helps you locate specific photos quickly but also streamlines your editing and post-processing workflow. Some best practices include:

  1. Using a consistent naming convention for your folders and files, which may include information such as the event name, date, and location.
  2. Creating a hierarchical folder structure based on categories most relevant to your concert photography, such as concert venues, artists, or musical genres.
  3. Utilizing metadata and tags to add context to your photos, making it easier to search and locate specific images within your library.
  4. Regularly reviewing and decluttering your photo library, deleting any duplicates, and archiving files that are outdated or no longer required.

By implementing solid backup strategies and organizing your edited concert photographs, you can ensure that your valuable work remains secure and easily accessible for years to come. Embrace best practices for concert photo editing and storage, and reap the rewards of an efficient, streamlined workflow.

Best Practices for Concert Photo Editing Workflow

A well-organized and efficient concert photography editing workflow can save time and ensure consistency across your images, enhancing their overall quality and storytelling power. Consider the following steps to establish a streamlined and effective post-processing routine.

  1. Import and organize your raw images, sorting them into folders for easy access.
  2. Review and select the best photos for editing, keeping in mind the desired narrative and impact of your concert images.
  3. Apply basic adjustments such as exposure, color balance, and sharpness to establish a strong foundation for further editing.
  4. Employ advanced techniques and creative effects to bring your images to life, conveying the energy and excitement of the live concert experience.
  5. Utilize batch processing to save time by applying edits to multiple photos at once.
  6. Export your final images in the appropriate file format and resolution for their intended use, whether for online sharing, print publication, or personal portfolios.

Batch processing can streamline your concert photo editing workflow by allowing you to apply consistent adjustments to several images simultaneously. This time-saving measure is particularly useful for photographers who need to manage a large volume of photos from concerts and other live events.

Batch Processing to Save Time

Batch processing enables photographers to edit multiple images at once by applying a specific set of adjustments uniformly across selected photos. This technique can save time and minimize the need for tedious, repetitive tasks such as exposure corrections and noise reduction during the editing process. To make the most of batch processing, follow these best practices:

  • Ensure that the images you select for batch processing have similar lighting conditions and color casts to guarantee consistent results.
  • Create and use presets in your editing software for commonly-used adjustments, allowing you to apply them with ease across multiple images.
  • Regularly review your edits, making note of any adjustments that need to be refined on an individual basis or fine-tuned to optimize image quality.
  • Resist the temptation to over-edit your photos during batch processing, which can lead to unnatural or unbalanced images. For more complex adjustments or artistic effects, work on individual photos as needed.

By implementing an efficient and consistent concert photo editing workflow, photographers can streamline their post-processing routine and produce high-quality, visually-engaging images that capture the essence of live concert performances. Embracing batch processing techniques and integrating best practices into your workflow can save time and help you refine your editing skills, resulting in a polished and captivating final product.


As we come to the end of our comprehensive guide on editing tips for concert photography, it’s clear that post-processing plays a significant role in the development of stunning visuals that truly embody the energy and emotion of live music events. Through mastering the art of concert photography post-processing and employing a variety of editing techniques, photographers can transform their raw images into captivating and engaging visual narratives that resonate with viewers.

From understanding the basics of concert photography editing to implementing advanced techniques for dynamic results, it is essential for photographers to develop a versatile skill set and a seamless workflow that caters to the unique challenges of concert photography. Armed with the right editing tools, creative effects, and best practices for backing up and organizing photos, photographers have the power to breathe life into their images and convey the true essence of a live concert.

In conclusion, the mastery of concert photography post-processing is an essential component in the pursuit of professional-quality concert images. Armed with the editing tips and best practices outlined in this guide, photographers can embrace the challenges presented by concert settings and capture captivating moments, ultimately sharing the magic of live music as extraordinary visual stories with their audience.


What are some common challenges when editing concert photos?

Concert photographers often struggle with varying lighting conditions, motion blur, and color casts. Effective editing techniques can help address these issues and create stunning concert images.

What are the best programs for concert photo editing?

The best editing software for concert photography depends on your workflow and artistic vision. Common choices include industry standards like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as free options like GIMP and darktable.

How can I achieve the perfect exposure in concert photos?

Adjusting exposure in concert photos involves compensating for difficult lighting environments. Strategies include effectively managing shadows and highlights, and manipulating brightness and contrast for visually appealing images.

How can I bring out the details and maintain clarity in my concert images?

Enhancing sharpness and clarity in concert photos can be achieved by using sharpening tools and applying selective sharpening to critical areas like an artist’s face or instrument details, without introducing noise.

How can I correct color imbalances in concert images?

Applying color correction techniques can help adjust color temperature variances due to stage lighting, resulting in vibrant but natural-looking skin tones and stage lighting effects.

How do I achieve effective composition in concert photography?

Effective composition can be achieved through cropping, framing the moment, and utilizing principles such as the Rule of Thirds to create dynamic and visually appealing concert images.

How can I reduce noise in low light concert photos?

To minimize digital noise in low light concert images, use in-camera settings when possible, and apply post-processing noise reduction techniques while preserving image detail.

What advanced editing techniques can bring my concert photos to life?

Dynamic editing techniques like selective focus, radial filters, and dodging and burning can add depth and energy to your concert images, creating more dramatic results.

How can I emphasize motion in my concert images?

Creative effects such as motion blur, zoom effects, and intentional use of blur can add a sense of action and intensity to your concert images, highlighting the energy of a live performance.

Is it essential to back up and organize my edited concert photos?

Backing up and organizing edited concert photos is crucial to safeguard your work. Implement a robust backup system using cloud services or external drives, and establish a structured system for organizing your photo library.

What are some best practices for an efficient concert photo editing workflow?

To establish an efficient concert photo editing workflow, organize your files, create a consistent post-processing routine, and save time by utilizing batch processing techniques for editing large volumes of concert images.

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