Some thoughts on Post Processing...

Started Jun 19, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Jim Radcliffe
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Some thoughts on Post Processing...
Jun 19, 2010

Every now and then I read a thread in this or another forum in which someone questions how much post work was done on an image or I read that someone is disappointed to discover that the photo they really like was not straight from the camera. For some reason some seem to believe that post-processing is a bad thing.... kind of like cheating on your wife.

I believe that post work is part of the process and always has been. Before digital there was plenty of post processing going on in "wet darkrooms" all over the world. Film was pushed, chemistry tweaked, various contrast papers, good old fashioned dodging and burning, special films, cross-processing and a ton of other tricks and secrets. Post processing is not something new to photography.

I suppose if one wishes to believe that the photographic process ends when the shutter is pressed and the capture is made, be it digital or film, that is one's right. An argument can be made that a photographic purist does not modify his shot in post but should consider all things prior to taking the shot.

I enjoy post work and consider it part of the photographic process but I am also just as happy when I get a shot straight from the camera that requires no post work at all.. but most of us know that kind of shot is the exception, not the rule but it is something we all strive for.. or should strive for.

Post work, carried to extremes begins to blur the boundary between photography and digital art. I have seen photos that were amazing due to the photographer's post skills and I have seen those that would have been better left alone.

Sometimes you under or over estimate the settings used, sometimes the gear does not posses the dynamic range or sensor sensitivity or the ISO setting is just too noisy.. and you just have to do a bit post work.

Post-processing is not a bad thing. It's not a new thing either. Many of our photography legends did their share in the darkrooms of yesterday.

Isn't it great that we don't have work under safe lights?

Just some thoughts in the early hours of another hot day in Texas... triple digits expected and I have to put on a suit to attend a wedding. I hate suits and I don't much care for weddings.. the high point will be watching the wedding photographer. I wonder if he'll post process his shots?

God, I sound like Andy Rooney.

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Jim Radcliffe
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