How much processing is too much?

Started 8 months ago | Discussions thread
OP Stan in NH Contributing Member • Posts: 747
Re: How much processing is too much?

photonius wrote:

Stan in NH wrote:

I'm asking this because I'm starting to doubt my own judgement in what constitutes "good" post processing, as opposed to what is just over done.

I shoot mainly raw and even with that, often find very mild processing is all I need to wind up with a pleasing finished image. Even with out of camera jpegs, I keep in-camera processing dialed back and often do some additional tweaking on my computer. Lately, I'm seeing an awful lot of images on various photo forums, Instagram, and Facebook that are hard for me to even look at. Maybe it's just me, but glowing green grass and neon colored flowers just seem wrong. Sharpening done to the point of creating easily visible artifacts is jarring to me. I often crop to some degree, but never to the point of introducing pixelation or a gross reduction in clarity, yet I see shots all over that have been ruined.

For me, having the ability to manipulate an image doesn't necessarily mean you have to use every conceivable option you have ... and then to the maximum degree. I admit, I am very conservative and started my photography hobby many years ago with a Brownie Hawkeye camera. Things have changed, but a good photograph is still a good photograph. I wonder if I've just become too conservative and am just being too jaundiced. What is acceptable and what is not? It's getting to the point that I don't really know any more. I see people praising photos that make me grimace, so maybe it's just me. A friend is a good photographer, and has done quite a bit of professional work. Many of her pictures are so over-saturated that I find them objectionable but, of course, I've never said anything. Recently another photographer friend commented on how he hated what she was doing to otherwise beautiful pictures, making them look garish and unnatural. So, maybe it's not only me.

I wonder what others think about what the real goal of post processing should be. For me, it's about improving the composition if needed, and adjusting various parameters to achieve a more pleasing and natural look. I'd like to hear what others think ... I'll try to keep an open mind even though I may feel the impulse to close my eyes.

Somehow I think the younger generation is "oversaturated" with working on computer screens. Computer graphics, CGI images, pure RGB values, TV shows whose style is oversaturated lighting (CSI, 3D movies), P&S/phone cameras that oversharpen and oversaturate. They seem to think this is real and this is how it has to look.

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*** Life is short, time to zoom in *** ©

You may be right.  Even here, I see so many otherwise beautiful shots ruined by gross oversaturation of colors and unnatural levels of sharpening.  I really have a hard time understanding this.  And yes, I do plenty of post processing myself, but I try to enhance my pictures and wind up with a pleasing final product.  I guess ones definition of "pleasing" is where this can get very subjective.

 Stan in NH's gear list:Stan in NH's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P900 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V Canon EOS 80D
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