Capturing the mundane to create interesting stories


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Side Story :

A friend of mine was telling me that he likes my photos. I was flattered.

However, he also said that my photos look good because I post-processed them. It’s not going to be that interesting if I didn’t post-process it.

My response to that?

I said,

“Yes, you are right. My photos are going to be less interesting if I didn’t post-process them.”

He was surprised to hear my answer. He was quite sure that I will feel offended and I was going to defend myself.

Well, I didn’t feel offended… because I think he is right.

How about you? Do you post-process your photos? Will you feel offended if someone told you that your photos are good because you post-processed them?

*Tsukimino, Kanagawa, Japan


26 responses

  1. Totally. I can’t imagine not processing me shots. I generally clean up my images a little, but nothing drastic!

    July 5, 2011 at 20:44

    • What about the next question, Marco: will you feel offended if someone told you that your photos are good because you post-processed them?

      July 5, 2011 at 20:52

  2. I think that post-processing is important as it allows you to personalise your photographs, giving a certain amount of consistency for the viewer. On the other hand, post-processing will not turn a bad photo into a good one. So even if someone tells me they like the post-processing on one of my images, I know that they wouldn’t unless the photo itself had captured their attention ;-)

    Great shot of the stubborn dog btw :-)

    July 5, 2011 at 21:15

    • Thanks for the comment, Mike. I agree with you… so, there’s absolutely no reason to feel offended, right? :-)…

      The dog was really cute. They were walking when suddenly it stopped and refused to walk for 3 minutes. The first 2 minutes, the owner was patient enough to wait. But then she start dragging the dog away… :D…

      July 5, 2011 at 21:27

  3. A photographer recently told me: “People moan about, and condemn, post-processing of any form but at the same time believe B/W conversion, the biggest modification you can do to an image, is perfectly acceptable… The irony.” he then continued saying “The jpg/raw file looks like how the manufacturer wants it to look. Not how I saw the scene. At least in the film days, I had a choice.”

    July 5, 2011 at 21:21

    • Very interesting quote, Christakis. Thanks for sharing. I’m not quite agree with the last statement of the quote: … “The jpg/raw file looks like how the manufacturer wants it to look. Not how I saw the scene. At least in the film days, I had a choice.” … because in Digital, we also have choices, right? Like different picture controls for Nikon… etc

      By the way, so what is your stance on this post-processing thingie?

      July 5, 2011 at 21:44

      • While you do get a few controls for the jpgs in camera, these are limited (saturation, contrast etc). Canon for example, fails me on reds. As far as I’m aware there’s no easy way to control one colour channel only. Anw, I wasn’t going to argue with him.

        My views? PPing can make a hell of a difference to make a good picture perfect but I don’t post process as such, I just move a couple sliders at most :-) My excuse is: “I don’t know the tricks of the trade”, post processing is something I really do not enjoy doing, which is why I have yet to grasp the art. I tried to PP sometimes but it doesn’t feel right when I’m doing it, even when adding a small vignette. On the other hand, I enjoy looking at PPed images.

        July 5, 2011 at 22:15

        • Hahaha… well, as long as you are happy with your photos, then why change? I would say that what you feel is more important than what others think — unless you are a pro/paid photographer… your client’s thought is the most important thing… :D

          July 5, 2011 at 23:02

  4. I rarely post a photo without post-processing. And I see no reason for avoiding it. We all know a good photograph is “made”, it’s a combination of the opportunity of the moment with the photographer’s vision and some refinement after the click. And there’s no right or wrong. It’s art, it’s subjective and it is our own vision of something.
    Having that said, all types of production or non-production are still ok. It’s just a matter of personal taste and vision.

    I have a workflow set-up: all my photos go into Lightroom Catalog, receive metadata, under go a selection process and the ones I chose usually I adjust blacks, temperature and contrast. This is the basics for me since I shoot RAW and Auto WB most of the times. And I do crop a lot (especially if I caught something in the frame I don’t like of because I didn’t saw a certain composition that I can achieve by cropping something.

    So, if I get offended? No. It is still the result of my work. It would be really boring to get a good shot just only with the camera (even in manual), where some optical engineer decided all the processing rules for you and puts it on a chip, wouldn’t it be? :-)

    PS: About the shot, I would like it better if the dog was not centered but on one of the sweet spots of the rule of thirds. :) but nevertheless, it’s a great capture. :) If it was Pepper it was the other way around. Me trying to stop and she pulling me at full speed. :))))

    July 5, 2011 at 22:11

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Helder. Like you, I shoot RAW with Auto WB most of the time :D…

      About the photo, haha… I knew someone would make comment about that :D… I did try to put the dog at the sweet spots of rule of thirds, but was not happy with the end result — I would have to cut the hand. I try another method which is adding quite heavy vignette ‘pointing’ at the dog to emphasize the subject. I guess that wasn’t really successful, ya?

      Again, thanks for the comment :D…

      July 5, 2011 at 22:48

      • I wouldn’t say you were unsuccessful, I still like the picture. :) I saw that you made the focus on the dog but I though you changed the exposure around it. Now that you say it was vignetting it is even more clear to me the effect of focus on the dog. At the end it was a good option. I also wouldn’t like to cut the hand. :)

        July 5, 2011 at 23:22

        • Ah, okay… glad to hear that :D… thanks…

          July 5, 2011 at 23:29

    • Btw, Helder, you should learn to skate, and then let Pepper pull you at full speed :D…

      July 5, 2011 at 23:21

      • I have some roller blades and I can balance on top of them.. the problem is how to effectively break / stop without going against a wall, a person or a car. :))))

        July 5, 2011 at 23:25

        • Hahahahaha … you are right! I forgot about that detail… oh well, there goes another idea of eco-friendly mode of transportation…

          July 5, 2011 at 23:31

  5. Rifqi

    I might be offended if people think there’s nothing behind the image except for the post processing. However, post processing is an essential tool, kind of like a painter using different colours and techniques, so of course I agree that my photos looks better after I process them, it’s kind of the point :p

    July 5, 2011 at 22:17

    • I can relate to your point, Rifqi. I think they said that because they don’t really understand the essence of photography. If they do, they would know that PP is a tool of enhancement, not the raw material.

      Just like Mike C said: “On the other hand, post-processing will not turn a bad photo into a good one. So even if someone tells me they like the post-processing on one of my images, I know that they wouldn’t unless the photo itself had captured their attention ;-)”

      July 5, 2011 at 22:56

  6. some people say “photo with PP is not pure”. Well, first thing that comes to my mind is, I think these people don’t know how to do editing, so they say it to cover their weakness :-) just kidding, mate.

    IMHO, I think the composition is alright, because there is a pole on the right side that counter balance the whole picture. great photo as always. cheers.

    July 5, 2011 at 23:01

    • Hahaha… well, that’s a bit harsh :D…

      Thanks for the compliment. Yes, the pole helps a bit in ‘eliminating’ the empty space (negative space?). But I also agree with Helder in regards to rule of third. This composition was ‘awkward’ in the first place, I don’t think cropping can help to fix it. I should have moved a little to the left when I take the shot.

      Anyway, suggestions noted. Thank you very much…

      July 5, 2011 at 23:13

  7. Pingback: Bouquet-Head « MartosC, [Gm] – v2.0

  8. irene

    even and old timer famous journalists using analog camera post process their photos (watch “War Photograper”, a documentary of james nachtway). If you don’t want to post process your photo, you still have to use filters on your lenses or probably modifying the contrast / saturation setting on your digital camera, and still they’re called post processing too.

    July 7, 2011 at 12:15

    • So, basically, everyone post-processed their photo, despite that they don’t want to admit it … at least, they let the camera do the work for them :-)…

      I do want to post-process my photos. I have (almost) as much fun post processing as I’m clicking the shutter button :D.

      July 7, 2011 at 12:36

      • irene

        exactly. post-process, pre-process whatever you call em, it’s still modifying your original image. my advise, ignore them who still argues whether to process the images or not, they’re wayyyy behind :)

        July 7, 2011 at 21:48

        • Hahaha… ignorance is a bliss.

          Well, I’m always a fan of “to each, their own”. It’s okay to be different. If you are happy with the way you do things, good. I’m also happy with the way I’m doing things. Let’s leave it that way. There is no point of you forcing me to be you, nor me forcing you to be me.

          Ain’t that right, Irene? :D…

          July 7, 2011 at 21:59

      • irene

        but perhaps your friend’s initial intention is for you to work on your composition and not to criticize the post-process… i’d say don’t get offended, instead practice them as often as we could :)

        July 7, 2011 at 21:53

        • Composition, balancing exposure, etc… I still need to learn a lot of things, Rene… and practice, I certainly will :D…

          July 7, 2011 at 22:00

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