How far is too far?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by abraxas, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Postprocessing- Do you have a line, and do you/how do you feel about crossing it?

    Do you think a shot should just go from your camera to a print, or do you load it up in PS and maybe while it's there fiddle with brightness and contrast? Do you stop at auto-adjust, or go whole-hog and do whatever it takes? Surreal? Replace skies? Insert clouds? Clone large areas or reshoot? HDR, overlay multiple exposures? Crop?

    What do you prefer in your shots? What do you like about others?

    Do you judge your quality by reaction to posting?

    Is it better you don't know?

    -Just wondering.
     
  2. auer1816

    auer1816 TPF Noob!

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    I ALWAYS do post processing on anything that I'm planning on showing anybody else, whether in print or digital. Each photo varies in the amount of processing based on what I'm going for.

    Anything I add to my stock archive (the good stuff) will be processed from the RAW file (sometimes with HDR). If it's just something for the family web site or my screensaver or whatever, I'll usually just work straight from the JPEG (I always shoot RAW+JPEG). After it's in PS, I'll usually do at least levels and curves adjustments. Clone out anything annoying and/or crop. Those are pretty much my minimums.

    Depending on the photo, I'll either convert to black & white, edit the LAB color mode curves, dodge & burn, play with some masks, do more curves adjustments, and probably a few other things. At the end, (especially for the good photos) I'll apply some amount of sharpening if the image calls for it.

    So basically, I don't have a line when it comes to the stuff I really like -- I've spent whole days on just one photo. For the not-so-important things, I usually don't spend more than 5 minutes per photo.
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    There are rules that need to be followed for photojournalism and evidence photography. If a photo contest has rules about manipulation I think they should be followed. But for what I do there are no rules or limits, except as dictated by my skills, imagination, eyes, and gut feeling. Some photos aren't manipulated much after the exposure, some are.
     
  4. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    On this end I try and keep my photoshop time to a minimum. Especially in my commercial and editorial work. My personal work gets adjustment layers in curves and colour balance. Always unsharp mask. I have been trying not to crop my photos in post processing for many years now. I am getting better...

    Seeing photos with selective colouring and "cool" filters used to bring me down. Now I am like; do as you feel and never follow.

    Only rule in post processing with photoshop is do not click auto adjust.
     
  5. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    I will try to make this short and sweet - but everyone has their own styles. Some will do 100% photography, others 50% photography and 50% photoshop, and still other 99% photoshop and 1% photography. Where the line is cut between photography and actual digital images I don't quite know.

    I personally prefer less photoshop - though I am aware of the fact that certain adjustments need to be made out of the camera (especially when shooting in say RAW). I enjoy hearing other's opinions on this one actually.
     
  6. OregonAmy

    OregonAmy TPF Noob!

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    I really don't like most of the changes outside of brightness, contrast, and cropping. Things like blurring edges or creating motion blurs (pardon my n00b terminology!) - it seems like cheating to me, I dunno.

    But then I think to myself that maybe I'm actually limiting myself and what I can do with my photos if I don't explore textures and layers and so forth.
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    The line between post-processing and photography was drawn early in the 20th century when photo labs popped up in every corner drugstore. Before then photography was a process that included the exposure and all the processing and printing that followed (and before that it included making your own materials). Once it became possible to drop exposed film off for others to do the work behind closed doors, somehow photography became pushing the shutter button.

    For 6+ decades the entire photo processing industry has been streamlining for automatic, mechanized processing. Everyone's film gets developed and printed the same way at the lab. Few people bother to learn to do it for themselves, which offers much more choice and creative potential.

    If anyone has any doubts that extensive manipulations and editing have been going on long before Adobe Photoshop version 1.0, read through Ansel Adam's books: The Camera, The Negative, and The Print. If Photoshop isn't photography, then neither is the darkroom.

    In my not-so-humble opinion, people doing their own post-processing (digital, film, or other) are doing more of what I consider "real" photography to be. Dropping un-processed exposures off at the lab is for people who want to take pictures, but aren't seriously into photography.

    Then again, I don't really care how anyone else labels my work. Photography? Painting? Drawing? I don't enjoy doing it because I'm a photographer. I'm a photographer because I enjoy doing it. Labels do nothing to improve my work.
     
  8. auer1816

    auer1816 TPF Noob!

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    I'm with you 100%. ANYTHING that comes out of a digital camera or off of a piece of film can benefit from postprocessing -- some more than others.

    Not editing your photos to look their best is like going to a job interview without looking in the mirror first. Adjust your tie, fix your hair, make sure you don't have stuff stuck in your teeth, etc. Really, when you put a photo on the web or send somebody a print, it's a job interview for your photo.
     
  9. Funky

    Funky TPF Noob!

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    I try to limit my photo shop time, i mean it almost takes some of the skill out of taking a picture when all you have to think about when your taking it is the subject and not color and texture. and in my opionion selective coloring looks like something from the 80's i just plain dislike it.
     
  10. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I just posted on another thread about inspirational photographers a quote referring to W. Eugene Smith who was legendary for the amount of thime he spent in the darkroom to get a photograph the way he wanted
    a quote I also posted on the other thread from the site

    "One print from the famous series on Albert Schweitzer required over five days to produce to Smith's satisfaction."

    Spending alot of time on an image in post processing does not mean you shot it wrong it is just a way to expand your creativity. Also when someone unskilled uses too much editing it shows so it is not just an easy way for a person to make a bad photo good. I think it takes as much skill to post-process a photo well as it takes to shoot that photo if not more and this is coming from someone with zero photoshop skills.
     
  11. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I see some incredible post-processing skills displayed on this forum. Makes me want to do it. I get quite a few stinkers, but then I get a few that turn out pretty good. Sometimes a bad shot is just a bad shot. I think sometimes a good shot can be made much better by trying different things and giving ourselves a little push.
     
  12. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, I have come to the point where I would no longer show any straight-from-the-camera photo to anyone, any photo I do show or share (be it on here or between family members and/or friends) will have spent its time in Photoshop with me. Sometimes it is only a matter of seconds: levels shadows, levels highlights, USM, done, saved under a new name. Or that plus a slight cropping. I leave the originals as they are. Who knows, later I might no longer like my first edit and would wish to do something new and different with the same photo, so I can resort to the original much rather than to any already edited version.

    Some have been problematic upon taking them (light situations) and I have to do more than just some general shifting the levels to bring out the contrasts more.

    But so far I have never spent a day on just one photo.
    I fear I might lack the imagination, creativity, art to be wanting to do so.

    What I do know is that photos gone wrong don't get miraculously right by applying Photoshop (or anything similar to that). The starting point for PS work should already be a well-exposed, well planned photo, I think. But after that, why not work on it more?

    I did a bit of playing around when the software was new to me, and tried all sorts of things - still do that sometimes - like changing the colours or going for a solarisation effect or something like that. I do that for fun. But not to increase the "quality". Playing with inversions, filters, and all this is for fun (my fun). I am only now detecting all there is in "Layers" (still feel like diving through mud there :oops: ), so I do some playing. But that is for me to become more and more familiar with the software and its possibilities, but not to enhance my photos ;).
     

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