To post-edit or not...

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by crazy_dragonlady, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. crazy_dragonlady

    crazy_dragonlady TPF Noob!

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    ... that is the question. ;)

    I want to start off by apologizing if this issue has been touched on here before as I haven't done a thorough search on this topic.

    Do you prefer photos that have been edited with some program like photoshop or Gimp? Or do you prefer to leave them "natural" as in no post-editing?

    Personally, I tend to leave my photos as they were taken. The only type of post-editing I do is alter the exposure/levels as I am still learning what settings look good.

    The reason I am asking this is due to my comments about a photo being shot down. The photo, in my opinion, had been retouched too much. So much so that the subject of the photo, which happens to be a portrait of a child, had pretty much no texture at all to the skin on certain areas of the face. Now whether this had to do completely with the editing that was done on the computer or not is not known as I haven't seen the original. To me, when I saw the photo, it looked "over-edited".

    Basically what I'm trying to say I guess is that editing to fix errors made by the photographer (ie: over or under exposure, white balance errors etc.) are ok but going much past that to "enhance" the original photo defeats the purpose of taking the photo. IMHO that isn't being a photographer, that's being a graphic artist.

    I thought this would be an interesting topic of discussion on here. Let's try to keep it clean! :sexywink:

    ttfn
    CDL.
     
  2. CanadianMe

    CanadianMe TPF Noob!

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    I was using Aperture 1.5 for my P&S and now for my DSLR. I try to keep any post shooting work to a minimum. I try and stay within what I used to do with film in a Dark Room. I am getting Aperture 2.0 Thursday. I am on a Mac and found I liked it more than Adobe Lightroom and I added a CS3 worflow action pack to Aperture. I have PS CS3 and find it overkill for the amount of post shooting work I do to my photos. Apple and Adobe offer a 30 trial of each software. I do graphic arts now and not why I got into photography, post shooting corrections is about all I do, anything more than that I really want to avoid with my photography. That is my desires, I think those who use PS are just different in photography philosophy than me, no better or worse, just have a different desire in the field.
     
  3. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, for once, these discussions have been going on in this manner ever since TPF has been around (I think - I myself wasn't around during its first 10 months of existence), which means you ought to find lots and lots of previous discussions on the matter in the "archives".

    Then I personally enjoy the fact that I now no longer need to rely on the presettings of a printing machine, which do the basic "one-setting-for-all" work to the prints of my photos, but that I now have the chance to actively take part in the creation of the photo I wanted to take. And sometimes I feel that despite my best effords to have my camera take it just like that, my camera can't. Because of its own technicalities, and their lackings. That is when I embrace Photoshop and say to myself, wow, how good I can work on the levels, saturation at times, the last tad of sharpness etc. in Photoshop.

    This is not to say that everyone who owns a post processing software of any kind may now easily become sloppy in his camera work since Photoshop is going to "fix it all" (miraculously even) later. You need to have taken a good photo to begin with to END with an "enhanced" photo, or one that is even more "yours" (like you envisioned it beforehand) than the straight-out-of-camera (SOOC) photo could ever be.

    As to portrait photos, on here I have seen members who are very much in favour of heavily processed photos, with I-don't-know-what-all done to the skin to exclude any kind of blemishes, and they argue that that is what the customer wants. A glamour photo, one that makes them EXTRA beautiful, more than they naturally are. But that is one standpoint a photographer can take. It is not mine. But I guess that in a world where more and more portrait photographers take the "glamour kind" of photos, you begin to EXPECT your own to be that "glamourous", too, maybe? Which creates a wider and wider market for that kind of heavily post processed portrait photography, so more and more photographers swing towards applying all sorts of layers to their clients' portraits until the skin gets almost "lost" underneath them.

    But I still cherish the CHANCE to become creative with my photos AFTER I have clicked the button, now that I photograph digitally (for most of the time) and have this chance to further work on them.
     
  4. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I my self prefer not to remove any thing that was there on scene regardless of the outcome, I have played with some levels adjustment and some color compensation but for the most part I will leve them as they came out of the camera. Take this one for example, Great view in my oppinion however the wire destroyes it completely, despite two comments directed at the wire in and of it self I did not and will not remove it Via cloning. I could and thought about croping it out but the results where even less appealing to me thus posted as you see it. By refusing to do this I am forcing my self to make certain these kind of things don't appear during composition if I expect or want an image to do well.

    Just my thoughts.
     
  5. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I keep my post processing basic. Although I am not above spending time on an image with further processing. For me post processing is an integral part of photography.

    Of course there is no correct answer here. Photographers have been manipulating their art since day one. Only thing that matters (as always) is that you are happy with the final print.

    Love & Bass
     
  6. Tasmaster

    Tasmaster TPF Noob!

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    Note: This post kind of evolved into something longer on its own, not sure if all of it is within the scope of the thread anymore... i only started with writing a brief reply, honest! Enjoy reading (and argueing)!



    So what's wrong with being a graphic artist if you produce good pictures?

    Likewise, if you produce bad pictures it doesn't matter how or why.


    As for editing being solely for "fixing errors" - well, it doesn't work like that. All images are edited. A completely unedited digital photo looks something like this:

    0100110110101110110010101011001010100101001

    only a lot longer.

    More accurately, your camera shoots RAW data. You can either edit that yourself and tweak the photo however you like, or tell the camera to edit it itself and just show you a jpeg. It is still editing, and you can get different results according to how you edit your pictures in your camera, just like you would edit in Photoshop.

    Drawing a distinction between various types of "editing" would make it all more clear:

    - Creative editing. You might call it graphic art, design, drawing, special effects, whatever. You are free to do anything you like - chances are that some guy on the internet won't like it. If you are getting paid by someone, make sure that they like it.

    - Good ole' photo processing. This is where you play around with stuff like contrast, brightness, saturation etc until the photo looks right to you. Your digital camera already processes your photos so that they look right to it, but you can reach a compromise or even take complete control. Film photographers risk(ed) their lives and marriages playing around with hazardous chemicals in order to achieve the ideal processing.

    - Bad editing. This is an amateur cranking up contrast and saturation on a portrait to 400% and thinking that he has a nice National Geographic cover. Note that if it looks good to you and you are happy, then it could be considered "creative editing", but National Geographic still won't publish it.


    Taste is subjective.

    Makes sense, doesn't it? Some people prefer a more natural look, some like highly processed pictures. They like different kind of processing. There is no such thing as "not editing". There is only editing done by you, and editing done by some random guy in a japanese factory - on your pictures, guessing what you had in mind when taking them. Either one can give great results, but the more involved you get, the more you will want to do the editing yourself, usually.

    Once you realise how it works, you will see how many creative options you really have at your disposal. You can use them or not, depending on your needs, but you should really have a complete idea of the process of taking a photo once you've been at it for a while.

    Even if your objective is to most accurately reproduce what you see with your own eyes, it will take some editing to accomplish, because the camera is not your eyes. Actually it will take a lot of editing. And color managing. And chosing the right paper. Omg this is so frustrating - better switch to B&W for a combined artistic/journalism effect. Mm... maybe a levels adjustment here... some curves editing there...

    Or, if you need to capture a haunting, otherworldly mood that would be really hard to reproduce, you can always use your camera phone:

    [​IMG]

    Did that work?
     
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  7. crazy_dragonlady

    crazy_dragonlady TPF Noob!

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    My take on the whole subject is just that, my take. Every one that has posted a reply to this thread so far has stated their opinion and that's what I wanted... opinions. Everyone has one, it's just come to the point in this messed up world that not everyone can freely express their true opinion on certain subjects without being shot down, flamed, yelled at, banned.. etc.

    I like being able to state my opinion and I like the fact that you, or anyone else, is free to disagree with my opinion! That's important to me as I'm sure it is to pretty much everyone here.

    Thanks to everyone who has so far replied. Please keep this topic going as I'd like to hear more opinions from other members here! :mrgreen:

    ttfn
    CDL.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I expect a certain level of quality and "look" to my pics. If I can get it without PPing, I will, but I doubt it. One thing that is happening is, the amount of time I spend PPing on each pick has dropped significantly vs when I started out. I could spend 2 hours on a pic... now its 20min if I am REALLY being picky, but more often than not, its under 1 min per picture.

    PPing I think will always be there for the simple reason that I shoot RAW and use auto WB, then touch up in PP... that and a little added sharpness never hurts since I do not sharpen in-camera (and RAWs are not sharpened on my D200 anyways, no matter what the settings).
     
  9. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    oh boy, another one of these threads....:roll:

    There is a fundamental problem with these few sentances. Its fine to say this if its merely a personal preferance i.e. I prefer ALL photography to be simple and with a minimal amount of editing.... but the common mistake it to blame the computer.
    I know its hard to accept for some people but editing heavily OR minipulating an image is NOT always because someone used too much photoshop... anyone with experience of the darkroom will tell you this as there are hundreds of darkroom techniques that can create different effects.

    Photoshop is merly a digital darkroom.... and should not be seen as something horribly unnatural.

    I do agree that now and then you see a horribly over worked image... thats a given... ;)

    '....are ok but going much past that to "enhance" the original photo defeats the purpose of taking the photo'

    This sentance in particular, again is cool to have your own opinion about, no prob, but really makes no sense to me. The purpose of me taking a photo is to display what i want the view to see regardless of how much editing is done.

    The best advice i would give anyone who is serious about modern photography is to learn as much about photoshop as possible... then if your vision for an image is to use levels and curves, then fine, however if you need to create a mood, you also have that capability. :wink:
     
  10. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    When I was a film photographer I shot 'chrome film most of the time. I still shoot 4x5 for some clients. Beautiful stuff for sure and I kind of miss it. Talk about getting it right in the camera...

    Love & Bass
     
  11. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am a "get it right in the camera" kind of person.

    I have opened PhotoShop exactly twice in 2008, and I have done about 2000 pictures so far this year.

    I do just a couple of things in post, and that's about it... and I do them in Capture NX and iPhoto of all things.

    I do remove dust with iPhoto in blue skies. I also crop (sometimes I just can't get close enough with my telephotos to get exactly the cropping I need, or I just can't get the camera turned in time during an action scene or when an animal is moving).

    Occasionally, a photo needs a bit of sharpening or I get bad purple fringing (the one main flaw with my beloved el-cheapo Tamron 70-300), and I fix that too.

    If I totally blow an exposure or miss the focus point, I just trash the photo.

    I also resize for the web with one or the other of those programs, so you all can see my work.

    I shoot JPEG with my D300 cranked up VIVID, because I LIKE vivid.

    The only two times I opened Photoshop (I have the original CS), were to work on somebody else's pictures.

    I find that I can do EVERYTHING I need to do except simple healing in Capture NX, so that is what I use. I love that program.

    Bottom line, my goal is to get it right in camera or simply miss the shot. Missed shots encourage me to get it right in camera.

    I've been shooting for 30 years, so there is no excuse for me when I don't other than I am simply not good enough... and if I fail often, it tells me what I have to work on to get better.
     
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  12. Tasmaster

    Tasmaster TPF Noob!

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    I must say i don't quite understand the "get it right in the camera" thing as related to processing. What else should you be aiming to? Getting it wrong in the camera? You (try to) get it right in the camera anyway, that's a given. If you decide to process for a different look & feel or not, it is unrelated to getting as good shot.
     

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