Should You Post-Process Your Images?

Should You Post-Process Your Images?

Should we post-process our images or not? Some people say it’s cheating, while some other say that it’s an integral part of creating an image so, who’s right? Keep reading to learn more.

Long Discussion

To post-process images or not is a never ending discussion among photographers. On one side, you have people who believe post-processing is an integral part of the photography creation process. On the other side you have the people who say the image should be created in-camera, without any sort of modification after the shot.

Is one side right and the other wrong? Not quite. As in many things in photography, the answer seems to be: it depends. Depending on the use of the image, post-processing may or may not be allowed.

The Line

I heard the following from Scott Kelby a couple of years ago and it makes a lot of sense to me: if you’re a photojournalist, you should show the world as you see it with your camera, so you shouldn’t re-touch your images.

Photojournalistic Image
Photojournalistic Image

If, on the other hand, you’re a visual artist, knock yourself out and re-touch at will!

Creative Image
Creative Image

How Much is Too Much?

Let’s say you’re a visual artist and want to re-touch your images. You start with a little bit of contrast, some exposure correction, tone curve adjustments, frequency separation, some vignette and, before you know it, the image looks completely different to the original and completely alien! 🙁

Overprocessed Image
Overprocessed Image

So, how much is too much post-processing? That depends too. What is your style? What do you want to achieve? If you do lifestyle photography with a more realistic look, you may only need to make adjustments to the color and exposure. If you’re a wedding photographer with a photojournalistic style, you may want to keep an eye on exposure and crop. But if you’re a fashion editorial photographer, you can do all sorts of adjustments. In any case, if people can point at your image and say “That’s photoshopped!”, you probably went too far.

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s no straight answer if post-processing is good or not. It all depends first, on usage and second, on style and desired results. Regardless of your style and the use of your images, I’d strongly suggest you learn at least the basics of image post-processing so you can determine when to do it and when not to, as well as keeping a good balance when post-processing.

Creative post-processing
Creative post-processing

I seriously hope you like this post and find it useful. If that is the case, please share it with your friends. If you think I missed something, please leave a comment bellow.

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