” Do you postprocess your photos ? “
And I say ” Yes ” and I am sure I get one of these reactions .
” Don’t you feel like you are cheating the viewer ? ”
” aaaaahhh, you post processed it , so it is not natural”
” These are false colors , I do not PP my photos ”
” Too much colors, I don’t like it ”
” I have seen this place, it is nowhere close to this ”
” THIS IS PHOTOSHOPPED!!”
” try to be natural, do not over process ”
” You should do HDR out of it ”
But this not at all surprising to me . I had the similar questions in my mind three years before when I took up photography as medium to satisfy my inner artist . I asked few such questions to my favorite photographers also. I got answers for those questions which make me read them again and again even today.
So if anybody asks me such questions I give answers promptly whenever time allows. Now it has been quite a long time giving such answers I compared my answers given in the beginning and most recent answers . I was really surprised how my own view on post processing changed over time!
here is my recent opinion on post processing. It might change over time also !
If you look in to t he definition of photography you realize that photography itself is not an art . It is a medium which has wide range of applications like art, journalism , science, commercial, military and many more . It is exactly like what water color painting means to art or typewriter means to literature.
I practice only art and journalism so now I can simply say all my art photos are processed and my journalism photos are corrected ( corrected means the basic exposure, contrast etc ). A very good guidelines on treatment of photos given in NatGeo’s reader images section here which I follow 90% of the time. Very rarely I remove elements but I don’t composite images. Though I do HDRIs very rarely I prefer natural looking HDRIs and never done plastic looking HDRIs .
A good example is if I want to say ” Hey look at this place , you should visit this place ” then I go with correcting the photograph and present it to the viewer . But if I want to say ” look at this place, you can make wonderful photographs here ” then automatically I get the freedom of post processing the photos and make it look more artistic. It is that simple. For me it is more important what I am trying to show my inner viewer through my photographs , my artistic vision or the reality itself ? This drives me deciding on what method and amount of post processing to choose.
Now there are debates all over the universe whether to use the postprocessing in reportage, photojournalism, print medias. There are debates whether long exposure photographs are real or not . Experts, geniuses, critics keep on argue on style and amount of post-processing. I say ” Do what you like to do. Do not do it for others.”
So here are some images that I want to discusssoem of the details on the method of post processing .Please note that the ” before ” image is a RAW file as I always shoot RAW and the right image is lightroom processed/corrected image.
One last thing is please do not treat this as statement or rule . These are just my humble thoughts and workflow at this point of time.