Beginner Post Prod or not?

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Chris
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As a convertee from film to digital my ethos is to shoot for the image but I quite often see threads and images that have post production mentioned or discussed etc.
I appreciate that some images are beyond whatever is achievable in post production but what are other peoples thoughts? Should what you capture be the final image?
 
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Connor
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I think that no amount of editing can make a bad photo good, but the greatest of photographers have been editing their photos since cameras were invented from cropping to dodging and burning etc :)
 
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5,063
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Dave
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As a convertee from film to digital my ethos is to shoot for the image but I quite often see threads and images that have post production mentioned or discussed etc.
I appreciate that some images are beyond whatever is achievable in post production but what are other peoples thoughts? Should what you capture be the final image?
I suspect few great photos have ever been exactly as shot, the nearest to this would have been in the days of shooting slides rather than negatives

So if pretty much all the great photos had a skilled technician in the darkroom enhancing them, then of course that's what happens in the digital world too and PP is often seen as an essential part of the photographic process

You can of course set various processes in-camera though if you wish to maintain an element of 'purity', but its a fact that if you have a great photo in-camera its likely that it could be made more amazing will a little PP too

Your choice - nothing wrong with just shooting JPEGs and not processing them further than what the camera does. If you're enjoying what you produce that's all that matters - enjoy :)

Dave
 
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Lewis
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I try to get as much right in camera as possible - I would rather be out taking pictures than sat in front of Lightroom!

However on some shots, I know I am going to need some sort of post production. For example the shot below, I knew that I would need to do some exposure blending to capture both the star and the cross.

Hearsall Star
by Lewis Craik, on Flickr
 
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Dave
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I try to get as much right in camera as possible - I would rather be out taking pictures than sat in front of Lightroom!
I can't imagine many not agreeing with that, other than digital artists maybe creating their art at the computer but based on photos

I aim to enhance, not create, in my PP :)

Dave
 
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Rob
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Is some digital post production editing the same as film development techniques such as dodging and burning in the dark room? I’m sure Ansel Adams did some post processing in film days.

There is a point that shooting RAW and editing in Lightroom etc is just the same as the camera producing a jpeg as the camera is still applying processing to create the jpeg.

Like @DG Phototraining says post processing editing is enhancing an image (you can images but that’s totally different to altering a few sliders). You still have to capture it right in camera to be able to edit it. There’s a saying ‘you can polish a t**d!’. A bad image can’t be saved in post processing but a good image can be enhanced. There are digital technique used when capturing the imagine that allow the captured image to be enhanced in post editing. It’s just different tools/techniques/technology for different eras.

The whole post processing good/bad debate is like the manual v semi auto modes. Neither is wrong and each have their advantages/disadvantages. Just do whats right for you.
 
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5,379
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Dave
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As a convertee from film to digital my ethos is to shoot for the image but I quite often see threads and images that have post production mentioned or discussed etc.
I appreciate that some images are beyond whatever is achievable in post production but what are other peoples thoughts? Should what you capture be the final image?
If you shot slides or had prints made by machine then the digital equivalent is shooting jpeg. If you made darkroom prints then doing processing raw files (or jpegs) is the equivalent of that. Neither is right or wrong, better or worse. It depends how much control you like having over the final outcome, in both cases getting as close as possible 'in camera' makes sense.
 

StephenM

I know a Blithering Idiot
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Stephen
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Is some digital post production editing the same as film development techniques such as dodging and burning in the dark room? I’m sure Ansel Adams did some post processing in film days.
Yes, dodging, burning, spotting were done in the darkroom. As were correction of converging verticals, unsharp masking and a lot more besides.

Ansel Adams said that his prints were "a departure from reality" and noted that the results were different to what would have been expected by anyone standing next to him when he made the exposure. "Moonrise over Hernandez" is an easy to find example. And he retouched negatives before printing as well as the prints themselves, making adjustments at all stages of the process after negative development - which was itself determined by the subject and the effect he wanted. All a far cry from a fixed development time and a machine print.
 
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3,746
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droj
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There might be a spectrum of intent between being a casual snapshooter and a commited image-maker. If you were the latter, then you'd want as much control as possible to maximise your result. The mix is up to you.

Post-processing doesn't have to be the excercise of craft for its own sake, it is rather an integral part of the language and expression of photography.

The final test is what the image communicates, and how it does that.
 
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Chortes
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Chris
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Thanks for all your thoughts, I think that'll alleviate the pressure on me to get the perfect picture in camera, although I will try for the best image I can get.
Just to clarify, when I said I was a convertee from film, I used to shoot on film and then drop it into boots to get developed... :oops: :$:LOL:
 
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Alan
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Even if we do nothing some degree of engineering and manipulation is always present either from the people at Fuji or Ilford who made the film or chemicals that give a certain look or the people at Sony or Adobe who set at least a look to start from. I don't think it's really any different now to the film days. The base materials, technologies, tools and skill sets have changed and maybe that's all.

Cloning out the odd piece of rubbish or even people is acceptable to me but I've never dropped in a new sky or anything like that. If someone wants to take that artistic licence then who am I to say they shouldn't. I have and do change the colour balance and pick lenses that contribute to a look I like but back in the film days I may have picked a film that gave a certain look.

Thanks for all your thoughts, I think that'll alleviate the pressure on me to get the perfect picture in camera, although I will try for the best image I can get.
Just to clarify, when I said I was a convertee from film, I used to shoot on film and then drop it into boots to get developed... :oops: :$:LOL:
In that case you're accepting the look the film maker and the lab at Boots give you. There's nothing wrong in that. I just don't see any process that doesn't to some extent put it's own stamp on the final picture.
 
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4,907
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Ian
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Should what you capture be the final image?
I don't think you can use the works "should" when it comes to art - too many opinions!

So it's really down to your own personal preference. I despise editing on a computer. I also know photographers who just take photos of bits of things so that they can comp them into surreal collages later. For them, it's *all* about the PP and I love (and respect) their work just as much.

Lewis gives a good example above of seeing the final image (whilst out at the scene) and knowing the steps he'd have to go through to get it If that was me, I'd be looking to overexpose the film to get detail in the shadows, then try and retain detail in the highlights with short development. Two completely different processes to get to the same result - neither right or wrong - and presumbaly both enjoyable to each photographer. Then there'd be the third photographer that would use a grad and live with the niggles, and a fourth that would expose for the shadows or the highlights and let the rest fall where they may. Then photographer five would come along, take the shot on auto, go into Lightroom, lift all the shadows, and pull down all the highlights and be happy. None are "doing it wrong".

Ultimately though, everyone had to look up at that star and see the composition in the first place. Seeing the image is the beginning - using the tools (technical or creative) that you have available to realise your vision is the supplementary bit.
 
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Just remember When you post process a RAW file you are applying you idea of how the actual scene appeared to you.

When you accept the JPG direct from the camera as a faithful reproduction of the scene then you are accepting the post processing formula of someone you don't know, most likely in a different country, who has no idea where you are taking the photo or what the lighting conditions etc. were at the time so has guessed at what post processing might be the best for most of the photos you will take and has set that formula in the firmware of all of that particular model of camera hoping it more or less suits everyone.
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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I do as little PP as possible (whenever possible, zero PP!) but as much as necessary. Straightening horizons is a fairly common reason for me to open PSE, as is resizing. I leave extensive PP to those who enjoy it.
 
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Kenneth
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I'm also a recent convert (or rather returnee) from film and have been pondering the same. At the moment I'm just using Apples IPhoto which is quite limited but has allowed me to make some images better than their original "take" I think whatever you decide the discipline of your film days wil be a very good starting point. When I was first into photography I was a student on limited budget so every time I pressed the shutter I had to be fairly certain I was happy with the composition, shutter speed correct etc.
 
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Toni
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I used to use film when that was all that was available, and I'd say shooting slide is NOT like getting prints made at boots because slide film has distinct limits that can be used to control the final look - enprints were always down to machine settings, and uncontrollable.

For me, the RAW file is the starting point, and needs to contain the info required for the final image. Sometimes my RAWs just need levels tweaking, sometimes they need a lot more. The important thing is to produce starting images that can be made to do what you want.
 
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droj
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When I was first into photography I was a student on limited budget so every time I pressed the shutter I had to be fairly certain I was happy with the composition, shutter speed correct etc.
This is a very good discipline. And a good grounding to transfer to digital.
 
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Andy
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Richard
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Very few photographers will state that the photograph should remain as it was captured by the camera. Henri Cartier-Bresson was one of them and even he resorted to cropping when necessary (and admitted it). Any amount of post-processing is IMO legitimate as long as we are honest about our work and what it represents. The alteration of reality starts when you press the shutter but doesn't stop there.
 
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Studio488commercial

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Commercially 70%+ of what we do is in post production. Time and technology move on, CGI is are already taking over certain sectors of the photography market.

What you have to ask yourself is who cares, or even understands the concept of post production, I am talking about the general public, the people outside of the small photography world, if its for your own goals and assperation then go for it.
 
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This:
http://100photos.time.com/photos/henri-cartier-bresson-behind-gare-saint-lazare#photograph

is one of H. Cartier-Bresson's most famous photographs. It's post-processed (by his own admission). Notice it lacks the characteristic black lines around the edge which normally denote a 35mm uncropped image. So if HCB finds it ok, it's ok in my book too.
You can also see the tops of the buildings have been burned in a little compared with whats underneath - TBH I expect the image as presented there is far from being a straight print.
 
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3,746
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droj
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Should what you capture be the final image?
There's no 'should' about it - it can be, and that's all.

There's no overriding rule.

To repeat - The final test is what the image communicates, and how it does that.
 

EJB

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Ted
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Please excuse my interjection...didn't want to start a new repetitive thread.
Returned to SLR...now dSLR after bridge camera for many years.....SLRs before that.
Only concern is I want to shoot only RAW...if uploaded to PC as a JPEG will it be a poorer image than if shot as a JPEG....I only intend to manipulate a few images....but retain most of them?
 
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droj
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Could you rephrase that last sentence so that we can understand it?
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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35,610
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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Please excuse my interjection...didn't want to start a new repetitive thread.
Returned to SLR...now dSLR after bridge camera for many years.....SLRs before that.
Only concern is I want to shoot only RAW...if uploaded to PC as a JPEG will it be a poorer image than if shot as a JPEG....I only intend to manipulate a few images....but retain most of them?

Shoot raw and Large Fine JPEG. The raw files will allow you the flexibility you want when manipulating and the JPEGs will give you a finished product that will be perfectly good enough for many of your needs.
 
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23,767
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Phil
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Please excuse my interjection...didn't want to start a new repetitive thread.
Returned to SLR...now dSLR after bridge camera for many years.....SLRs before that.
Only concern is I want to shoot only RAW...if uploaded to PC as a JPEG will it be a poorer image than if shot as a JPEG....I only intend to manipulate a few images....but retain most of them?
If you shoot only Raw, you’re downloading to the PC as Raw.

If you want mostly JPEGs, then your easy option is to shoot Raw + JPEG.
 
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1,935
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Martin
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"Manipulate" . Theres a term akin to "photoshop" when it comes to what certain people (mostly non photographers) think is done in post production, when in reality there is no manipulation at all, just basic processing.

Everything I shoot is post processed, but everything I shoot is also captured to the best it can be done in camera at that time. You can't photoshop a bad image good, but you can photoshop a good image bad.
 

EJB

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Ted
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Thanks Martin for your obviously wise comments.
 
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