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pre vs post processing in photography

In photography-tips, Post Processing by Bob Wild

graffiti on rocks

pre vs. post processing

The importance of resolution over craft is one of the most important shifts in art making besides the creation of Photoshop.Andrew Durbin

When is much, “too much” regarding photo correction or as the title states pre vs. post-processing? Notice I wrote photo correction! Most photographers have the ability to correct their images or manipulate them as they see fit, we all have access to a computer. But do we need to draw a line in the sand?
Heck no – take a look at the masters that came before us, Adam Ansel, he spent hours in the darkroom dodging and burning. Was he cheating?
Another good example that’s a little over the top, but often forgotten, Jerry Uelsmann, Jerry used up to 7 developers to create his images, spending, I bet, days in the darkroom working on getting the image just perfect….
Magazines have been manipulating images for year/decades do we cancel our subscription to the magazine, NOT!
Another topic I love to talk about, often forgotten, is pre-production, yup! Even before you click the shutter. Back when everyone was shooting 35mm, was there a way to correct the exposure? Are filters not changing the way the camera is capturing the image, Do we not use polarizers, neutral density (ND), star filters? Even your choice of film was a decision you made affected the outcome of the image. When shooting black and white, I will often add an orange or a red filter. An old trick used by fashion photographers was to add vaseline to the bottom of the UV filter to blur the scene.
But wait! What about immediate after we click the button, and before we transfer the file from the camera. Have you considered what the camera does to our image? Most modern day cameras can do multiple exposures, pano’s, time laps, etc.. out of the box. Did you know that there are setting in your menu that allows you to modify the jpeg image? Yup, take a look you can adjust the camera to Neutral, Standard, Black & White, or any combination or custom mode you like.
Do we not purchase the camera because it’s not what we deem as a real picture?

Long lost gas station

In conclusion, The only time, I would use caution, if you are entering a photo contest, read the rule, follow the guidelines be respectful of what the contest owner want. I do remember a huff on the internet years back because someone removed a distraction from the photo, and the award was taken away.

The inspiration for this article goes to Ron Clifford, who asked the question to his sphere two cohorts in the Arcanum and Lars Olsson, who through an everyday conversation reminded me of how control of the picture was accomplished in the day of film.

What are your thought on “when is much, too much.”

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