Need for good, aesthetic and ethical Post-processing

Digital post-processing is an integral part of digital photography.

Original photograph

Original photograph

It is absolutely true that today taking photographs has become extremely easy. And this is a very good news because this means that there are millions of more photographers in the world today. It is also become very easy to quickly share your photographs. The widespread use of the social media also makes it very easy for almost every photographer to earn considerable amount of appreciation, and almost instantaneous gratification! This is an extremely heartening sequence of events for any budding photographer, though, it is certainly not a point where one stops. Unfortunately, even in the world of digital photography, the work of a photographer does not stop at merely clicking photographs. Going through the rigmarole of processes required for good, aesthetic and ethical post-processing is an absolutely inevitable part of the process of digital photography itself.

Often many enthusiasts mistake post-processing for “photo shopping”. It needs to be understood very clearly that Adobe Photoshop is an extremely powerful and versatile software that is expected to work in various capacities in the areas of digital graphics. Therefore, it offers the user a plathora of tools and utilities. As a matter of fact, the sheer number of tools and options presented in the interface of Adobe Photoshop appear to be daunting and intimidating to most of the new users.
The good news, however, is that most of these tools are really not required during ethical post-processing of digital photographs.

I have said this a number of times before, and in various forums, that for any serious photographer, every photograph taken is a work of art. It is a beautiful combination of visual and emotional aspects of the situation as well as of the individual. And exactly for this reason it becomes extremely important for every photographer to look at the art of post-processing with more serious attitude.

Post-processing is not about making your photographs look more colourful or more beautiful, but it is more about using the correct extent of enhancements to strengthen the story that the photographs brings out.

I am using this word “enhancement” because it directly points at two of the key terms used in the title of this article – aesthetic and ethical. Any change or correction applied to the photograph which alters the reality of the surrounding or the ambience is necessarily deviating from the ethics of photography. Having said that, this should not be mistaken with requirement of some extent of enhancement and enrichment to the photograph to make it become more aesthetic while still remaining true to the reality.

After Post-processing

After Post-processing

Let me give you a few basic reasons why post-processing is an absolute must.

Although the technology of digital image capturing has advanced phenomenally over the last decade, there still remains certain limitations to these gadgets. The ability to capture the available dynamic range still remains a substantial challenge. I do agree that there has been a great improvement in almost all digital cameras to capture greater and greater dynamic range, there still remains a large gap between the ability of human eye to see and perceive things and the extent to which camera can record it accurately. This perhaps is one of the most important reasons why photographs need certain amount of post-processing. When I say this, I am not taking into consideration some other elements in the very construct of a digital camera sensor, such as the /strong>use of a low pass filter, which induce certain imperfections in the captured image.

It is therefore, essential for every photographer to understand the impact of the type of camera used, the format in which the photograph is clicked, and the methods and tools used to the post-processing on the ultimate outcome.

It is also equally important for every photographer to remember the emotions and the feel of the ambience when the photograph was taken. This becomes your vital clue in determining the directions and extent of enhancement your photograph needs.

Don”t forget that it is your piece of art and you should do everything possible to make it say exactly what you want.

I have come across a lot of training material that speaks of “batch processing” of your photographs. Indeed it is a great convenience and also saves a lot of time. Somehow I do not tend to agree with this approach of trying to save your time and rushing through the process of post-processing. If you trust your creativity and if you believe that you have taken a good photograph, regardless as to how time-consuming and tedious it would be, a systematic and thorough post-processing is an absolute must.