Post-Processing Paradigm

Uploaded 20 Aug 2010 — 2 favorites
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© Joshua Ball
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Photo Info
UploadedAugust 21, 2010
TakenAugust 15, 2010
Exposure1/25 sec at f/3.5
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length28 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

I made the conscious decision that I wasn’t going to edit this photo. This is a rather alien concept for me as I edit most all of my photographs, simply because I feel it helps me learn from my own mistakes. I think most photographers like myself who have only known the digital medium have similar mentalities. Post processing digital photographs often yields some amazing images. However, somewhere in that process, the beauty and rawness of the image can be diluted or washed out completely. As someone who loves contemporary techniques like HDR, I am coming to the conclusion that in order to truly understand photography, I have to learn how to shoot without relying on post processing. That said, other than a slight crop and the placement of a Ball Multimedia watermark, this image has not been edited in any way. I would love to increase the clarity, adjust the sharpness, add some fill lighting to the texture on the wood, boost the vibrance and maybe reduce a little noise. However, I have to ask myself if this would truly improve the image or would it unnecessarily alter it? At what point does digital editing make an image artificial?

There is a fine line between capturing an image and creating one. Certain adjustments enhance a photograph while others take away from its beauty. I am certainly guilty of doing the latter and I’m slowly trying to train myself to appreciate an image for what it is. That said, it is still important to note that post processing tools like Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture are immensely important. Digital photography would suffer without them and I plan on continuing my understanding of the programs and their applications, especially with my HDR work.

This image inherently reminds me of my own tendencies to over process photos, which I often do. I sometimes spend an hour on a photo, only to scrap the entire image and start all over again. This mirrors a lot of things in life. People tend to calculate, plan and analyze until their unsure of their own instincts. By the time we’re done weighing the options, comparing the variables and hypothesizing the results, we lose track of the importance of the issue itself. This is human nature; but so is instinctual action. Just like post processing in photography, there is a fine line between over-analyzing everything in our lives and simply trusting our instincts. I don’t pretend to know the proper balance between the two, but I certainly recognize and appreciate its existence.

2 responses

  • Erica Hines

    Erica Hines (Deleted) said (13 Sep 2010):

    Wow! Definitely some points to ponder in your above thoughts. Many of my photos are unprocessed simply because I just didn't want anything changed. Now, I find myself spending more time playing with my shots, but I love the reminder. I still find myself relying a lot on what I see through the lens. If I don't like it then I move things or adjust the camera setting or flip a switch on or off...etc. I love this photo though. It is definitely a favorite and I'm glad you didn't change anything. :-)

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