A lot of people believe that post processing is cheating and using any software like Photoshop or Lightroom to manipulate the original image captured by the camera is fake.

However, often enough its due to ignorance because you may not know this but even in the film era there was post processing. I don’t refer to developing process that involve processing the negative and creating a print. I mean the processing of the image to enhance the final result using dodging and burning.

Dodging

Dodging is the process that decreased the exposure of a particular area during the the development process by blocking the light that hits the paper. As a result the area becomes Lighter/Brighter. Remember the process is negative to positive so the expected result is opposite.

Burning

Burning is opposite of dodging, and is the process where an area is exposed normally and then exposed again making the final developed print on the paper darker and darker. Again remember the process is negative to positive so the expected result is opposite.

Here is a simulated behaviour done in photoshop of course of what the result of dodging and burning would have been like in the darkroom days.

So there is nothing wrong with post processing, those who say that its cheating, are just plain ignorant.

Here are some of my top reasons why Post Processing is absolutely necessary:

  • Create the perfect image – Create the image envisioned by you as the photographer, invoke the mood and emotion that you desire in the final image not just what your camera captured.
  • Utilise Camera’s Potential – The camera’s today capture so much information that they record in a single photograph, if you don’t use it you are letting it go to waste.
  • Ease of Editing – Post processing is no longer a daunting process that requires a PHD in Photoshop. There are so many software out there that will let you process your images with ease and simplicity. Also, we have so much free online training accessible now that you can learn at your leisure.
  • So many adjustments – These post processing software provide us so many tools that let us adjust various components of an image like Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Saturation, Sharpness, Cloning and the list goes on.
  • Fix Mistakes – The most important of them all, it allows us to fix mistakes that you can make when pressing the shutter button. Well most mistakes can be fixed but not all, lets get that clear.
  • Remove Distractions – Remove distracting elements that may be fixed in the scene or impossible to frame out based on your vantage point.

So why should we not use these tools to create better image, it would be sin not to. Decide for yourself, see the images below they didn’t come straight out of the camera like this.

Ultimate HDR Preset Pack for Lightroom