Over on Digital Photography School there’s an article today called “How Post-Processing Helped Me Become a Better Photographer“. In it Neil Creek talks about how he sees post-processing as an essential step in “developing” your digital photos and how it has helped him learn to take better photos in the first place.
There’s always a debate raging about whether or not post-processing in something like Photoshop is cheating or not. As someone that used to develop film I know that many of the things you can do in Photoshop, such as burning in, dodging, spot removal and even, if you’re technical minded enough, manipulation of the image itself are all possible when printing a negative. As such I’m firmly on the side that its not cheating.
Based on the DPS article, and the before/after examples Neil shows, I thought I’d present below a before/after of one of my shots from my recent trip to Lebanon.
As you can see there’s quite a different between the before and after shot. Although in reality all I’ve done is to amend the white balance slightly to warm the image, burnt in on the sky (ideally I would have used a graduation ND filter but didn’t have it with me that day) and boosted the colours slightly. All things that are perfectly achievable in the darkroom.
And like Neil it does help me fine tune my craft. In this case remembering to bring my ND Grad filter, but also perhaps to watch the exposure a little (that said I always tend to expose to the right a little, as should you!). However ultimately it comes down to my own personal vision I had for the shot and if tweaking the image as I did above gets me closer to what I originally intended then I see no problem with this.
What do you think? Cheating or useful?