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Post-processing is an art form

by Greg Belfrage

One of the most controversial subjects among photographers is post-processing.  Some feel that photos should be presented 'out of camera' with little or no post-processing.  Others believe editing is important to present the image as it actually appeared to the naked eye.

Personally, I find it hard to accept the arguments against post-processing.  My own belief is that photography is art.   Photographers create artwork, just like painters or sculptors.  They simply work in a digital medium.

Most cameras today have advance processing features built directly into them.   I generally use a Canon Powershot SX500 IS.  The camera has a LIVE feature that allows me to adjust color (from dull to vivid) and brightness, as well as a setting that goes from 'cool' to 'warm'.  

Any photos taken with that setting fit the 'out of camera' definition because they have not been post-processed.  They've been highly processed within the camera while the photo was taken. However, the purists say the image shouldn't be edited after the photo has been downloaded out of the camera?  It's silly. The photo is already processed.  That's one reason I don't feel the arguments against post-processing have merit.

My view is that post-processing is as much an art-form as composition or point of view.  Editing can enhance or dramatically alter your images.  There are those who enjoy editing images to the point where they can no longer be recognized as photos.  I prefer a much softer touch and generally only edit my photos for color, contrast and sharpness.  Editing is simply another artistic choice made by the photographer.

The photo below, "Sunburst " , is a great example of how light editing can increase the impact of your images.  The contrast between the various colored clouds and streaking sunbeams really stands out.  I also made the colors a bit more vibrant.  The image may not be directly 'out of camera', but I feel it is a far better representation of the beauty that I witnessed than the original unprocessed photo.

Greg Belfrage is an amateur photographer in Sioux Falls, SD.  You can view more of his artwork at http://www.redbubble.com/people/dakotavistas  or follow his photos on Facebook.