Photo processing or not?

I am no professional photographer. I have nor schooling or professional equipment. I know some of the basic techniques of composing a picture and taking photos I think. But I just love it.

God has created this absolutely amazing planet, and to catch some of it in a image is just a fantastic feeling.

Most of the pictures I have here on this blog are not edited, not at all. I just recently discovered the power of adjusting the image-colors, applying filters to it and so on. (see the last pictures)

But I was thinking, is this not some kind of cheating? I mean not to offense anyone, it’s just what crosses my mind about it.

Ok, if the image you make should be an artistic artwork, maybe by putting many images together, not meant to be looking real, is indeed something different.

But if its about taking landscape photographs. A highly edited picture is not anymore the result of your camera handling, but rather of your photoshop skills?

On the other side, a image never can really show how amazing the landscape really is. Its just a copy. Not the original.

And I think that by tweaking the colors you can give the original creator more credit, and highlight how amazing the scene was?

I have here an example. One afternoon I was on our tall bridge, I saw amazing huge clouds in the horizon, on the other side of the sea. Of course I took pictures of it. Here the best one.

Somehow boring, isn’t it? I mean, yes the clouds are huge, but it is simply not so breathtaking as it was.

So I tried the Windows own photo-editing tool, cropped the image, and this was the result:

Now it’s more like it was on the day. Of course the colors are not so natural, but I like it this way


I’d love to hear what you think about editing landscape pictures? When it’s considered cheating? Or can’t a images be “cheated” at all, and photo editing is important, even in the original image was not good at all?

(ps. the related articles have some good arguments about the matter, worth reading!)

3 thoughts on “Photo processing or not?

  1. My opinion is that post-processing is the same as developing film.
    Everyone developed film in their way. People also used dodging and burning while developing film.

    If you take pictures in raw format the files are basically negative that needs to be developed. Unless the raw files are processed they will look extremely flat and soft. If you take pictures in jpeg the camera basically develops the raw data inside the camera and develops the jpeg for you according to the settings that you use in your camera (saturation, contrast, picture styles, etc).

    A lot of photographers tend to go too far to post process though. I basically split post-processing up in two entirely separate things:

    1. Image enhancement (developing)
    2. Image manipulation

    I feel that 1 is require if you shoot with raw, and also in certain scenarios on jpeg’s to make the image look like the scene that your own eyes saw. The sensors in our digital cameras are very limited compared to our eyes, so the camera can never reproduce the scene as we see it. We can however try to tweak the image to make it look more like the scene we saw. You also need to post-process to get black and white conversions.

    I do not care that much for 2 as I don’t feel like it has anything to do with photography. Blending several shots and taking things out and putting stuff in that never was there in the first place is like cheating. It’s fake. Why not paint the picture with a brush instead?

    • Børge, I agree point 2. does not have anything to do with photography, but who is to set the rules? Combinging two photos can be quite cool, and after all it’s about art, not copying the world. Just like painting – you could try to copy, or express something not so realistic. Photo and photoshop is yet another palette. (And a media that develops a bit quicker than an oil painting ;))

      When that’s said, I agree with amatulhafeez, I’m not sure about postprosessing photos. It depends on what you want to express – and depends on what you are creating that day.

      When it comes to my own work (mostly playing), I try not to change to much in the photos, only to try to bring forward what I saw at the time. It feels a bit like cheating if I do to much 🙂

      amatulhafeez: thanks for sharing your thoughts, and the links! I spent the morning surfing away from them, and found some great inspirational pics. If I get to it, I might share my thoughs at mindomin too later.

  2. Thank you both for your opinions!

    Mindomin, thats a good question, who set the rules! But from the artistic viewpoint, shouldn’t there be no rules at all? If you see the photography as art? On the other side, there are so many rules for photographing.. So much to learn…

    And your welcome, I am glad you found some inspiration! I would love to read your thoughts about it too, but I am afraid I do not understand much norwegian…

    I am not sure what photography is for me, I know only that I want to catch these wonderful moments of life…

    Børge, I agree that there are scenarios, that just do not come out as it was, when you shoot them, and post processing helps to save it like it was, I have learned now. Have experienced this often, so there are so many pictures from the last years which never made it to the blog simply because they were boring. But maybe by adjusting colors and contrast I can save them from becoming forgotten, wasted space on my harddisk…

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