I have mentioned before that my primary goal is to get photos as close to what I want in camera before importing them onto the computer. I am not really a huge fan of post processing [aka: photo editing, photoshopping, etc.]. Although, it does seem that post processing is a necessary step between taking the photo and publishing the photos to their respective locations for viewing.
I was talking to the pastor at my church a few weeks ago. He asked me how things were going, and I mentioned what was going on with photography. While I was on that topic, I mentioned photo editing. I told him that I needed upgrades to be able to work on files from my camera. The analogy that I came up with went something like this: when I snap a photo on the camera, the file on the camera is like a negative; It still needs to be developed on the computer with software; Software has become somewhat like the dark room in the days of film. This made me think, well, even back in the days of film they still merged photo exposures together and burned and dodged areas to get the right exposure and unique photos. My goal is not necessarily to go crazy with making unrealistic photos, but rather to enhance the photo to make it closer to what I actually saw.
Granted that I am using a trial version of Adobe Creative Cloud as well as Adobe Lightroom 5 Beta, I am starting to enjoy the post processing portion of the photography process a little bit more! Last night, I attempted my first post processed High Dynamic Range [HDR] photo merge with a few Jpeg files. Of course, there is more data in the RAW files. Once I pull those off the camera, I will be working on HDR images for a while! I started attempting them in camera almost immediately after I purchased it. Some people have criticized HDR images as looking cartoonish and almost having too much detail that the photos look unrealistic. However, on the other side of the coin, that much detail can be observed by the naked eye at the scene and one exposure may not depict exactly what the eyes saw. There is a balancing point for how far to take post processing and I am am still on the side of less is more.
I have been making notes on photos that have some form of major post processing – other than the usual minor tweaks that most photos get. For example, I will label an HDR image with *HDR. I may make notes for other edits if they are beyond the typical checks. If there is no note, the photo is either straight off the camera or there was not any major post processing adjustment.
I am thankful for everyone that has been checking in. The feedback has been great! I am sure that with the learning curve with the camera and now the post processing, my photos will continue to improve.