Rely too Much on Post-Processing

Rely too Much on Post-Processing

Only rely on one thing give ignorant to another. This thing has been done in many of our life. It also works in photography. In this article, I want to share something that I have been thinking for a while now. One of a common mistake in photography, yet it’s not related to skill but our thought. When we rely too much on post-processing.

Rely too Much on Post-Processing

Imagine this in your situation. You’re an amateur photographer. Every day you try to improve to create better photography. Then realize that post-processing is an important factor in photography that you can’t ignore. So you learn how to use post-processing software, like photoshop or such. You understand how to use it or even master it now. Ever since then, every of your photography is post-processed. You see your photo looks better than before it was edited. Or is it?

Here where it becomes trickier. The idea of photography looks better mostly because you only compare it to the before-photo. Why don’t you try to compare your photo to other photography out there. You probably realize you’re photo just a better-shitty photo.

This is what I felt back then.

Take a look at these photos:

To create better color. I increase the saturation and detail. The problem is the composition is weird (the building on the left).
The color of the sky looks great. But this due to mistake created by ND filter that creates color cast. If you see closely the only thing focus in this photo is the sky.
Even though the composition is good. But the problem is that I oversaturated the color even though the photo was taken on golden hours. Also, the light beam on the far end of the photo is post-processing.

All of these photos are great. Until I realize it was not.

I rely too much on post-processing. I think I could fix the mistake I did in post-processing. In my mind, I thought,

“I can just make it great in post-processing.”

If that what your thinking, then keep dreaming. Once a bad photo, will always a bad photo. Why do you think pro take hundreds or even thousands of photo for a single photo session?

This happens a lot. When I see many photos on instagram, I can see many of them are a bad photo that has been post-processed to make look a bit better. Thinking that post-processing alone can make fix it.

What to do?

This kind of thinking must be remove from your mind. Understand what it takes to take a great shot. You even go back to basic. Take a photo in JPEG. Don’t use post-processing. Then ask for an opinion from others. Or you can compare your photo to another photo from another photographer. Then ask yourself, “Is mine better than her/his?”

Bias? Sure. But still better than just comparing to your own.

11 thoughts on “Rely too Much on Post-Processing

  1. In this day and age sadly enough saturated and sharpened photos win (meaning they get most likes on social media). It is up to the photographer to decide if that’s their priority or style.

    1. I feel you! And this is one of thing that really frustrated me every time I see Instagram. Some random shot with phone than retouched with snapseed (or any kind PP app for phone). And people think it some kind of award winning photo.

      And you’re right, in the end it up to the photographer to show that their photo is great and different than the rest of them.
      Thank you for sharing your opinion!!! 🙂

  2. I’m all for getting things right in the camera. afterwards, we can use post-processing to tweak a photo or be more creative, the choice is ours. I emphasis with what you are saying though, the trick to using post-processing is knowing how far to go….

    1. You got that right. For photographer I think it’s important to prioritize the photo itself, rather than post-processing. If the opposite happen, we begin ask, are you a photographer or graphic artist?
      Also it’s a good idea to think about how far to go. An interesting thought, I keep it in mind. Thank you!!! 🙂

  3. This one is really a very helpful post which contains some truths about the amateur photographer, i am of the same kind and have made some silly mistakes while processing, still am trying my level best to enrich my knowledge in this field.

  4. I now always shoot RAW + JPEG, why? Because camera manufactures spend time, money and research to improve the technology built into our cameras to help us take photos. We should capitalise on this when we can. JPEG’s make use of all the technology built into your camera. RAW images on the other hand, require you to re-interperate the image that you imagined or saw when taking your photo and to apply a number of RAW settings and effects to achieve a desired look when post processing your RAW files. I know the arguments for shooting RAW or JPEG and that’s a separate discussion to the topic here. 🙂

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