Let’s try to think what the word associate with post-processing:
photoshop, photo-editing, photomanipulation
That’s what I can think of. But I think there’s more.
The common thought about those words is post-processing is changing a photo to look better. Like these photos for example:
And that criticism always associated with post-processing. That post-processing is a dirty or cheating way to make a photo look better. That those who edit their photo are not a real photographer. Maybe it sounds harsh, but even the word “photo editing” frequently associated with “cheating.”
But that is not true. For a simple reason, that post-processing always gonna happen. Whether you like it or not.
Photo Without Post-Processing. Really?
If you know someone who uses a digital camera and said that they never need to edit their photo, that means the person just never realize a simple fact. Every photo taken in JPEG format in a digital camera will always automatically enhance the quality of the photo. And so, post-processing.
For example, I take a photo of a waterfall in JPEG format. Camera this days gonna automatically render the photo, like increase the saturation, increase the contrast, enhance the sharpness, and so on. Everything that automatically done in camera is the same thing you gonna do if you wanna post-processing on the computer.
Don’t believe me? Why don’t you check it yourself. Take a photo in JPEG and RAW format, and look for the difference between those two. You’ll notice immediately the different quality.
The only way to take a photo without any post-processing is by taking the photo in RAW format.
The idea of a darkroom is usually the place to print a photo. But that’s not all.
In the old age when there is no computer, a darkroom is a place where photo editing happen. Increase contrast, increase clarity, retouching, etc. With the final step printing.
When I think about it, there’s no different with using a computer software to enhance the quality of a photo. The different is you don’t need an entire room, only a few meters chunk of metal (you know what I mean).
And so I called post-processing in a computer as a digital darkroom.
disclaimer: I’m not the one who create the term. I just heard it from somewhere, but forget where from.
There you have it. I previously said that many think that a great photographer is a photographer who doesn’t do post-processing.
I can say for certain, it’s just myth. Almost every professional photographer gonna said that post-processing is necessary. That they always take a photo in RAW format, put it in a computer, and edit it in any way they like.
Exception for a photojournalist. Since they have to take photos in JPEG format and aren’t allowed to edit their photos. Because of ethical duties.