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The following post is from author of the Photo Nuts DPS ebook series Neil Creek. The third book in the series Photo Nuts & Post – A Guide to Post-Processing launched on dPS this week! If you have any post-processing questions for Neil, he would be happy to answer them on Google+ or Twitter.
Post-processing your digital photos is a controversial topic for some. The idea that you change and manipulate a photo after it’s been taken is seen by some as changing reality; creating something that’s ‘fake’. I disagree strongly with that idea for many reasons, but the reason I’m going to talk about here is that post-processing made me a better photographer. Not just that I think it made my photos look better, but actually helped me to become better at taking photos.
Getting your photos onto the computer and into an editing program gives you access to an instant feedback machine. You can learn a great deal about how to take photos by looking at those you have taken before:
After you’ve been processing your photos for a little while, some lessons about how digital photography works – and the limitations and strengths it has – will become more apparent to you. You can then keep these in mind when shooting and change your settings or shooting technique to avoid running into any problems and make the most of the format:
Creating images from the shooting perspective only is a bit tunnel-visioned. Once you free yourself from the metaphorical shackles of preserving some idea of ‘reality’, then you will open your mind to the creative possibilities of processing your photos. Not only that, but you will understand that you are the one in control of how real the photo looks, or how unreal. Your confidence will grow, and that will be reflected in your future work.
If you’ve been thinking that processing is an extra step you don’t have time for, you’re missing the point. It’s an extra opportunity to learn more, make better photos and become a better photographer. And to be quite honest, post-processing can be fun! Import your photo, sprinkle a bit of magic ‘post’ dust on a photo, and export something with much more life and impact.
Getting better photos is wonderful, but don’t underestimate the power that post-processing has to make you a better photographer.
Want to learn more about Post Production? Check out Neil’s new eBook – Photo Nuts & Post – A Guide to Post-Processing.