POST PROCESSING
One of those most debated subjects in photography today...
I see many many time in photo forums and social networks as to where some feel that any processing is wrong and the image should come straight out of the camera. Except maybe for an exposure compensation or color balance... but wait... are not those two fixes part of "processing" procedures? You sure didn't get the chance to change the color balance (after the fact) when shooting film.

Stop worrying about that stuff...
Unfortunately the photo world has a lot of experts and are always quick to mention some kind of critique. And this excludes those that actually post images and ask for a critique from the other photographers. In many instances, you will get a critique even if you don't ask for one!

In my many years of playing with cameras I have came to the acquaintance of many photography enthusiast and in particular two peeps I went on a "Photography Experience" with a couple weeks ago. One of them likes to present his work in really high contrast black & white and the other is a fan of super detailed, super saturated vivid HDR scenes.

In fact... the B&W camera buddy, Jacob Smith, was criticized recently for his work being "too high contrast". I respect and applaud Jacob as an artist since he presents his work as he likes it and not to conform to someone else's likes or standards.

And I am sure that camera buddy, John Jacobs, has heard of how his work is "too colorful" by other camera peeps. I like to look at Johns and other photographers work to see other styles and how they saw similar things I did but were presented entirely differently.

All I have to say is.. "They don't shoot this stuff to please someone else, they shoot to please themselves. Well, that is unless it's a wedding or something where the idea is to please the client.

In the arena of Fine Art Photography, I can safely say, that if your work is presented to "fit in" and look like 99% of the rest of the photographers out there... then you won't be selling very much. As I wrote about in an earlier issue about Having Your Own Style, you need to realize it is so very hard to sell "straight up' photography in the fine art sector. If it looks like something anyone with a camera can make, then you can pretty much count on it not selling very easily.

To be quite blunt about it... To me, if you feel the need to critique someones work aside from maybe a composition, or very wrong EV... are you saying that you really do like their work and because you think it is better than your own stuff or you are jealous that you can't process your images that way.

There are NO right or wrong rules in photography! Sure you can have the EV wrong or not sticking to the rule of thirds or any other so called rule of photography. But if you purposely present it that way because you want to, then your comments are not necessary.

I posted this scene from Cades Cove on a FaceBook photography page figuring on seeing a critique or comment that I had the composition wrong since the big tree is so close to being in the center.

Sure I am aware of that, and my comment would have been... "It doesn't matter, because every time I have printed this image so far, it has sold". So apparently it only matters to photographers that think there are rules to go by when it comes to artistic expression and presentation of their work.

There is a difference...
In a technically correct photograph and a photograph presented as art.
No matter how right or wrong my work may seem to fellow photographers, I get more pleasure out of someone spotting one of my pieces somewhere and knowing it was mine without seeing my signature, than them saying it's a good photograph but really couldn't tell you who's it was. An instance that has actually happened before and it really wouldn't matter to me if fellow camera peeps thought it was correct or not.

Straight From The Camera
Another comical phrase I have seen lately from photographers is that the image was straight from the camera, meaning they didn't run any post processing actions on the image. As if the color of the image was exactly as it was in person, but yet no doubt slightly more saturated than it was in person.

Why do you think the Velvia film by Fuji was so popular? Because it had some boosted saturation, and in fact even good old Kodachrome had some kick added to it. It simply makes images slightly more appealing and vivid, and people like that.

I do also have a tendency to not feel the desire for extra processing sometimes. As in this scene from a Corvette show I attended. I left virtually all of the images from this shoot just as they were exposed in the camera. As I recall the scene as pristine shiny Corvettes, and wanted to present them that way.

Not Saying Anything & Everything Is Great
It is possible that certain aspects of your work could have some technical difficulties. Possibly the composition or EV could be altered some and produce a yet better image. And I am all for it when a photographer ask for others input, then I would say it's fair game to comment and critique the piece as much as you want.

I personally shoot and present for how I saw it in my mind at that moment. Whether it was dreamy, colorful or any other particular attribute that fits the scene. I like to present the image as well as I remember it. While some like to photograph in order to "document moments in time" and feel not to process their images to something they felt was different. Key thing to remember is that we all don't see life the same way and shouldn't be expected to present our images all in the same way.


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