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08-24-2013, 08:43 AM   #1
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How many people use editing software?

I'm curious to know how many people edit their photos. I've heard people say that every photo needs some editing. I've also heard people say that editing is cheating and takes away from learning to take the proper exposure. Personally, I'm not a fan of editing--not because I think I'm a purist or anything, but mainly because I'm terrible at it! I do not own Lightroom or Photoshop. I have GIMP (because it was free--I'm on a budget). I am not very good with computers and operating software. GIMP isn't very easy to use, but it seems that I tinker with the photos too much and end up with an over processed piece of crap. After going through this frustration a few times, I now tend to just stay away from editing. I've heard that Lightroom is pretty user friendly. Is it worth the investment or should I keep trying to get the perfect exposure? Your opinions are appreciated.

08-24-2013, 08:50 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Knock Quote
I'm curious to know how many people edit their photos. I've heard people say that every photo needs some editing. I've also heard people say that editing is cheating and takes away from learning to take the proper exposure. Personally, I'm not a fan of editing--not because I think I'm a purist or anything, but mainly because I'm terrible at it! I do not own Lightroom or Photoshop. I have GIMP (because it was free--I'm on a budget). I am not very good with computers and operating software. GIMP isn't very easy to use, but it seems that I tinker with the photos too much and end up with an over processed piece of crap. After going through this frustration a few times, I now tend to just stay away from editing. I've heard that Lightroom is pretty user friendly. Is it worth the investment or should I keep trying to get the perfect exposure? Your opinions are appreciated.
I have been through this. I started calling the process "developing" instead of "editing" as I work only on RAW images using Lightroom (not Photoshop). Now, I see the difference of developing RAW images instead of simply accepting camera "developed" pictures. If you look at the camera's menu, there are many presets. I would still focus on my exposure but primarily composition becomes important aspect. I make sure that I am not too over exposing or under exposing so I can get all the detail in RAW.
08-24-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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I always edit my pictures, but usually just some small adjustments. But there are simpler software than the GIMP out there. I'm sure others have suggestions, but for basic editing Picasa or Faststone Image Viewer might suffice.

But yes, I think Lightroom is really good. It's what I use for most of my editing.

Edit: But editing will never be a substitute for correct exposure. Get your basics right no matter if you want to post process or not.
08-24-2013, 09:05 AM   #4
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Post Process or Not?

Hello Knock, Welcome to the Forum!
Yes, you need a post processing program, and I highly recommend Lightroom as a first choice. This question comes up often from new folks, many quoting the 'cheating' reference. Yeah, sure, Ansel Adams was cheating when he spent days in the darkroom dodging, burning and manipulating his prints, too.
Unless and until you find the one photo opportunity that has perfect light, subject, setting, colors, brightness, contrast, balance, content and every other condition, then time it right and find the exact lens, camera settings, angle, perspective, depth of field, composition, dynamic range, saturation, highlight/shadow detail, sharpness, clarity and value, you might have to PP a little.
Taking the photo is the first part of a 2-part process.
Don't skip the second part, based on ill-informed opinions.
Start with the best RAW capture you can make, then work on it. The less PP it needs, the better, but there's no shame or cheating in PP.
JMO,
Ron

08-24-2013, 09:10 AM   #5
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As already mentioned nearly everyone does a minimum of PP in computer afterwards.

If you want the cheapest one, you cannot dismiss the Pentax software: PDCU for K-7/K-5/K-5ii or Sylkpix Developer studio for K-01/K-30/K-50. Both are good also not always most user-friendly. I am now used to PDCU 4.40 and it can do some very nice things. Worth a try ...

Hope that the comment may help.
08-24-2013, 09:11 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Knock Quote
I'm curious to know how many people edit their photos. I've heard people say that every photo needs some editing. I've also heard people say that editing is cheating and takes away from learning to take the proper exposure. Personally, I'm not a fan of editing--not because I think I'm a purist or anything, but mainly because I'm terrible at it! I do not own Lightroom or Photoshop. I have GIMP (because it was free--I'm on a budget). I am not very good with computers and operating software. GIMP isn't very easy to use, but it seems that I tinker with the photos too much and end up with an over processed piece of crap. After going through this frustration a few times, I now tend to just stay away from editing. I've heard that Lightroom is pretty user friendly. Is it worth the investment or should I keep trying to get the perfect exposure? Your opinions are appreciated.
Show me one good photographer who doesn't edit....

Post processing is part of photography. People who don't post process are not getting the most out of their photos and for the most part, their photos could be better. I've seen maybe 5 of my images over the past 50,000 that didn't need post processing, and none of them were "winners". I've never posted an unprocessed image to the forum...

As to whether or not you are personally a person who would get anything out of post processing is another issue. Richard Avedon (one of the best photographers of the 20th century) had the same technician for most of his working career, he didn't work in the darkroom much, but he paid someone who was really good at it to do it. You can't assume that because you are a decent photographer you will also be good at PP, but if you don't you might want to find a technician you trust to do it for you, on your best images. Just getting something easy that has an "auto enhance" function will improve, 90% of your photos. At least try and do that much. Load the photo, press the "auto-enhance" button, see what you think. Even if you don't do any more than that, it's still worth giving it a look. If you don't like PP then Lightroom is probably overkill. You can do a lot with light room. There are many less comprehensive programs, probably some for free, that will allow you to do a little.

The idea of no post is total nonsense. Even in the old days with film, those bulk developing machine at your local mall analysed your negative and made decisions on how to best print it. There was post processing, just the ignorant didn't know it was happening. Every camera has a jpeg engine... if you shoot jpeg and don't post process, the camera actually dod some PP work for you. Look for a RAW un PPed image on the web, you won't find many.

Or do what this guy does....
How To Take Photos That Require No Post-Production

You'll notice it's a lot more work, for no noticeable benefit. Look at picture number 8 "Where's your focus" in the above article... how would that image not be improved by increasing the detail in the clothing in shadow in this image? You can read these kinds of things, but to most main stream photographers these guys are just kooks. Again in step 10, there's no detail in the woman's blouse. Fer god's sake dude, if you're going to promote no PP, at least show work where you were successful. Showing people that you can produce less satisfying results without PP, most of us already knew that. This guy doesn't know how bad his examples are... and most people who advocate no PP are in the same boat. His images simply aren't as good as he thinks they are.

Last edited by normhead; 08-24-2013 at 09:16 AM.
08-24-2013, 09:23 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Yeah, sure, Ansel Adams was cheating when he spent days in the darkroom dodging, burning and manipulating his prints, too.
LOL -- a very good comeback, I think!

Seriously, there are two sides to it, and one's personal philosophy does very much enter into it. But I personally use the GIMP on every digital image I decide is a true "keeper." I almost always kick up the contrast a little (just as I would with a print in the darkroom), and I may crop a little or do a little dodging/burning (again -- same as if it were a wet print). Other than that, I do not tend to do much editing because it exceeds my personal philosophy. I really hate the over-processing characterized by over-saturation, HDR (for HDR sake), etc., and I tend to evaluate stuff like that by asking the "Earth" question (e.g., "Does this sunset really look like anything I would ever see on earth?").

I would encourage the original poster to invest a few bucks on a used GIMP book; Beginning Gimp by Akkana Peck is a really terrific one and is available used on Amazon for less than $10. Don't be overwhelmed by the complexity of the GIMP (or whatever editing program you settle on); you are probably only going to typically use 5% or less of the program's features, so the learning curve really isn't as dreadful as it might seem.
08-24-2013, 09:34 AM   #8
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Some stuff just has to be correct at the time you take the shot. Focus has to be right. Composition should be right. The subject's exposure has to be at least good enough to work with. You might have a good reason to try to fix a shot where one of those went wrong, but it's a lot of work. It is definitely worth practicing to get those right in the camera.

If you are constantly raising exposure by one stop, maybe consider shooting with one stop of exposure compensation.

I think cropping, white balance, noise reduction, exposure adjustments, correcting lens flaws, erasing dust spots, etc. are fair game. Some of that was done in film days by the printer, not always with your opinion. Sure, you can go too far with any of it, but rotating a shot by a degree, changing white balance by 500K, reducing exposure by 0.25 stop and cloning out a dust spot, are just improving the shot.

Sometimes going too far is right for an image too. It has to be a subject that works. Grandma's portrait doesn't lend itself to HDR.

I think I moved the moon here because I couldn't stand in the exact position I wanted. That's about as far as I'll go.




08-24-2013, 09:39 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
IMGS7225 by just1moredave, on Flickr
So THAT'S how God gets the moon in place each night!
08-24-2013, 09:48 AM   #10
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Yes, I usually tweak most photos that I take. But I find I'm using raw far less often than I have in the past. Unless it's something particularly challenging, lately I've been tweaking contrast and exposure in iPhoto and leaving it at that. I try to buy cameras that offer excellent jog output (Pentax, Olympus, Fuji) and, further, I try to get the composition and exposure right in the field. I guess all of us try to get it right when we press the shutter button. When I do shoot raw, I use Aperture.
08-24-2013, 09:51 AM   #11
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If you're using a MAC iPhoto is pretty much a no brainer for people who don't like PP. 90% of your photos won't benefit from more than what iPhoto has to offer. For the last 10%, well those are often your best images, if you're going to obsess over an image until it's "perfect" you probably need something more, Aperture, Lightroom, whatever.
08-24-2013, 09:55 AM   #12
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Every digital image needs at least some processing, if only to correct the built-in softness endemic to the digital capture process by sharpening. Most serious digital photographers shoot RAW, which by definition MUST be processed to get an image from the data file. Even JPG shooters will tweak their images to straighten, sharpen, brighten, color correct and remove extraneous noise.

Nobody ever sees any of my images before I have done basic adjustments. For a well done image, that may only take 20 to 60 seconds. Any image that will require more than 10 minutes work had better be a real winner or it will simply be deleted rather than spend the time.
08-24-2013, 10:15 AM   #13
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While I've been creating digital imagery using software since 1987 (Digital Darkroom (B&W only) on a Mac SE30), and believe the 'editing-is-cheating' idea to be silly dogma. I also believe that it is perfectly acceptable to offload judgement to the camera and produce satisfactory jpegs. It really depends on your context of use and personal (and aesthetic) standards.

I enjoy taking my Q along on my motor scooter and taking snapshots of funky stuff I see along the way. Jpegs work well for that. OTOH, if I have an exhibition coming up, I'll spend too long getting each image to be perfect, and that's not counting presentation and framing.

M
08-24-2013, 10:50 AM   #14
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It's like asking, 20 years ago, "Does anyone develop their film or have it developed?"
08-24-2013, 11:47 AM   #15
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Pretty much essential for doing serious work.

I am partial to Adobe Lightroom for most tasks.


Steve
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