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George

10 - Post Processing

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We've covered enough of the basics for anyone to start taking decent photos. However, this isn't the end of the adventure, but just the start. Once you grasp these basics and master them, there is so much more to explore, such as long exposures and tripod work, night photography, capturing motion blur, capturing fast action and sports, and, of course, post processing.

There is a lot of misinformation regarding post processing. Most of it began when film cameras began to be replaced with digital cameras. Film photographers frowned at the new digital stuff, and said it wasn't proper photography. Back in those days there was no such thing as computers and photoshop, so photographers had to get their shots right at the moment of capture or they would waste a lot of time and money developing rubbish photos. Capturing the perfect photo using a film camera was essential.

Although film cameras are now all but gone, unfortunately the insinuations levelled at digital camera users about not being proper photographers still linger. Back in the film days, capturing the perfect shot in camera was what photography was all about, but that just simply is no longer the case.

Another thing to consider is that digital cameras are computers, and they process RAW images using software inside the camera to turn them into usable images such as jpegs. To claim a digital photograph is 'pure' and straight out of the camera is nonsense, because the camera itself is a computer and that image was processed by software inside the camera. Every single jpg photograph taken by a digital camera has been photoshopped inside the camera, it has been post processed from a RAW image file.

Yes, things like composition and exposure still require skill, and they are still an art form, but post processing is most definitely a computerised process, whether done in camera or on a computer using software programmes.

Some digital cameras produce outstanding jpgs with gorgeous colours and contrasts, but those images are still produced by software inside the camera. Just about all professional photographers shoot RAW and process their images on their computers using sophisticated and expensive photography software programmes. Some journalists perhaps shoot jpg and send their images by satellite back to their editors, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Which route are you going to take? Which route should you take? Shoot jpgs and let your camera do the post processing? Or shoot RAW and learn to do your own post processing. There is no right or wrong answer to that. If your camera produces gorgeous jpgs, and you have no desire to work on photos on a computer, sure, shoot away and have fun, nothing wrong with that. If you think you might want to wrest control of your post processing away from your camera and do it yourself, then take a deep breath and dive into perhaps the most exhilarating and breathtaking photographic experience of all, the world of post processing.

This is a RAW image shot with a professional camera and an expensive lens.

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Here's what it looked like after I'd spent an amazing hour working on it myself. Sure, I could have just shot a jpg, but look at what I'd have been missing. Bringing photographs like this to life from RAW images is far more exhilarating than simply pressing a shutter button on a camera and cranking out a jpg.

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Choose your own destiny with your photography, but don't be fooled by all that old film rubbish about pure photos and photoshop being cheating, it is no such thing. Producing images like this with sophisticated software programmes rather than relying on your camera to do your post processing for you is the stuff of dreams.

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