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Thread: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

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    epmi314's Avatar
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    Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    I have read a good deal online regarding this matter. There seems to be purists that favor less editing and others that take an image and alter it significantly to get one effect or another. Done well both are quite striking but the latter is often entirely different from the original.

    So what is photography or great photography? Can fine art be both? Is there a line that when crossed would make an image less of a photo and more a piece of artistic computer manipulation? When shooting in digital is it all effectively artistic computer manipulation?

    Obviously, the true answer to these questions is a personal one that exists only between the photographer/editor, the image/photo and the person viewing the image.

    Nonetheless, your thoughts and opinions are most welcomed...

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    Scott

    This one has been well aired in the past.

    "Photographers are, in a sense, composers and the negatives are their scores. ...In the electronic age, I am sure that scanning techniques will be developed to achieve prints of extraordinary subtlety from the original negative scores. If I could return in twenty years or so I would hope to see astounding interpretations of my most expressive images. It is true no one could print my negatives as I did, but they might well get more out of them by electronic means. Image quality is not the product of a machine, but of the person who directs the machine, and there are no limits to imagination and expression." - Ansel Adams

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    To me, there are two basic answers; depending on what you want to achieve.

    For a straight forward photo, get as much as possible correct at the time of shooting then just give it a little 'face lift' boost during editing.

    Alternatively, you can take a basic image and get creative with it. See the Post Processing Challenges The Post Processing Challenge #4

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    It also boils down to what you want to exhibit to the public. If you want to showcase raw, original work and have it judged as is then so be it. If you want the public to think that all of your work is original and not post processed, chances are a handful won't believe you anyway. So, at the end of the day just exhibit your work and if the requirement is to list your post processing then do it, otherwise exhibit your work without the need for a disclaimer.

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    For me it is what you capture in-camera that counts and nothing else.

    I don't think altering an image to make it appear better is wrong but you shouldn't need to if the image is great to start with.

    Capture the Moment

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    As a "real world" (part time) professional photographer, I can say (from my perspective) that it's highly desireable to get it as close to perfect as one can "in camera" and then optimise the image in post-processing later ... for at least 3 reasons ...

    1. When I shoot 400 to 800 frames of a model in my studio, I don't want to have to adjust 400 to 800 photos before we can make initial selects

    2. "Anything can be fixed in Photoshop" is pretty much a myth - I'd rather move a light 2 feet than try to fix poor lighting in Photoshop anyday

    3. If one DOES optimise the shot at the time of capture - but gets it wrong - it's more likely that you'll still have a big safety margin if you're shooting RAW - and you'll be able to recover the shot.

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    I am going to take exception to the absolute purist approach. No great portrait artist ever painted with just one brush, used only one glazing technique, painted from start to finish in one session, or just used one type of paint. Painters, illustrators, sculptors, and photographers use a variety of tools and techniques which at all times enhance the beauty of their subject. To say one should get it all in the camera and never touch photoshop would be to tell Ansel Adams to not dodge and burn, and dodge and burn he did and he used different chemicals and different papers, each in a combination which best suited his end vision.

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    I think that we might all agree....

    I think that most photographers will agree that Ansel Adams was a great photographer who produced some absolutely beautiful imagery. I consider his imagery "artistic" and I sincerely doubt that there will be many persons who will argue that it is not art.

    Many of us do realize that much of his success is due to his manipulation of the processing and the printing of his images.

    I have never read anyone state, "Yes his images are beautiful but, they are not great photographs because of the maniplation in the darkroom."

    Yet, some photographers cavalierly state that the post-production manipulation we do with our images in Photoshop and other image editing programs remove those images from being considered photographic art.

    I have worked for hours in front of an enlarger on a black and white print to bring out the best possible image (never meeting the standards of Ansel Adams of course) but, I don't consider those images anymore "artsy" than images which I have manipulated in Photoshop. I am just happy that Photoshop allows the level of control it does.

    It did, however, cost a lot of money to produce the utimate B&W print that I could.

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    For this discussion, I have to disregard the question of photography as art (or not) because for me that is an entirely separate realm. Scott asked, "What is photography or great photography?"

    In theory, one can make a compelling case for any process, but if it's only in theory all they are doing is arguing, and the participants won't even agree who wins.

    Exit the theoretical and enter a modern-day gallery that displays photographs for sale (not taken by the seller). If a customer asks to examine only those that were not digitally manipulated, I wonder how many sellers could accommodate them. Not that many, I would believe. This is because the seller doesn't care and the customer who is going to pay real money doesn't care either. The seller just wants the profit and the customer just wants his friends to ask, "Where did you find that?"

    If Ansel Adams had been a great pianist instead of a good one; and never needed to sell his photographs, would we even know he existed? As he intimated (in Donald's quote), imagination and expression are what counts, unless one just wants to have a theoretical discussion.

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post
    I am going to take exception to the absolute purist approach. No great portrait artist ever painted with just one brush, used only one glazing technique, painted from start to finish in one session, or just used one type of paint. Painters, illustrators, sculptors, and photographers use a variety of tools and techniques which at all times enhance the beauty of their subject. To say one should get it all in the camera and never touch photoshop would be to tell Ansel Adams to not dodge and burn, and dodge and burn he did and he used different chemicals and different papers, each in a combination which best suited his end vision.
    I'm answering my own post with two examples. Both were produced from the exact same image though post productioned differently. I have since learned new techniques to draw out the best of the RAW data from my images. I am not by any means suggesting we all go shoot willy nilly and then post process all the crap in the world to get a decent print, by am arguing for the case that supports digitally augmenting the original file to a more productive state.

    I'd love that evertime I put my eye to the viewfinder, set all the shutter combos, etc, that each image was perfect right out of the camera..but there are so may variables, especially in a field setting sans controlled lighting, etc, it's simply not reality based. I am certainly getting better all the time, but not at that studio setting outcome yet. The two shots seen here represent progression in a relatively difficult learning curve. I did crop slightly different and used a different border on the newest version (#2)

    Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post
    I'm answering my own post with two examples.
    Possibly a good time to introduce one of my own - one that just wouldn't have beep possible to achieve with out a little digital help ...

    Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    When I said previously "As a "real world" (part time) professional photographer, I can say (from my perspective) that it's highly desireable to get it as close to perfect as one can "in camera" and then optimise the image in post-processing later" (which I stand by), I should probably have added that - in reality - the perfection that we aim for in-camera may actually not be particularly close to "perfection" at all. Some are, some aren't - no two shots are the same.

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    My goodness Colin! Isn't that a pretty dangerous stunt to try with such a pretty young lady. Or is she a professional Photoshop stunt woman?

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    My goodness Colin! Isn't that a pretty dangerous stunt to try with such a pretty young lady. Or is she a professional Photoshop stunt woman?
    LOL - actually ...

    Ashley would probably do this kind of shot for real! Last time she came swimming with us she ran off the top of a small cliff to get into the water - then dropped into the water from the end of a long rope hanging from a tree (still quite a long drop) - then climbed the tree that the long rope was attached to and jumped in again from there! I can honestly say that given the chance to do a shot like this safely for real, she'd agree in a heartbeat.

    PS:

    Actually, Joe McNally DID shoot a similar shot with actress Michelle Yeoh ...

    Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?
    Quick plug for Joe - if ever you want photographic inspiration - and a lot of good tips - pick up a copy of "the moment it clicks" by Joe McNally.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 8th July 2011 at 10:54 PM.

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    Re: Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post
    I'm answering my own post with two examples. Both were produced from the exact same image though post productioned differently. I have since learned new techniques to draw out the best of the RAW data from my images. I am not by any means suggesting we all go shoot willy nilly and then post process all the crap in the world to get a decent print, by am arguing for the case that supports digitally augmenting the original file to a more productive state.

    I'd love that evertime I put my eye to the viewfinder, set all the shutter combos, etc, that each image was perfect right out of the camera..but there are so may variables, especially in a field setting sans controlled lighting, etc, it's simply not reality based. I am certainly getting better all the time, but not at that studio setting outcome yet. The two shots seen here represent progression in a relatively difficult learning curve. I did crop slightly different and used a different border on the newest version (#2)

    Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?

    Great Photography is what combination of Original Photo and Post Editing?
    Chris, both of the images are gorgeous, but the second version is... WOW. PP took a really beautiful image and made it just that more beautiful. Kudos to you.

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