What is post-processing?

Everyone who lives in today's world has either used or heard the adjective "photoshop" when referring to editing an image.

"I look too big" or "I have a giant blemish on my face" or "I stained my shirt right before I got here"...followed by "you can just Photoshop that out, right?".

To get the elephant out of the room, edit is the same as post-process, is the same as Photoshop (although, I know most photographers die a little internally when someone uses the term Photoshop interchangeably with the terms edit and post-process. Photoshop is the name of the software used to edit images. It's like saying I like to Volkswagen myself to the grocery store. You get my point.). I will use the terms edit and post-process.

Anyways, all of my images (yes, all of them), are post-processed. Period.

  1. My first step in post-processing is to cull the images of people with their eyes half closed, or any butts that step in front of an otherwise butt-free shot, or any people with their mouths crammed full of food. You get it, anything that is unflattering and could eventually link back to me as a bad photographer is deleted.

  2. After culling, I complete basic post-processing to make sure the exposure is how I want it, the contrast looks good, the white balance isn't doing something totally strange, and a few other tweaks to make it look like it was shot by me and in my style.

  3. My next step is to make sure you look as fabulous as possible. This is where I will edit out any of those blemishes, stains, stray hairs, or something that just doesn't belong. I do my absolute best to make you look normal and natural, not like you have had a million filters or edits completed on you that would make you look like anything but yourself.

Why am I telling you all this? I've had several inquiries from potential clients in the past asking if they would get a discount if I didn't post-process their images. My answer to that is, and always will be, "sorry!" (how Canadian of me). The simple reason for that is if an image hasn't been post-processed, it doesn't match my brand. I've also heard horror stories from fellow photographers who have given raw images over to clients, only to be post-processed in a style that doesn't represent the photographer, and then plastered all over social media with the photographer tagged in the images. A nightmare for any photographer.

You see, an image that hasn't been post-processed could be compared to a cake that was baked but not served with frosting. Sure, it looks good, but proper post-processing can make an image pop. But what about all those purists who think editing ruins an image? Post-processing isn't some new thing from the digital age. Images have been edited in the dark room since the film days. The general population never used to edit their images though, as they would just plop their roll of film into an envelope at the photo studio and pick it up 24 hours to 7 days later. Professionals have almost always culled and edited images in one way or another.

I'm sure not everyone shares the same opinions or insight, and am always open to further discussion on the topic!

I thought I would share some before and after touch-ups in this blog, to show what I can do when it is required.

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