Is post production bad? | Matthew Maddock

I am going to write a series of short articles about some of the post production techniques I use, but as part of that I thought I’d start off with a debate on the use of post production in general. Is post production bad?  The argument will run and run that’s for sure.  It’s between the people who think that to be a good photographer you have to get it all exactly right in your camera, and in the extreme, those people who think that you have a free reign to process the hell out of RAW file! I guess I sit somewhere in the middle of the debate.  I’m not into processing an image to death – to start with I’m not skilled enough!  I have a huge respect for people who have this skill and can make an image look fantastic (without being obvious) in post production.  I like to get as much right in-camera as I can, but I don’t have a problem doing some editing and manipulation if I feel it improves the image, and I will often shoot with the post-production ideas already in my mind. When you shoot video it is generally clear to people/clients that you have to spend time away from the location editing the video, but when shooting stills a lot of clients think that you press the button and then just send them the image.  It isn’t apparent that editing stills is as much a part of modern photography as actually being on site taking the images.  It is a process than can take as much of your time (sometimes more) than you do actually shooting the images. I used to shoot film, I used to develop film, and I used to do my own prints.  Any photographer who shot film and cared about their work didn’t go to a high street print shop to get their prints done!  They often didn’t even do it themselves, they used professional printers and developers – much like today’s professional retouchers, these professionals knew what to do to get the best out of an image and would employ ‘post production’ techniques to do that……

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