Post-production:  The process of manipulating an image. 

When I started taking photo's, I considered myself a purist. A vehement SOOC (Straight out of Camera) advocate.  The art of photography is in the skill and technique of the photographer. And I still feel that way in many respects. RAW digital files can be manipulated in an infinite number of ways, from the basics of exposure and cropping, to changing the color of elements of the picture, to adding or taking away elements, to completely changing the shape of an object in the image. You can add different skies to a landscape, or delete annoying pedestrians in the background.  I could list the possibilities forever.  My point being, I started my photography journey adamantly opposed to any kind of post production, barring possibly straightening the horizon or maybe cropping the image a touch.

As I have grown as a photographer, I have come to see the possibilities that lie in the great toolbox of post production, and how it can be used as a means of artistic expression. 

I want to show you an example of what I mean.  The following picture is an unedited photograph of the break wall in the LA Harbor that was taken on a whale watching cruise I took a few weeks ago. (See my blog post from January 4, 2017 for pictures of fin whales feeding taken on the same day.)

It was such a calm day and there were fabulous clouds creating some drama and adding contrast.  Not a bad picture SOOC, but it's kind of dark, and the horizon isn't quite level. So I tweaked it a little to punch it up a bit.

Not bad, right? I had some time on my hands, so I started experimenting. The next two I played around with exposure and creating drama vs simplicity.

I like the feel of both of those, although they are polar opposites.

I moved on to black and white.  The options within that realm alone are endless. The differences between these 3 are mainly in tone and hue.  

I guess the point I want to make is that photography is art, and post production is a significant tool in the artist's belt. Just like any tool, developing your skill with it takes practice. I would not call myself proficient at it in any way, but I am getting better, and I'm continuing to learn. If you've never experimented with it, I highly recommend it. It can be a lot of fun, and it can create some wonderful art pieces.

Let me know your thoughts on post-production.  Do you use it?  

What is your favorite of the images above?  What else would you have tried?

Post any comments you have below.

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