Magnolia Before and after

Warning.. this is a lengthy babble post.

This to answer a question by user merry hearts medicin about if I had post processed the magnolia in a previous post or if it looked like that straight from the camera. I will post both the before “straight out of the camera” version, and the one from the previous post again for comparison.

First, yes I have post processed it, I don´t think (at least as far as I know) that there is any camera in the world that can make an image look like that straight out with no editing at all.

Second, this question made me think about photography in general, and my personal preferences and feelings about it. I´m stressing personal here, I´m making no claims whatsoever to being any kind of expert. I´m a beginner and still learning, trying out all kinds of things all over the place, and probably will be doing so for a long time.

I know that there are a lot of so-called “photography purists” out there who are of the opinion that any image not exactly as created in-camera, is somehow “cheating”. I think that this is giving way too much power to an instrument, which in my opinion is what a camera is, an instrument, a tool used to try to recreate an image of what the photographer is envisioning when he/she looks upon a thing.

A human being doesn´t see a flattened 2D world with washed out colors, or in black and white, it also uses more than just it´s eyes to see. No two people looking at a thing, will see the same thing.

What they see will depend on their focus, aesthetic preferences, mood and emotions, memories, and any number of other factors that have nothing to do with how a lens bends light either in the human eye or the camera.

Furthermore, different cameras spit out different looking images depending on their make, model, and specifications, even if the same settings are being used. To claim that any one of them are creating a true reflection of “reality”, is in my opinion naïve, and boring to say the least.

There also even seems to be some kind of notion that there is something inferior about digital photography in general as compared to using analog film and processing the images in a darkroom.

As far as analog photography goes, I at least, can´t see that there could be anything called “straight out of the camera” there at all. What the image ends up looking like depends on the processing technique used, and darkroom techniques include all kinds of things like dodging, burning, masking, toning, cross processing, and bleaching, and so on.

What difference does it make if you do this in a darkroom or you do it using software, besides the latter being less messy, stinky, and hazardous to your health and the environment?

Also, why is it less “cheating” to attach filters directly to the camera to achieve a certain effect, than to add filters using post processing software to achieve the same effect?

I know I still have a lot to learn about photography, but so far I don´t believe that anyone could convince me that a photo/ image I see that I don´t like, taken or made by anyone including myself, with whatever camera, processed or not, in whatever way, is somehow better than one I like.

I don´t care how an image is made, I don´t care what kind of gear has been used to make it, unless there is something I would like to learn how to do. I don´t have to split something into atoms analyzing each one of them to know what I like or not.

I like post-processed images better than straight out of the camera ones, they look more like reality to me, because I don´t see a flat world with bleached out colors.

And no camera is the boss of me.

magnolia-unedited

Magnolia-1

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14 thoughts on “Magnolia Before and after

  1. I loved both photos ! As you said everyone see’s things differently and there is no one way to express your creations. Our learning of things is lifelong which keeps us in a continual challenge during our journey of trying new things. I appreciate your honesty and your sharing of individual creations, photos, art ,words and expressions. I look forward to what’s next : )

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  2. Interesting. Thanks for the detailed answer to my question! 🙂

    I’m new at photography myself. I think post-processing can make photos very unique and eye-pleasing. I’m not enough of a photographer to really have any opinions about the process. I could just tell SOMETHING had been done to your photo and thought it had a soft, pleasing look that I liked.

    I’ve been playing around with free programs like PicMonkey and Pixlr to create image effects and have learned a lot that way. What programs do you use?

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    • I mostly use Photoshop with NIK plugins. Learning Photoshop had me pulling my hair out and banging my head against the wall, but when I finally got it I was really happy. I started with Photoshop Elements, it´s really all you need, but I had to learn “big Photoshop” as well while I was studying basic graphic design for a while. I have borrowed every book about photography and post processing I could find at the library, bought lots of books, and magazines, and go to a lot of web sites. I´m determined to learn. If you check out a site 1x.com, you´ll see some really cool stuff. I´m dreaming of getting that good some day. 🙂

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  3. I have found the camera cannot capture what the human eye captures. Sometimes I enhance a photo I take and sometimes I do not. I have found some of the best and most famous photographers use edit programs to make their photos better. So, I say, do what you want, it is your life and I do not call it cheating at all. I like your photos very much, keep up the good work.

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  4. Well said. Most cameras have built in processing you cannot change and in the age of film great like Ansel Adams wrote about image processing in the lab with black and white.

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