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Old Jan 14, 2004, 3:18 AM   #1
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Default Editing Pics before Printing???

What are your views on editing pictures taken with your digital cameras before getting them printed off?

I know that this is probably the best advantage to digital photography...but do some of you think that it is sacralidge to adjust your images before printing them off...because the sure sign of a good photographer..is one that can setup and capture a good shot on the camera...not because he/she can fiddle around with the image to make things look better?

What are your thoughts?
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 4:06 AM   #2
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There is nothing new about adjusting the image during printing. Long before digital photographers have cropped images and used an array of darkroom techniques to improve the final result. The most common of these is dodging and burning. In some of the best black and white prints the difference in exposure between shadow and highlights can be up to 3 or 4 stops.

What digital does is give a level of control to all photographers that was previously only available to those of us prepared to set and operate their own darkroom.

So no it's not sacrilege in my book.
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 5:11 AM   #3
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I think it is okay to improve pictures by editing them.
I guess there are just very few pics out there which are published out of the cam.
Almost every pic is modified before it is printed. If I just take a look at our TV program magazine.

Of course you somehow produce pics of things that don't exist like this. But I think adjusting pics makes them look more interesting for some purposes.
Frankly, I modify every pic of mine, even before I publish them on the net.
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 6:22 AM   #4
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Maybe there's a misconception about the differences among bad, good, and great photographers, and this misconception leads to an erroneous conclusion: a really good photo requires no post-processing, the goal being to take as perfect a picture as possible, to have the best composition, the best contrast, the most harmony attainable. But neither photographer nor camera is perfect. If they were, they'd be God and Magic.

To wield your tools well--all your tools--is the goal. The traditional tools are the camera and its settings; the enlarger that includes the ability and necessity to crop; the choice of chemistry and paper to increase/decrease contrast, etc; wands or hands for dodging and burning; toners and probably a myriad other "tricks" I no longer remember.

You have a darkroom encased in your photo editor. Choosing not to use it out of the notion that it's somehow cheating is to throw out at least half the tools of your art. It's akin to a painter refusing to mix colors from the tube, claiming it's not kosher to create the subtle colors of a leaf unless that color can be had straight from the tube.
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 6:29 AM   #5
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I tend to keep modifications to a minimum, but I still modify. Crop sometimes, contrast sometimes, exposure more often, but always a little unsharp mask to the resized image. I also change the image colour space from Adobe 1998 to sRGG for Internet postings. It makes the colours a little more vibrant on monitors.

You can do quite a lot to eliminate some of the above modifications, depending on your camera and lens. Contrast you can usually change in your camera settings, and you may be able to apply a default exposure compensation or a custom defined curve. Some photographers do this because they need to process a large volume of shots from camera to customer, and as a result shorten and automate their workflow as much as possible.

As I only keep about one photo in fifty, I tend to weed and then apply any modifications needed in post processing, but I allways keep it to a minimum, even when I'm working in RAW.

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Old Jan 14, 2004, 6:37 AM   #6
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First we assume the editing must be done on COPIES - not the camera original file, it's been repeated here many times .

If I was a raw beginner, with little experience of editing and more important no knowledge of the quality of my monitor, printer, or its setup, I'd advise get the first set of photo prints done by a store recommended for reasonable consistency. That way you don't start changing things to look right, then find out a few hundred edits later your setup wasn't right.

The most common problem with store printing is your camera image size may not fit their paper size exactly - unless you're lucky enough to have a camera that does.

So, would you rather trust a computer decision to chop off the heads or feet of your friends, if your shot was a tight tele frame - or use your brain and make a better decision to crop beforehand?. Search this Forum for cropping, there's been some recent posts. If you think post editing is hard work, yes it can take time, but although not the best way, there are often batch tools in editors to take away some of the chore.

Flash redeye is a common prob. with compact digicams. I hate seeing it and all cams should come with external flash connectors to avoid it, because redeye correction afterwards can take up lots of time for group flash pics.

Level correction can put sparkle back into seemingly dull underexposed pics. I'm not always clear on the rules here. I believe if a pic has been edited, the shop printers print the file 'as is'. If they detect no editing, they will level detect and correct similar to film print processing - but on some photos this can go wrong.

Once you move away from the camera auto modes to programme or manual, your skill as a camera person will tell in the amount and type of post correction you do, because digital has fairly tight range tolerances - but you will make far better pictures. VOX
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 10:17 AM   #7
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With even the best original photo, there will almost always be a need for post processing. The simplest example is composition: you will need a different crop to print at 4x6" vs 8x10".

The limited dynamic range in both chemical and digital cameras will call for dodging/burning kinds of post shot work with many photos.

The kind of post processing that should be avoided are those needed because the shot wasn't done as well as it could be in the first place,e.g., large amounts of cropping, overall exposure changes, huge changes in white balance, ... . Of course all of us do a fair amount of that, but it is well worth keeping in mind the difference between editing that salvages a badly exposed/framed/... shot and editing that extends the capability of the camera.
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 11:07 AM   #8
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The sign of good photo is it inspries the people to want to look at it. As stated earlier, I never edit my photos from the camera. I create a folder to do all my editing in.
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Old Jan 14, 2004, 11:19 AM   #9
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The other thing is that the camera does not see like the human eye does. So if you are trying to capture something that you saw, you will almost certainly have to edit it to get to that point.

I also know people who sell nature photography, and they can spend a day or more working over a picture to make it "perfect". That seems excesive to me, but I don't make a living at photography... so making it perfect isn't a requirement (ok, so some here might argue with that... I do have high standards. )

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