Post Processing - a must?
I'm being wondering quite often these days whether post processing is really needed. While it enhance photos quite well in some instances, I still think that it is not quite important as taking good photos on the spot. Would I really need to learn post processing techniques?..

Comments (12)

Remember the human eye sees in HDR (much greater recordable dynamic range between light and dark than a digital camera). Post processing is not difficult if you restrict it to Curves setting the white/dark points as necessary..

It depends a lot on the camera you are using; some DSLRs have deliberately soft images so that you can implement the amount of sharpening you like. If you shoot in RAW then you can control everything..

Most compact cameras do a good job of taking shots that don't need PP, I'm thinking of my old Canon s400 here which seldom gets the exposure 'wrong'. And with the new breed of so-called 'intelligent' compacts it should be possible to avoid PP. Another way is to bracket your shots and keep the best one, a major advantage cost-wise with cheap memory compared to when we did it with film cameras..

John.Please visit me at:

Comment #1

It depends on you and your goal. I shoot everything in RAW and JPG. If I get a great photo, then I process the RAW file to maximize that 'special' photo; otherwise, I just use the JPG AsIs. Also, sometimes you should process photos with high contrasts because a single exposure may not provide the optimal photo. Post Processing is not difficult, there are good videos to teach the mechanics. It helps to have a good eye and a calibrated monitor; at that point I have neither. LOL..

Comment #2

You can get photoshop elements for about $80-100. You will be glad you did. You can spend a lot of time learning to use PSE and all of the creative tools. You don't need to get into postprocessing at that level. With a little practice you can greatly improve your pictures with a few quick adjustments...

Comment #3

If you are taking "snapshots", you can do OK with a point and shoot mentality. But if you are a serious photographer and have a desire to produce excellent photos, you must invest the time and effort to learn at least some PP skills..

As another reply recommended, get PSE and slowly learn to improve your product. Hang out on the Retouching Forum. You WILL learn how to PP..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog:

Comment #4

If you ever used film to shoot slides / transparencies, did you process those yourself?.

Post-processing is optional. Though it is easy to get sucked in. For example, you may want to crop or resize an image. Then perhaps, sharpen the result. Once you start doing small adjustments, you might find it becomes addictive...

Comment #5

MichaelMS wrote:.

I'm being wondering quite often these days whether post processing isreally needed. While it enhance photos quite well in some instances,i still think that it is not quite important as taking good photos onthe spot. Would I really need to learn post processing techniques?.

I like to keep PP to a minimum, I prefer to try to get the right image in the camera. Accordingly I shoot jpeg rather than raw. I spend too much time in front of the computer anyhow to expect to PP all my images so very few get any treatment and, those that do, the out of camera jpegs from my Fuji S2 can take quite a lot of manipulation before they start to fall down..


Comment #6

I like John's answer that it depends on the camera you're using. If I am careful with camera settings when I shoot, then I never feel a need to post-process images from my Mavica FD200. However, I have other cameras that burn out highlights or lose shadow detail or render images just too soft for my liking. With those cameras, I've had to learn to sometimes combine modifications at the point of exposure (e.g., reduced contrast settings and negative EV compensation) with some simple post-processing steps to get images that satisfy (and they do!). I've found that it's possible to standardize on the post-processing I need for each different camera and lighting condition, so it's not like I'm starting from scratch with every image..

Still, it would be nice to have a more full-featured camera that doesn't require as much work after capture. Just yesterday I took delivery of a Samsung GX-1S, due in part to reviews making comments like "images are a bit sharper than on some D-SLRs, probably to keep the average consumer happy," "excellent color accuracy," "moderate contrast," "high contrast scenes are well-handled, with burnt-out highlights a merciful rarity" and "dangerously bland low-light shots" (low-light scenes often look bland to my eyes, so I consider it a plus if a camera doesn't artificially punch it up). Time will tell if I can get what I want with in-camera settings, but I already like the small size, light weight, and bigger-and-brighter-than-most pentaprism viewfinder. And there are worse evils in life than being able to maximize your image quality with a bit of post-processing work...

Comment #7

Many pics look better with some PP. things like applying a tone curve to brighten a photo where you shot to preserve highlights. or adjusting the white balance. and then there's the whole world of retouching (making the ladies look younger)..

Basically if you don't PP then your pics might not always look their best...

Comment #8

PP - unless used for a special effect - is generally used to make the photo look more exactly like what you saw when you actually took a picture. It makes a huge difference and I would never even think of submitting a non-PPed photo anywhere..


Comment #9

You do not have to..

However it is a tool that is there and, honestly, it gives you a new degree of control over your images..

I have to say that, as part of a hobby, the post processing part adds another element of enjoyment to it for me - particularly now we're heading into the gloomy rain and wind where I am..


Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #10

PP is a must if you want to print big like I do. Get the most out of your image..

Here's my pp gallery

Comment #11

Its not needed, but you'll get much better/authentic looking photos if you learn adjusting levels/curves..

Usually you dont get that 100% perfect exposure/contrast, so why not alter it in PP with one minute of your time, if the shot is worth it..

I on the other hand never clone or paint or make the pics unnatural, since I aim for my pics being as natural as possible.

Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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