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Author Topic: Image postprocessing - how far should you go  (Read 2443 times)

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« on: March 20, 2022, 15:15 »
0
Times a topic, which one moves me for a long time.
If you look at landscape pictures for example, the bestsellers are completely oversaturated by the colors and partly overworked beyond recognition - but they are bestsellers.

I noticed this particularly blatantly during my last shoot. I personally don't like the bestsellers, but they seem to sell.

How do you deal with it. Do you all turn your color saturation knob all the way up for better sales chances?

Ok, my shots and the competition bestsellers:

https://stock.adobe.com/de/search?load_type=search&is_recent_search=&search_type=usertyped&k=dinant+belgium&native_visual_search=&similar_content_id=&asset_id=217426858


« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2022, 16:10 »
0
I'm guilty of doing split toning, dramatizing skies (sky replacement when I'm drunk), dodge and burn and using the saturation slider.
At least, for landscapes and travel related stuff, which is quite some part of my portfolio.
I try to not overdo it, but I definitely want to have a highly appealing image, yes. 
I found it out the hard way. Travel related buyers want to sell a dream, not reality.

My editorials are kept to basic editing. Maybe adding a slightly amount of punch with the contrast or saturation slider, and some highlight dimming (I tend to slightly overexpose rather than underexpose) but that's about it.

I don't spend hours of editing on removing brands or people, I feel like it isn't worth my time, as the image might not sell all.
So those shots get uploaded as editorial. But I do try to frame shots avoiding brands or people. Wherever realistically possible.

Edit: the shots of Dinant you showed are not far off of how I would do it by the way.
Maybe I would have warmed them up just a tiny bit while being a bit softer on the blue (seems a bit harsh?), but hey, that's just personal taste.
And if it sells... well, then you did the right thing!







« Last Edit: March 20, 2022, 16:15 by Roscoe »

« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2022, 16:23 »
0
I'm guilty of doing split toning, dramatizing skies (sky replacement when I'm drunk), dodge and burn and using the saturation slider.
At least, for landscapes and travel related stuff, which is quite some part of my portfolio.
I try to not overdo it, but I definitely want to have a highly appealing image, yes. 
I found it out the hard way. Travel related buyers want to sell a dream, not reality.

My editorials are kept to basic editing. Maybe adding a slightly amount of punch with the contrast or saturation slider, and some highlight dimming (I tend to slightly overexpose rather than underexpose) but that's about it.

I don't spend hours of editing on removing brands or people, I feel like it isn't worth my time, as the image might not sell all.
So those shots get uploaded as editorial. But I do try to frame shots avoiding brands or people. Wherever realistically possible.

Edit: the shots of Dinant you showed are not far off of how I would do it by the way.
Maybe I would have warmed them up just a tiny bit while being a bit softer on the blue (seems a bit harsh?), but hey, that's just personal taste.
And if it sells... well, then you did the right thing!

Roscoe, you don't have to feel guilty, my sky is replaced too.
What I'm getting at is that I find the bestsellers on my subject for my taste horribly overworked. But they are selling.

Is that really better:


Edit:
Hmm, after posting my revised version, I'd say the image makes more of an impression, at least in the preview.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2022, 16:33 by RalfLiebhold »

« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2022, 16:32 »
0
I'm guilty of doing split toning, dramatizing skies (sky replacement when I'm drunk), dodge and burn and using the saturation slider.
At least, for landscapes and travel related stuff, which is quite some part of my portfolio.
I try to not overdo it, but I definitely want to have a highly appealing image, yes. 
I found it out the hard way. Travel related buyers want to sell a dream, not reality.

My editorials are kept to basic editing. Maybe adding a slightly amount of punch with the contrast or saturation slider, and some highlight dimming (I tend to slightly overexpose rather than underexpose) but that's about it.

I don't spend hours of editing on removing brands or people, I feel like it isn't worth my time, as the image might not sell all.
So those shots get uploaded as editorial. But I do try to frame shots avoiding brands or people. Wherever realistically possible.

Edit: the shots of Dinant you showed are not far off of how I would do it by the way.
Maybe I would have warmed them up just a tiny bit while being a bit softer on the blue (seems a bit harsh?), but hey, that's just personal taste.
And if it sells... well, then you did the right thing!

Roscoe, you don't have to feel guilty, my sky is replaced too.
What I'm getting at is that I find the bestsellers on my subject for my taste horribly overworked. But they are selling.

Is that really better:

Yes, I have the same feeling regarding overprocessing.
Sometimes I think: Djeez, I took it too far. This won't even fly through the approval process.
But then it did, and then it sells. So there's that.

I have a sky replacement shot published in Lonely Planet.
Whooops.


« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2022, 18:09 »
0
I'm guilty of doing split toning, dramatizing skies (sky replacement when I'm drunk), dodge and burn and using the saturation slider.
At least, for landscapes and travel related stuff, which is quite some part of my portfolio.
I try to not overdo it, but I definitely want to have a highly appealing image, yes. 
I found it out the hard way. Travel related buyers want to sell a dream, not reality.

My editorials are kept to basic editing. Maybe adding a slightly amount of punch with the contrast or saturation slider, and some highlight dimming (I tend to slightly overexpose rather than underexpose) but that's about it.

I don't spend hours of editing on removing brands or people, I feel like it isn't worth my time, as the image might not sell all.
So those shots get uploaded as editorial. But I do try to frame shots avoiding brands or people. Wherever realistically possible.

Edit: the shots of Dinant you showed are not far off of how I would do it by the way.
Maybe I would have warmed them up just a tiny bit while being a bit softer on the blue (seems a bit harsh?), but hey, that's just personal taste.
And if it sells... well, then you did the right thing!

Roscoe, you don't have to feel guilty, my sky is replaced too.
What I'm getting at is that I find the bestsellers on my subject for my taste horribly overworked. But they are selling.

Is that really better:

Yes, I have the same feeling regarding overprocessing.
Sometimes I think: Djeez, I took it too far. This won't even fly through the approval process.
But then it did, and then it sells. So there's that.

I have a sky replacement shot published in Lonely Planet.
Whooops.

You made me curious, do you want to post your picture - if not, just forget it. ;)

zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2022, 19:39 »
0
This is great topic. If we brush aside question is it worth spending time post-processing for 10 cent reward,  to me it is always function of image itself, or rather what message image is trying to convey. Artistic, realistic, something else.  There are purists out there that believe post-processing is cheating and image should be not altered digitally.  On the other side are people that consider RAW file just a starting Photoshop canvass where end result resembles little starting point.

Here are 2 of my own examples of what I consider now bad post-processing:

1)


This is what the original looks like and has well over 100 DL's on SS


2)

Poorly replaced sky. Original was dull and grey.  But this doesn't look natural.  Few DLs only on DT


And here is example of what I consider appropriate sky replacement (original was steel grey);  someone might disagree, but I like end result






« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2022, 20:04 »
0
With all of the competition out there, an image really has to "pop" to get any attention at all.  It's not that the bestsellers are oversaturated, but rather that the real world is too often bland and uninteresting.  The real skill, imo, when confronted with a boring scene, is to be able to see in your mind's eye what it could look like with a few minutes of post processing. 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2022, 20:19 by Rightdx »

« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2022, 02:54 »
0
Thanks for the examples Zeljkok, I find your images all very appealing. With the saturation you have held back but. And against a replacement of a boring sky speaks nothing.

Rightdx, the reality often looks boring and dreary. But I was referring more to the examples in my link, there I can not understand the bestsellers. The images are not only unrealistic, but in my opinion technically poorly implemented.

But sometimes I can't stop myself either:




Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2022, 09:48 »
0
To paraphrase Roscoe, in my own words: 

People want an imaginary enhanced view, not the true representation of reality.

No I don't intentionally over saturate images. I do increase highlights and contrast in some, and do things to make an image have more "pop". I'm not against adding some color saturation. Yes I do de-saturate backgrounds sometimes to bring out the foreground.

« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2022, 12:11 »
0
I started doing more and more sky replacement, but don't see a big difference in sales. Sometimes I manage to upload the same photos with different sky, but sill not much difference. I guess if your photos is not on the first page of search results it will be not sold. It's kind for fan for me than profit.

zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2022, 13:06 »
0
Thanks for the examples Zeljkok, I find your images all very appealing. With the saturation you have held back but. And against a replacement of a boring sky speaks nothing.

Rightdx, the reality often looks boring and dreary. But I was referring more to the examples in my link, there I can not understand the bestsellers. The images are not only unrealistic, but in my opinion technically poorly implemented.

But sometimes I can't stop myself either:

Ralf - I am big sucker for skies & this looks great


Would need to see at 100% how good are the edges at horizon, specially at right side where highrises touch the sky, as that is the hardest part with sky replacement

But, as someone mentioned, does it help the sales? Not sure it does;  stock photography is not about pretty images, rather illustrating concepts where artistic appeal is usually secondary.   

« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2022, 13:16 »
0
A long time ago when SS was making me the most $ I looked at the best sellers for landscape / travel pics and noticed that the first page was almost all oversaturated overly bright images. I tried to make some like that but almost all of them got rejected for whatever the standard rejection was at the time - oversaturated or distorted pixels or something. I am guessing they would be accepted now, but SS is no longer on my list.

I do often mess with curves and darken the sky in landscapes. I have done a few sky replacements, but it usually seemed like way too much effort for the reward. Maybe if I was more efficient at post processing it would be worth it. Certainly a flat gray sky image is unlikely to sell, where one with a good sky might sell. Maybe I should throw a few puffy happy clouds into my numerous images with clear blue skies (I live in the desert).

I am often amazed at the blatantly unrealistic looking images on the first page - ones where the shadows go the wrong way for where the sun is or sunset skies over a mid-day scene. I guess as someone says - if it sells it is right. Someone recently pointed out an image where the sky was 90 degrees off complete with sideways clouds.

« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2022, 13:55 »
0
Thanks for the examples Zeljkok, I find your images all very appealing. With the saturation you have held back but. And against a replacement of a boring sky speaks nothing.

Rightdx, the reality often looks boring and dreary. But I was referring more to the examples in my link, there I can not understand the bestsellers. The images are not only unrealistic, but in my opinion technically poorly implemented.

But sometimes I can't stop myself either:

Ralf - I am big sucker for skies & this looks great


Would need to see at 100% how good are the edges at horizon, specially at right side where highrises touch the sky, as that is the hardest part with sky replacement

But, as someone mentioned, does it help the sales? Not sure it does;  stock photography is not about pretty images, rather illustrating concepts where artistic appeal is usually secondary.

Thanks Zeljkok, now we are two suckers of sky exchange here. ;)
I use Photoshop for this and the sky is perfectly swapped in seconds and there are no problems with the edges you mentioned. The images are also accepted everywhere without any problems.

In principle I agree with you that stock photography is more about themes and concepts. Usually I don't worry so much about the competition either and just do my thing.

In this case, however, I did a little research because I knew that hundreds of other photographers had photographed the same subject from exactly the same spot before me.

I wanted to present the topic a little differently and stumbled across the bestsellers, which I personally do not like at all  ::)


zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2022, 16:54 »
+5
I think some people go overboard in post-processing just to get noticed.  Screaming colors, bad HDR's, etc. So if buyer has screen of 100 image icons naturally one that screams the loudest will get attention first

My take is that to be successful in stock, you have to enjoy photography first. Sole motivation can not be just to get sales; if it is, it will almost certainly result in disappointment.  As an example this is my 2nd most downloaded shot on AS:



I analyzed the scene, waited for right conditions, came back with tripod, etc. Really enjoyed whole experience, not thinking about $$ potential.  Amount of post-processing?  Noise removal in shadows and bit of enhancement of cabin light only

« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2022, 16:58 »
+1
I think some people go overboard in post-processing just to get noticed.  Screaming colors, bad HDR's, etc. So if buyer has screen of 100 image icons naturally one that screams the loudest will get attention first

My take is that to be successful in stock, you have to enjoy photography first. Sole motivation can not be just to get sales; if it is, it will almost certainly result in disappointment.  As an example this is my 2nd most downloaded shot on AS:



I analyzed the scene, waited for right conditions, came back with tripod, etc. Really enjoyed whole experience, not thinking about $$ potential.  Amount of post-processing?  Noise removal in shadows and bit of enhancement of cabin light only

Great shot ;D ;D

« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2022, 18:12 »
+2
Times a topic, which one moves me for a long time.
If you look at landscape pictures for example, the bestsellers are completely oversaturated by the colors and partly overworked beyond recognition - but they are bestsellers.

I noticed this particularly blatantly during my last shoot. I personally don't like the bestsellers, but they seem to sell.

How do you deal with it. Do you all turn your color saturation knob all the way up for better sales chances?

Ok, my shots and the competition bestsellers:

https://stock.adobe.com/de/search?load_type=search&is_recent_search=&search_type=usertyped&k=dinant+belgium&native_visual_search=&similar_content_id=&asset_id=217426858

In my opinion, less is more when it comes to post processing. At least for Adobe Stock, I recommend you submit the clean, sharp, color version of your file. This gives customers the most flexibility to enhance the image in a way that matches their project exactly. If you get too funky in post, you are severely limiting your potential customer base. I have discussed this extensively with our moderation team and when I asked what was the most common reason for rejection, there was exactly zero hesitation before I received the answer "oversaturation." Again, less is more. I use the vibrance slider almost exclusively in LRC and almost never the saturation slider for this reason. I do like to replace the sky from time to time, but as noted here, it should look like it belongs.

-Mat Hayward

zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2022, 18:25 »
+2

I have discussed this extensively with our moderation team and when I asked what was the most common reason for rejection, there was exactly zero hesitation before I received the answer "oversaturation." Again, less is more. I use the vibrance slider almost exclusively in LRC and almost never the saturation slider for this reason. I do like to replace the sky from time to time, but as noted here, it should look like it belongs.

-Mat Hayward

This is golden


« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2022, 03:31 »
0

I have discussed this extensively with our moderation team and when I asked what was the most common reason for rejection, there was exactly zero hesitation before I received the answer "oversaturation." Again, less is more. I use the vibrance slider almost exclusively in LRC and almost never the saturation slider for this reason. I do like to replace the sky from time to time, but as noted here, it should look like it belongs.

-Mat Hayward

This is golden

Yes, and this is what we are told by other professionals too, and in general, I support this point of view.
Yet, coming back to one of the reasons Ralf started this thread:

Quote
If you look at landscape pictures for example, the bestsellers are completely oversaturated by the colors and partly overworked beyond recognition - but they are bestsellers.

And this is also my experience. A clean and rather flat image has very limited chances of selling in a competitive market.
Maybe we're all having different standards of what a highly processed image is, because sure, there are gradations, and is what I'm doing (and bestsellers look like) considered as "normal or acceptable" retouching.

Edit: when I look at my landscape bestsellers: these are all very vivid images, rich contrast, quite some drama every now and then. And I definitely have rather flat images in my portfolio too, from times where I refused to sell myself out to overly processed imagery. I changed my mind, because the more realistic shots rarely sell, unless I have no competition.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2022, 03:38 by Roscoe »

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2022, 11:19 »
0

I have discussed this extensively with our moderation team and when I asked what was the most common reason for rejection, there was exactly zero hesitation before I received the answer "oversaturation." Again, less is more. I use the vibrance slider almost exclusively in LRC and almost never the saturation slider for this reason. I do like to replace the sky from time to time, but as noted here, it should look like it belongs.

-Mat Hayward

This is golden

Yes, and this is what we are told by other professionals too, and in general, I support this point of view.
Yet, coming back to one of the reasons Ralf started this thread:

Quote
If you look at landscape pictures for example, the bestsellers are completely oversaturated by the colors and partly overworked beyond recognition - but they are bestsellers.

And this is also my experience. A clean and rather flat image has very limited chances of selling in a competitive market.
Maybe we're all having different standards of what a highly processed image is, because sure, there are gradations, and is what I'm doing (and bestsellers look like) considered as "normal or acceptable" retouching.

Edit: when I look at my landscape bestsellers: these are all very vivid images, rich contrast, quite some drama every now and then. And I definitely have rather flat images in my portfolio too, from times where I refused to sell myself out to overly processed imagery. I changed my mind, because the more realistic shots rarely sell, unless I have no competition.

I see the problem as it always has been and will be. Mat makes a good point, less drama and adulteration leaves the buyers more options. But here's the other side. Some buyers want ready to use images. Some don't know how to make their own adjustments. Some want fast and good, so they can spend time on something else, like designs and layouts.

There's room for both and there is no perfect answer to the question, edit heavily or edit moderately. The answer isn't either or, it's something of both.

Personally I like the less finished, I try to not have over saturated images. But as Ralf and others can see, some of the best selling are just that. Bright images, bright colors, sharp and higher contrast sell best, but not everything is like that and not every buyer wants that.

« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2022, 12:12 »
+5
This is sort of like the agencies always claiming they want authentic content with real people in real situations. The truth is they mostly want real people only if they look like models and real situations only if they look like model houses or movie sets. 

Sure, real people sell once in a while (I've used myself as a model, and some even sell), but at a few cents to maybe a few $ a sale you need to have volume for success in this business, and volume doesn't come from real looking people or muted neutral landscapes. So - back to the OPs point. The question is how fake to make the people and places and how far to push processing without going too far. For the most part we are selling an aspiration and a dream, not reality. I certainly haven't found that balance and I prefer something that looks a little more realistic, but looking at the first page of search it looks like my preferences and most of my images are too far on the real end of the spectrum.


« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2022, 20:26 »
0

I see the problem as it always has been and will be. Mat makes a good point, less drama and adulteration leaves the buyers more options. But here's the other side. Some buyers want ready to use images. Some don't know how to make their own adjustments. Some want fast and good, so they can spend time on something else, like designs and layouts.

I agree. I work with someone who uses stock images, but barely ever touches Photoshop. Not everyone has the interest, even though it surprises me. Photoshop is so much fun to mess around in!

« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2022, 11:37 »
0
by the way, which software or plugin do you prefer? Luminar, Topaz, On1, Inpixio and so on....

« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2022, 14:25 »
0
I see the problem as it always has been and will be. Mat makes a good point, less drama and adulteration leaves the buyers more options. But here's the other side. Some buyers want ready to use images. Some don't know how to make their own adjustments. Some want fast and good, so they can spend time on something else, like designs and layouts.

There's room for both and there is no perfect answer to the question, edit heavily or edit moderately. The answer isn't either or, it's something of both.

Personally I like the less finished, I try to not have over saturated images. But as Ralf and others can see, some of the best selling are just that. Bright images, bright colors, sharp and higher contrast sell best, but not everything is like that and not every buyer wants that.

This is sort of like the agencies always claiming they want authentic content with real people in real situations. The truth is they mostly want real people only if they look like models and real situations only if they look like model houses or movie sets.

I think, to summarize, it comes down to this: buyers want an image that comes as close as possible to reality under perfect conditions.
For travel, landscape and nature related stuff, I guess it still means dramatic skies, nice sunsets, bright blue skies, vivid colors, crisp architecture, frozen action of animals doing their thing against a dramatic backdrop. You get the point. Not overly processed and filtered, but still pretty darn great compared to what you will probably see when you go there yourself.

Same for people, interiors, objects, food, or other topics.
Most of the buyers will still go for the great looking cinematic shot, but with a touch of reality.
Staged nonchalance I would call it.

I mean: You can be like this person in the picture too (but you probably won't because the morning rush ruined your mood). Your living room can look like this (but it probably won't because your cat uses the furniture as a scratching poles). Your dinner can look like this (but it probably won't because the kids were hungry and you casually threw a plate before it was properly cooked)

Authenticity is not the same as random snapshots. Far from.
It's about nailing a near-perfect reality, avoiding fakeness and situations that are completely unachievable in a real world.

Just my 2 cents. I can be wrong.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2022, 11:01 »
0
Yes, yes, yes, I don't disagree with any of the opinions. What I'm pointing out is a contradiction and a conundrum.

Personally I don't like the over processed look. (someone define over processed in operant terms? It's a subjective definition to start with)

Some buyers want to have control over the final product, and want a solid good image to work from. Some buyers want a finished product. Bright and saturated images will sell better... Most of the time, Most Popular images, will be colorful and highly edited. But that doesn't mean that someone who needs an image won't choose one that they can see the potential for their particular use.

Fish or cut bait?

To answer Ralf and his question, personally, I wouldn't go that far, like his examples. But that's all personal choice.

« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2022, 09:59 »
+1
by the way, which software or plugin do you prefer? Luminar, Topaz, On1, Inpixio and so on....

Luminar.
Besides the technical aspects, there is another compelling reason (highlighted below), for trying this great tool, a tool that forced Adobe to compete on sky-replacements.

Otherwise, I'm all for post-processing.  And with all due respect, my experience is different than what Mat is recommending above, even when it comes to my sales on Adobe.

But since the OP asked for critique, the examples posted above are going too far, that sky is too blue, too saturated and it's distracting from the main subject (especially on the "revised" version). Even some clouds have a blueish hue, instead of being white. The same goes for those white buildings turned blue, in the other photo.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2022, 10:45 by Zero Talent »

« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2022, 12:23 »
0
there's a big difference between oversaturation  and sky replacement or HDR - esp'ly the latter which an end user cannot change on their own (if they even look at the non-HDR version).  agencies may say they want little processing, but their first search pages are filled with highly processed images

grey skies (unless dramatic per se) just dont sell - replacements do

wirestock has created yet another silly rejection for 'Over Stylized Image: Image is overly stylized, altered, or tinted. ' instead of letting the various agency apply their own conditions - and again, these are usually images that are accepted by the majors - wirestock continues to shoot itself in the foot by catering to some anonymous, lowest common denominator 'agency'.  the main draw of WS was ther ease of submitting, but now with all their nonsense rejections, the need to resubmit to the real agencies makes WS less & less useful

« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2022, 12:30 »
+1
Times a topic, which one moves me for a long time.
If you look at landscape pictures for example, the bestsellers are completely oversaturated by the colors and partly overworked beyond recognition - but they are bestsellers.

I noticed this particularly blatantly during my last shoot. I personally don't like the bestsellers, but they seem to sell.

How do you deal with it. Do you all turn your color saturation knob all the way up for better sales chances?

Ok, my shots and the competition bestsellers:

https://stock.adobe.com/de/search?load_type=search&is_recent_search=&search_type=usertyped&k=dinant+belgium&native_visual_search=&similar_content_id=&asset_id=217426858

In my opinion, less is more when it comes to post processing. At least for Adobe Stock, I recommend you submit the clean, sharp, color version of your file. This gives customers the most flexibility to enhance the image in a way that matches their project exactly. If you get too funky in post, you are severely limiting your potential customer base. I have discussed this extensively with our moderation team and when I asked what was the most common reason for rejection, there was exactly zero hesitation before I received the answer "oversaturation." Again, less is more. I use the vibrance slider almost exclusively in LRC and almost never the saturation slider for this reason. I do like to replace the sky from time to time, but as noted here, it should look like it belongs.

-Mat Hayward

This is how it should be at any agency (80/20 rule). I've had customers contact me in the past asking for the original UNEDITED file.  I do believe some post is needed if you're shooting in RAW, but be subtle.  This is not to say that there aren't styles and approaches that use aggressive post, but by in large don't overdo it.  Honestly, I look at some of my old stuff and shake my head, "what in the world was I thinking?" 


zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2022, 14:02 »
0


This is how it should be at any agency (80/20 rule). I've had customers contact me in the past asking for the original UNEDITED file.  I do believe some post is needed if you're shooting in RAW, but be subtle.  This is not to say that there aren't styles and approaches that use aggressive post, but by in large don't overdo it.  Honestly, I look at some of my old stuff and shake my head, "what in the world was I thinking?"

That's a good point.  I also had customers contacts inquiring about RAW files.

Re "shake my head", I think this is natural evolution of photographer.  I also look at some of my older stuff I thought was great, and now "oh my".  Simply means skills are getting better and thus criteria higher

Also, related to this great discussion, one other issue.  Not post-processing, but light manipulation.  Polarizers.  Yes, great if/when used properly, but can they ever screw the sky, create uneven gradient and basically render what would otherwise be great photo total crap.   Talking about landscape photography.  I find this specially true when air is polluted, ie closer to urban areas.  On the far side in Himalayas where air is super clean, there won't be gradient, but it will often render sky such dark blue it is again unnatural.  Nowdays I'll use polarizer mostly for waterfalls to increase exposure time, rarely for rich blue skies.

2010 Photo:  Sky totally screwed up.  It's not like Ait Benhaddou is around the corner & you can visit at will


2019 Photo.  No Polarizer, no color enhancement.  No sharpening whatsoever. Clouds made a bit brighter only, perhaps too much
« Last Edit: March 27, 2022, 14:08 by zeljkok »


 

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