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Post Production Critics

Published July 27th, 2012

Why do people become such critics when it comes to post production on photos? I admit I never used to do it but I was never one to criticize the work of others because of it. HDR images are by far the most prone to these comments and sometimes, outright rude insults. I have seen people shoot down great photos with comments ranging from "photoshopped" to "fake" or "that's not a real photo" or how about "let's see the SOC shot".

When I came across Adobe Lightroom and its collection of presets I began playing around with some post production on some my images and will admit I immediately fell in love with it. The ease of changing the colours or making the subject pop was nice. I am no professional photographer nor do I have the experience or equipment to make some great straight out of camera (SOC) shots so for me a program with presets like LR is nice to have and allows me to feel better about the end product.

I was thinking about this today when I looked at the SOC shot of a bald eagle I took at African Lion Safari's Birds or Prey show. I thought the end product was really nice and was happy with it until my wife pointed out that it almost didn't look real. Confused I asked her if she didn't like it and she said it was a great shot just not the original. That comment got me wondering - do people prefer SOC shots or post produced shots? Does it really matter in the end?

I think I will stick with what I am doing as I am truly enjoying it and the final product is something that I approve and take pride in. We will always have nay-sayers and critics in the photography field. There will always be someone behind the anonymity of the internet telling us that our work is fake or no good but in the end who cares what they think.

I took the photo - sure I put my touches on it but you know what - I am damn proud of that. If you like my work it will show through the votes and favorites. If not - thanks for at least looking.

Out of curiosity - for those reading this - what is your opinion on post production? Do you do it with your photos?


Bald Eagle - Before LR

Photo of bald eagle straight out of Camera (SOC)

  • July 19th, 2012
  • Canon EOS 60D
  • 190mm / f/5.6 / 1/1250 sec

Bald Eagle - Post LR

Photo of Bald Eagle after post production in Adobe Lightroom

  • July 19th, 2012
  • Canon EOS 60D
  • 190mm / f/5.6 / 1/1250 sec

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Jillian Luu  about 6 years ago

thanks for offering your thoughts on post production. i'm a beginner photographer and have only scratched the surface of "digital development". after reading your thoughts, you've made me realize that i completely agree with you--it's your work and your final product therefore, make it your own, no matter what the SOC purists would say. thanks again for the perspective.
P.S. i like the Post LR product--great shot.

Scott Thomas  about 6 years ago

I like to think of it more as developing, bringing out the pixels that best serve the image. I think the photo that you developed of the eagle vs. the one that the camera developed is a more compelling image. Well done.

Kaleb Foo  about 6 years ago

I try to avoid overdone post production effect but use whatever tools I know to enhance my photos' message. When I do that I realize that I may cross the boundary from straight reproduction of the actual scene to another form of expression. I also realize the more I look at my photos the I more I want to enter into the digital darkroom and there are some more things to do after that. IMO people who insist on SOC shots are usually equipment dependence--much focus is put on what their equipment can do.
BTW, great shot and post, the eagle stands out from the audiences, my own preference is to remove the top vignette and retain the bottom so that more audiences can be seen.