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Is a digital photo always post processed? I would say yes since all cameras capture the digital image in RAW format and then in some cases automatically process the image into a JPEG picture. In other cases the camera just stores the unprocessed file and you as photographer or someone else have to “develop” the RAW file into a picture. All of this is of course not anything new to all of you reading this.
The question is how much post processing can be made before an image change from being a authentic photo into pure art? In my opinion there isn’t a very clear or sharp line between these two art forms.

In this picture I have tried to visually stay on the "photographic look" side of the scale but I have done a lot more post processing than most cameras are able to do automatically for you.

Here are the details behind this picture:
I believe the flower is a lily and part of the Hemerocallidoideae family.
The photo is taken handheld in our garden and with a Canon EOS60D with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at focal length 140 mm.

So far nothing is very special.

But this is not just one shot, it is three so called bracketed shots with the aperture f 2.8 and shutter speed 1/500, 1/2000 and 1/125 at ISO 100. Each shot is stored as a RAW file.
From these three RAW files I used PhotoMatix Pro to create two new digital versions of the scene.
One of them is tone mapped and the other is fused.
These two versions are then put on separate layers in Photoshop and by using layer masks the background is selected from the fused version and the flower from the tone mapped version.
Then I did some sharpening using both High Pass and Smart Sharpening filters together with edge masks. Finally I cropped the scene in order to compose the final picture.

Is this too much post processing? Well it is up to you to judge. Is your judgment depending on what you see in the picture or the knowledge on how it is produced?

Regardless which conclusion you come to I hope you like the picture.

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

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