Well over the years the debate of whether you should post edit your shots or leave them as they come out of the camera, has been one that provokes a bit of a mixed reaction. Some photographers are all for post editing and some photographer are heavily against post editing.
Myself I sit kinda on the fence a bit, I believe that it is possible to get a great shot straight from your camera and it not to need any post editing at all. However I think this mainly applies to certain areas of photography such as landscape photography, as you can take a shot that just works and although you can add something using post editing techniques, landscapes can look best just left alone.
When it comes to getting and being published and in particular fashion and portfolio work, this is where I think that post editing is almost a must. Put it this way if you are taking shots of a model for their portfolio, you want them to look their best and this although possible to do straight from camera, is best done with some form of post editing, and although most editing I do is minor I feel it adds to the shot, and in my view the best editing is, particularly high fashion, when you dont know and cant tell the shot it edited, and in any publication you buy the shots will have had some form of edit to make them work.
One area that always users post editing is that used by digital retouchers and digital artists, who can take an ordinary shot and make it into something spectacular, and this is where post editing really shows its worth, this can also be recovering old photos to their past glory.
OK so there are some people out there who say that they never edit, and I know that I can take a shot that looks great straight out of the camera, after all thats the art of photography, but as I always shoot in RAW I am required to use post editing to make the shots usable. So anyone who shoots using RAW format will always post edit their shots.
What does Air Brushing Mean?
You may have heard the term "air brushed" used in the press and on TV and have always wondered what it means, well its simple really its the term used when an image has been altered using post production tools such as PhotoShop, so other common terms are photoshopped but in essence they are all the same.
OK now for an example
If you take a look at the shots below, do you think these are straight out of the camera?
Now you can clearly see why I think, particularly in fashion photography, post editing is a must. I agree that the best editing is done so that the shots look like they have not been touched, and this is what I hopefully achieved in the finished shots. Oh in case you cant guess the first two are the finished edited versions.
So it is my view that post editing techniques are something that are required in any professional photography, its kinda like the polishing stage. Its not to say that their is anything wrong with the shots before post editing, its just that without this finishing you are not giving the model, makeup artist, stylist and client the best they can get.
Now I admit that I am not a digital retoucher I am a photographer, I just know enough to make my images work, I think that if you want that something extra in your shots such as fantasy, special effects, etc its better to get a professional digital artist / retoucher than to do it yourself. So my photoshopping limits go as far as smartening up my shots and thats it, if I need anything else I use a digital retoucher and you should too. Remember there is a huge difference between simply making minor tweaks to your photos and digital retouching, so dont let anyone tell you anything different.
Bit of an Update
After getting loads of people talking about editing, and after spending a bit of time trawling the web, I thought I would see if I could find a good resource for editing and a basic how to. Thankfully this wonderful web comes up trumps some times and I found a great site by Evan Sharboneau with loads of tips on how to create great photos by editing. Please go and take a look and get a copy of his great E-Book now