This can be quite a contentious subject. Should you edit a photo, or leave it as it came out of the camera. For me, as a professional photographer, I have no choice, as I shoot in RAW. Therefore I have to edit my photos. For those of you that shoot in jpg, you do have that choice.
But if you do edit a photo, how far should you go with it? As a general rule, if people question the image, then you have gone too far.
The images below are good example of what can be done to an image, without it looking fake. If you see the images side by side, you would probably say it has been over processed and fake! But take the ‘before’ image out of the equation and you see what looks like a natural image. I tested this theory by posting the ‘after’ image onto social media, and the response was overwhelming positive, with nobody even questioning whether what they were looking at was real, or ‘Photoshopped’. The location was real – I just changed the weather, tidied up some footprints, and made it more appealing. Now this is a bit of an extreme edit, even for me. But it literally took five minutes to do, and was done to show what’s possible.
So what’s the point of my post? As a professional photographer I am quite often booked to do photo sessions outdoors at a set time, on a set day. This could mean full sunshine, cloud, dark, rain, or even snow! And I have to create images that editors will pick to use. The ability to be able to edit images sets a professional photographer apart from someone that has has the skills to frame and take a photo, but only supply what the camera sees. A professional photographer has to see past what the camera sees, and visualise what an edited, finished image will be.