To Process or Not To Process? Let’s Discuss


Often when I’m looking at photos in forums online, or interacting with photographers in person, inevitably someone will proudly claim that the image in questions is “Straight out of the camera”.

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To process or not to process? That is the question…


This article adresses the question of processing with great detail, applying it to different situations and contexts. The author expresses his point of view on photo processing : according to him, no photograph ever is truly “out of the camera” . According to the picture style chosen on the camera, the device already operates some processing of its own : how to handle colors for instance.

He believes people should not be reluctant on using darkroom tools (RAW processing, Photoshop to adjust filters and layers…).

He also explains in which cases processing a photo is absolutely out of the question : for photojournalists for instance. As their duty is to report reality through photographs, aside from color correction, dodging and burning, and a few other light adjustments, image manipulation is absolutely forbidden. But removing or adding elements? No way.

For other photographers, such as ones covering large events, for example soccer tournaments, image processing is out of a question as the pictures need to be sellable straight away. This means the photographer has to work on the exposure, white balance, saturation…on the spot.


He also notes that, although he believes there are many tools that are perfectly good to process pictures, photographers who figure there should be no post-processing option often are better photographers, as they know what to do on the spot more than others. Because spending less time on a computer also means spending more time outdoors, shooting.


To sum up, the author of this article gives a great explanation of picture-processing : when it can not be used, how it benefits photographers or rather, how some benefit from not editing the image after it was taken.

An interesting, detailed explanation that may give answers to people in various situations.