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Why is it necessary to process your photos?

All digital images need processing in some way, and it’s up to you whether that happens primarily in-camera or using software on your computer.


Post-processing is the processing that happens after you’ve taken your shot, usually on a computer. This type of image processing falls into two broad camps: the technical and the creative.

Technical processing is all about getting things right. It’s about optimising the exposure in an image, getting the white balance spot-on, controlling contrast, saturation, and sharpness, and a host of other tweaks and changes that ensure your image is – from a technical standpoint – good. It is often done in an attempt to make the image as true to the scene or subject as possible, but it also forms the basis for further creative adjustments.

If you’re shooting JPEGs, then most of this should be done in-camera, because processing your images after the fact can degrade image quality. However, when you’re shooting Raw, a lot of these things can – and arguably should – be adjusted and set in post-processing.

Creative post-processing

Creative processing applies equally to Raw and JPEG files, and this is where you start to make your images your own. It can include multi-shot techniques such as HDR and stitched panoramas, or it can involve using a plethora of filter effects, combining multiple elements from different images, manipulating colour and contrast in an unnatural way, or perhaps converting a photograph to black and white.

A lot of the time, post-processing involves both technical and creative adjustments, but processing possibilities are virtually endless (especially when it comes to the creative use of filter effects), regardless of whether you shoot JPEG or Raw.

Complete Photography is Chris Gatcum’s 400 page guide to take you from beginner to expert photographer. Take the guest work out of your picture-taking and understand not just what to do with your camera, but how and why this affects the photos that you take. Whatever your camera, learn how to make a bigger, better impact with your photos.

Complete Photography, Chris GatcumComplete Photography
Chris Gatcum

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RRP for print edition: £16.99