This Is Why You Shoot Raw & Post Process Your Images

Raw Files Post-Processing

If you always shoot photos when the light is perfect, then this post is not for you. If you can always capture the perfect composition in-camera then please do not read any further. However, if you often shoot photos in less than ideal light and with less than ideal framing and composition … This post is for you! This is why you shoot raw and post-process your images to create great photos.

Post-Processing Raw Images
The first photo is after post-processing. The second photo is straight from the camera.

Like many photography hobbyists, this craft is something I fit into other activities like vacations, day trips and afternoon strolls. It is rare for me to be out shooting photos during the golden hours of sunrise or sunset. It would be nice if I could, but life gets in the way. Nevertheless, I want to create compelling and frame-worthy images. Here’s where shooting in raw mode and post-processing skills make all the difference.

Post-Processing is Your Modern-Day Darkroom for Better Photo Quality

Look at the photo featured at the top of this page, and look at what the camera captured before post-processing. The final post-processed image is the reason why I captured this image. However, the harsh midday sunlight was captured in a very unflattering way by the camera. I had to tweak the shadows and highlights in this photo along with the color temperature to pull an appealing image out of the default photo captured by the camera. Why is this necessary?

The human eye along with the brain is always doing post-processing to optimize what you see before you. That is why what the camera sees does not always match what your eye sees or your brain remembers. How do you make what the camera sees come closer to what you saw and remember when you captured the photo? The answer is post-processing!

Post-Processing Digital Raw Files
The post-processed image on the left is closer to how I want to remember this scene (original raw digital image on the right).
raw digital image post-processing
The final processed image.

Post-processing software such as Adobe Lightroom Classic or DXO Photo Lab are tools that help you to bring the image closer to what you remember and why you took the photo. These tools all have a learning curve. However, there is a plethora of free tutorials on Youtube that can help you to master these tools and greatly enhance your photography. In fact, you will see greater improvements in your photography by mastering these tools than you will ever see from a camera upgrade. Every photo seen on this website has some degree of post-processing.

Post-Processing, Your Modern Day Darkroom

The legendary Ansel Adams ‘post-processed’ every image he created in the darkroom using the photo-manipulation techniques of the day. Modern day digital raw image post-processing techniques recreate and expand on the traditional techniques used by film photographers in the darkroom.

If you have been shooting standard .jpeg photos without post-processing, you are in for a treat. Post-processing is the modern-day darkroom that will extend your photography skills far more than a camera upgrade or more expensive lenses. It takes time to master these tools, but that is true of any artistic undertaking. Hopefully, this post will inspire you to learn post-processing if you want to get more from your photography. -SplurgeFrugal!



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