I’m sure this question gets asked a lot by folks who think their pictures look just fine out of the camera. I was like this for so long. That is, until I bought myself a copy of Adobe Photoshop. I remember doing this too. It was the year 2000 and I picked up a copy of Photoshop at a discount because I used my lady’s student ID. I’m not sure if there’s a student discount anymore, but that sure helped back then. I think the price dropped from three hundred and something dollars to something like $79 for the full version. It was a great deal and I used that copy for years and years. Ah, those were the days.
Anyway, no matter how great you think your photo comes out of your camera, it can always use a bit of retouching to make it better. The reason for this is because the camera’s dynamic range isn’t as large as the human eye’s. While we, as humans, can see dark darks and light lights, photographs that come straight out of a camera leave some of those shades behind. And beyond that, sometimes cameras simply can’t get the scene right, no matter what you do. Now, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t set your shot up as best you can, because you certainly should. It’s just to say that post-processing is just as important as the photography itself. It really does matter.
I’ll give you a rather radical example down below. I took these photos a few months ago in the fall of 2019. This is one I captured on a trail in Acadia National Park. Can you imagine me trying to print or share this image online?
Boy, I can remember those days so well. I’d take a picture with my film camera and this is how it would come out. Now, do you really think this is how my eye saw this scene? No, it wasn’t. What I saw in real life was much more vibrant. Perhaps not as vibrant as how I edited the image in Camera Raw, but what I saw certainly looked better than the shot above. Here’s the photo after some simply editing in Camera Raw.
This photo comparison really should say it all. So many photos could use a bit of post-processing work. Once you get your hands dirty with doing some of it, you’ll wonder why you never did.