Look at the images that you find attractive, and you’ll see that each and every one of them has been “edited”, “filtered”, “photoshopped” or in some way, processed. One of the best things you can do to make your images stand out is to post-process them. Wait! Before you browse away from me, at least read my top five reasons to edit images!
If you shoot RAW, (and you really should), remember that cameras, by design, store flat, least contrasty images so that they capture maximum information for you. This is precisely the reason many complain about the images coming out of the camera being “soft” 0 they are soft so that the image maker can enhance them to taste.
Not editing is like giving your viewers a bag of M&Ms — in the wrapper! Sure, they know the bag has M&Ms in it. They can even feel it, but they have not seen the brilliant colors of the candy nor have they tasted it! Well shot images are so, so close, but no cigar!
It takes much less time than you think. Especially if you learn to batch process. Even on a phone, you can edit one image in about five minutes and then click away another dozen in the next five. On a PC or Mac, batch processing is even faster. In my case, I use my phone for most of the casual/travel photos and my iMac for my painting-like landscapes.
Editing makes you think critically about your images. When you zoom into an image or look at certain areas, you might find flaws like blurry images, specks of dust, blown out highlights or shadows that have no detail in them.
…and most importantly, Reason #5
Photography is an art form. Art is about interpretation, so if you do not edit, you are not interpreting, rather you are merely showing us what the camera saw – a flat monotonic photo devoid of the emotions you wanted to express in the image.
To circle back to my original comment. If you do not edit, you leave the viewer unsatisfied and are simply relying on the photo to tell the story. I want you to think about your interpretation of the image that you took, not the camera’s interpretation! Hope I’ve been able to convince you to improve your images by editing them prior to posting or printing.