Why your SOOC image doesn’t impress me at all

In the last couple of months there has been a surge of images posted SOOC which means ‘straight out of the camera’.  It means that the image had not been edited in any way on the computer before it has been released into the wilds of cyberspace.

Having been seriously into photography and been online in a lot of photography places, I am somewhat puzzled by this sudden influx of SOOC images.  Mostly I wonder WHY?


Edited in Lightroom

Why do you want to release what are often flat, low contrast, uncropped, low saturation images?  Why would you be pleased for people to view them and judge your work accordingly?  Why do you think your camera is so amazing that there is no need for Photoshop or Lightroom or Gimp or Elements or One One or DXO or any of the many other image editing programs to exist?

What really makes me curious is this attitude or feeling in these posts.  That they are *proud* to announce their image is SOOC.  That they are almost challenging the establishment.


Edited in LR

OK I get the purist attitude.  Back when I was new to photography and didn’t know what my options were, I was a purist too.

Time and education taught me that post processing was a viable option, that you can edit your images and have them looking natural.

Mostly I was just delighted because for years I struggled with an inability to make my images look like how they should – either a lack of my skill or the technology meant they were never as crisp or as contrasty or as vibrant.




Quite simply I was uneducated in what image editing software could do.  And afraid that it would be too hard for me to learn.  After all it took years to learn to use my camera properly.  Surely the software would be hard too?

Yes it *was* hard to figure out.  Lightroom is not software you can sit down and figure it out without help.  Bought a book from Scott Kelby.  Went to workshops, watched YouTube videos.  Hired a guy to come in and spend a couple of hours teaching me the tips and tricks he knew.



Eventually got to a place where I knew enough to know that more education was needed.  This coincided with the release of LR5 and a vast improvement in the software skillset.  Buying some video tutorials that showed me the power of the radial tool and how to use the ND grad in LR transformed my whole outlook on what the software could really do.

So I don’t know if you genuinely have unrealistic ideas of what your camera can do – yes you can see amazing images in the National Geographic competitions where they allow only the most minimal of editing.  If you have the right subject, with great light, and a snappy composition or action scene, and you have the time (and the knowledge and experience) to set your camera up, yes you *can* take a really great image that may not needing any processing.

But the images being discussed here are usually from learners, people still figuring out how to drive their camera.  Still struggling with the concept of light and how to use it well, not quite figuring out composition etc.

So why would you waste an opportunity to improve your image with post processing?


Edited in LR

I am not sure if its fear of learning a new thing, if it is lack of time, or funding for the software/computer necessary?  Is it a lack of education in what post processing can do?

Personally I don’t really care, beyond the fact I think you are letting yourself down by insisting on SOOC.  What I would really like though, is for those who insist on SOOC as a choice, that they should be open and honest about why they are doing it.  For some people it may well be the best option for them for a variety of reasons and that is quite OK.  Just to be clear here, shooting in JPG and not editing your images is a valid choice – lots of sports photographers do it for speed of uploading images to clients.

However proudly announcing your image is SOOC in a photography forum filled with lots of photographers who are judging your work, and your choice not to post process – without knowing why you are choosing to go SOOC – yeah, not really sure of the point of that myself.

Claiming “I’m a purist” isn’t a reason, its a cop out.  Been there, done that  🙂

Be honest with yourself.  Be open to the possibility that editing images may have some benefits.  People like me who know stuff, are often happy to help and offer advice.  All you have to do is say … Help me please, I don’t know how to do this, can you give me some tips?

Tell me, lovely readers – do you commit the sin of editing?  Or are you pure in your photography worship?  Why?

Edited to add a link to a video (5 min) that explains this concept excellently


Edited in LR


About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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36 Responses to Why your SOOC image doesn’t impress me at all

  1. Bren says:

    Even in the days of film and darkrooms, images were processed so instead of chemicals and a darkroom today we use software… Even Ansel Adams processed his photos. The only time I ever use or put up SOOC images is if I am doing a Before/After post. That way people can see the powers of Lightroom, Photoshop etc.

    I read an excellent post by Leanne Cole on Digital Photography School http://digital-photography-school.com/its-your-image-do-what-you-like-to-it/ which basically says, it is your image, do what you like with it… all that matters is that you like your editing… yes it is a bonus if other people like your image… but in reality there is always someone somewhere willing to tell you they would have done this or they would have done that.

    To me the processing and editing of a photograph is what makes an image… imagination and inspiration is what makes a photograph pop. I am a firm believer in editing photos.

    • lensaddiction says:

      I follow Leanne as well, she has some skills with PS I admire a lot. Yes lots seems to use Ansel as an example, but they don’t seem to realise just how much he did back in the film days – if you have no film experience I guess its hard to imagine how it could have been done. I only have the vaguest idea myself having only had the most basic experience at hand developing.

      • Bren says:

        Composition, light and perfect photography conditions rarely exist at the same time… Yes if you have the opportunity to revisit somewhere when the light maybe right or at a different time of day… all the good. But in reality sometimes you just don’t get those perfect conditions and it is the editing process that makes your image.

        I can’t get over all this SOOC stuff and trying to make you feel like you shouldn’t have edited your photograph. I think it is a phase that some are going through… even with renowned photographers… some images they create I like some I am not so keen of, but they all use some form of editing. I just hate this attitude that if you can’t produce SOOC shots then you are not a photographer at all.

      • lensaddiction says:

        Yes if we were all professional photographers with the time and options to travel to wonderful locations and stay for a week to capture the perfect image in the best light, but in reality, you are there at the moment you are there with whatever conditions you get handed, and have to make the best of them.

        Its like the whole “if you don’t shoot in manual you aren’t a real photographer” – that really rips my panties too 🙂

        I don’t question the choice to be SOOC, it is a valid choice. What I really question is their reason or motivation behind announcing its SOOC.

      • Bren says:

        Oh don’t get me on the ‘manual’ one… 😀 😀 like you that really gets up my nose…

  2. Leanne Cole says:

    Great Stacey, love it. you have really put it out there and I agree wholeheartedly. This SOOC seems to be a new thing, it certainly didn’t exist in the days of film, that’s for sure.

    • Bren says:

      I have never worked in film… but even I can understand that an element of processing happened in the darkroom. This is a great post and really hits the nail on the head for those of us who do edit their photographs.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Yeah I really don’t understand where it has come from or why – and its the attitude that SOOC is somehow better that is quite irritating

  3. Bas Meelker, a famous Dutch landscape photographer, claims he hardly edits his photos. He only adjusts white balance and adds some sharpening and contrast. His photos are amazing. But he does use polarizer filter, ND and graduated ND filters while photographing.

    I am still learning how to edit my photos, but I am convinced it is a necessary skill.

    • lensaddiction says:

      I haven’t hear of him, will check him out. Yes to get it right in camera, you need to manage and shape the light and hence the use of filters. I have some too but still learning how to use them myself

  4. desleyjane says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head, it’s the unknown. You said that people think it’s going to be too hard to learn the software. It’s not, it’s certainly no more difficult than learning how your camera works! I process every single photo before it goes up anywhere. Even iPhone shots going to Instagram. I totally get your annoyance with the proud SOOC announcements.

  5. leecleland says:

    I haven’t come across this SOOC stuff before, obviously I’m not on enough forums, but the attitude really puzzles me. If you’re taking photos to share with the world why wouldn’t you make the effort to put the best image you can make out there – and that includes processing of some sort!


    Tastes vary, and a term that allows one to easily know which intention applies can be useful.
    To some the difference can be important without needing to be seen as being judgmental.
    More on that in 3rd paragraph below.

    I suggest a term such as ‘SAO – “Standard Adjustments Only”. Adjustments can be and are applied both in and out of camera, and an image to which in-camera white balance, tone shaping, sharpening and more have been applied is essentially no different than if the same adjustments are applied subsequently. One is SOOC, one is SAO. The result CAN be identical. This requirement is well recognised and defined for eg press photography. A somewhat wider definition may be useful in allowing people for care about the difference to know if they are viewing what is essentially an artwork, as opposed to an *attempt* at depicting reality or a close interpretation of it. .

    I think that for most people the desired ‘boundary” is not ultra-purist-SOOC but an understanding that the image is of something that MIGHT have been seen in reality. ie Are we seeing works which are closer to being human art to depicting the creator’s art?
    Is the image derived in some unknown and unknowable manner from one or many sources of raw material, or is it a record of how a scene did or *may* have looked? This is, perhaps, the key element behind SOOC / SAO / Other – The “may have” is (to some) important. SAO sets an outer limit to “may have”. Having some agreed limitation on what constitutes SAO would provide an indication of what is being viewed, for those who care.


    TL/DR 🙂

    I think a better term than SOOC is needed, or an undersytaanding of what is intended by ‘SOOC’.
    Some who use the trem mean exactly that (but may need brain add ons to read RAW files directly 🙂 ).
    BUT the statement ” … SOOC which means ‘straight out of the camera’. It means that the image had not been edited in any way on the computer before it has been released into the wilds of cyberspace.” is rather tighter than many would think necessary. The “standard” adjustments of colour balance, cropping, gamma adjustment, brightness, saturation, sharpening and a few more CAN be carried out “in camera” if the ‘right’ camera is used, and a RAW file legitimately allows the post-application of many settings which could have been applied in camera.
    I’s suggest that any of the above well enough meet the understanding of SOOC that many have.
    The point )or area) of differentiation is where backgrounds are changed, the train grows fewer or more wheels, the disks on the harrow are larger or smaller, or people appear or vanish from group photos. If the core subject material is as it COULD have appeared to the eye or as recorded by a camera, then I suspect that the core intention of SOOC to most people is met.
    Maybe we need an equally memorable acronym to convey “standard adjustments only” [SAO?] and perhaps a good understanding of what SAO does and doesn’t include.

    Re the image examples offered:

    The seascape seems SAO enough, although the rather bright bust od CYANish sky feels unlikely in such an otherwise somewhat somber scene.

    The edited Steam Engine image seems acceptably SOA, even though the brain suggests it may be somewhat more ‘nice’ that reality may usually offer.

    The disc harrow image may well be genuine SOA. Whether the improvements have been overdone is a matter of taste. To me it looks too like the manifestly artificial HDR examples which are common enough and I would not aim personally for that ‘look’ **BUT** that’s entirely my taste and others are we\lcome to differ. Whether some SAO boundary has been crossed can be determined by formally defining SAO limits – as is done for eg press hotography.

    Brilliant beach sunset. Probably meets SAO. Overdone to my taste others are most welcome to have different tastes than mine (and it’s probably a good idea to :-). )
    I think I feel it is ‘overdone’ because the *original* is so magnificent as to be almost unbelievable. To be able to say “that how it really was” allows appreciation of the original magnificence. One it is “acceptable” to take a dark and gloomy sunset and transform it into a brilliant display then any brilliant photo may well be ‘just’ a work of human art and not a view of the world as it is.
    In this case the difference is nowhere near that great, but, once such large differences are possible then one cannot be sure what has been done.
    This is, perhaps, the key element behind SOOC / SAO / Other – are you seeing works of human art or the creator’s art? Is the image derived in some unknown manner from raw material or is it a record of how a scene did or may have looked? The “may have” is (to some) important.
    SAO sets an outer limit to may have”. The “disc harrow” edit screams to me that “may have” has been exceeded (and that may not in fact be true). My personal preference is to see images that were or well enough may have been. Others may equally or more appreciate viewing skillful examples of human art, that may or may not be derived from reality.
    Tastes vary, and a term that allows one to easily know which intention applies can be useful without being judgmental.

    • lensaddiction says:

      First of all, may I thank you for such a thoughtful and considered reply to my post!

      I agree with your concept of SAO – makes a lot of sense to me. However in the examples I have seen recently in some FB groups, they really are unedited out of the camera, possibly cropped, rarely straightened, and very low colour saturation and contrast and often incorrect WB – so that leads me to my assumption that SOOC for them really is untouched by a computer other than to download from the camera and then upload online.

      Regarding your assessment of my images offered up as examples:

      1. The seascape is the Tessellated Pavement in Tasmania, taken with a Lee Big Stopper for a 20 sec exposure around 1pm on a fairly windy day. The unedited image has a strong blue cast from my filter, which was adjusted in LR with white balance. The rest of the image has been edited to reflect the conditions on the day. I have touched up the clouds in the sky with an ND grad as they were a tad overexposed, but everything else was pretty minimal.

      2. Steam Train – except for going a little hard on the clarity slider because I liked the effect where it really bought out all the shiny trim on the train, my usual editing is to change to daylight WB, even out the exposure, up the whites, add some blacks, adj the shadows a tad where necessary, add some clarity and a touch of vibrance. Pretty much what happened here.

      3. Harrows – yes this one is a bit overcooked, the sky was quite blown so I was a bit heavy handed with the ND grad which has given that HDR black sky look at the top. The rest of the image has had a tad too much clarity, but by the time I got the sky done I decided just to go with it as I liked the presence it gave the harrows in the landscape. This was also edited about 3 years ago, so shows the limitations of my skill and knowledge at the time 🙂

      4. Taylors Mistake Sunrise – again not a lot done to this, with the astonishing colours it didnt need much. I put a reverse ND grad over the sky to tone down the brightness of the horizon, I adjusted the WB and the exposure and bumped up the pink tones a smidgeon because thats what it was like when I was there – it may seem overdone but I can tell you mother nature had it *all* going on that morning and my image barely does it justice and so its almost coming up short.

      Lots of people have said they prefer the unedited versions and thats OK, if I didnt have a good image to start off with I am wasting all our time here. I can’t help thinking that except for the Harrows image which is overdone to a noticeable extent, that without the comparison, would the editing be judged as it has been?

      And to reiterate my original point – I don’t judge the choice to go SOOC – what bothers me is this attitude that it is a ‘superior’ choice somehow. I don’t agree with it, nor do I understand what its coming from, and I suspect for a lot of them, they don’t either. It may well be a ‘fad’ like the Instagram style, I dunno?

  7. I totally agree with your point of view. Way back in the day when I did my photography in the dark room we always edited the photos. It was a rather expensive process with the small increments of editing to get where I wanted the image to be. Everyone edits, even small amounts. Most of the photos seen in National Geographic would have been taken in Camera Raw. To get the richness of the image. I have no patience for those who insist on minimal editing. You can take a soso image and really add the pizzazz and make something more of it. I love editing. So much fun.

    • Bren says:

      Totally agree… I love the editing side of processing photos… see what you can do… and how far you can take an image. To me that is all part of photography.

    • Actually it took me a while to love editing, I did it because I had too but it wasnt til I got LR 5 and did the course that taught me about the radial tool that I really began to enjoy it because I was doing it conciously, with knowledge and intent

  8. green_knight says:

    Almost everything I do is SOOC. I like Photoshop (well, other apps with similar abilities) as much as the next person; I appreciate PhotoArt immensely as an art form in its own right – but I try to get it right in the field, to make the most of the light, to get the framing spot on, to find interesting perspectives.

    There are edits that happen because of technology: White Balance (which I don’t always remember to adjust in the field) and noise reduction. I also consider cropping images of birds and insects to be fair play because it’s impossible to get a frame-filling shot of a swallow in flight with the technology I have available to me.

    But other than that, I choose to spend time in the field taking photographs over time spent at the computer editing them. I think there’s a danger of sloppiness involved: ‘I can fix it in Photoshop’ means I have to spend less effort getting it right in the field – if I can always crop, mess with the curves, edit out things that I don’t like I have less incentive to look for ways to work with the reality I see before me.

    I’m not saying your way is wrong. I am saying that if I’d wanted a picture of that harrow I would have waited until the clouds parted. Editing is something I do when I’ve failed to get it right first time and I’ve ended up with an image that’s kind of meh but could be nice enough if I tweak things. And that’s fine and useful, but it’s not what I take photos FOR.

    • Great reply, I really appreciate that you explained your thoughts on the subject. Again, perfectly valid choice and I don’t disagree with your reasoning.

      Its the ones who post a drab, uncropped, crooked image which is poorly composed, underexposed, badly lit with a distracting background – its them I am asking the question – why? Yes you have to start somewhere but its this backhanded slap across the face that comes with the SOOC announcement that I have the issue with.

      The harrows image was always going to be a problem because of the very bright sun blowing out the details in the clouds and throwing the details of the equipment into shadow.

      I could have done luminosity masking or put Lee filters on – but when I took and processed this image, I didnt know about the technique (nor had I bracketed it) and I didnt own filters.

      • green_knight says:

        Are you sure that it’s ‘I’m superior, I haven’t done any editing’ rather than ‘I want to share this picture because of x, please ignore that it’s technically not great’?’ Because that would be my first thought.

        As for the harrow, I think there are three issues here. The first is that if you know that the image is exaggerated, why did you post it? That’s the same question you’re asking of the SOOC folk, so I think it’s fair to bring it up – and the answer is likely to be ‘because it illustrated something and I didn’t pay enough attention to all of the details’.

        Could you have done better with adjustments today? I had a little play with it in Tonality, and the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ – bring out the detail in front while leaving the sky alone. And lo and behold, the ‘after’ image *was* better than before.

        But beyond that, I don’t think that it is as good a picture as could have been taken on the day. You have some lens flare, but overall you have caught a moment where the light was diffused by clouds which renders the whole picture flatter than necessary; and *those* are the items that I’d address in the long run.

        At the same time I think we need to accept that we’re human; we don’t always catch the right moment, and we’re not always at the top of our game when it comes to remembering every single thing one should remember. (Framing. Light. Warm Balance. Aperture. Shutter speed. ISO setting. Trying high or low perspectives. Narrowing or widening angles. Playing with focus. …) I know that I frequently forget one or the other or a whole bunch of them, and then I kick myself later, but the damage is done. At which point the questions become ‘does this still show something that’s important to me’ and ‘can I use something to improve it’.

      • If you had been party to the discussions I had been, which were the reason for this post, yes it was very much the “I’m superior, I get it right in camera Ta Da!!!” attitude. And then they post an extremely average image. There was a fair bit of discussion about it in a couple of FB groups at the time and it is a thing that has popped up in recent months. I am not the only person to have seen it, judging from many of the comments I got.

        Yeah the harrows image is problematic, and I posted it because it was an example of an image that I had done, when I had a certain amount of knowledge and skill.

        Im going to disagree with you on the quality of the original image, the sun was simply it a difficult position, and short of coming back on another day a bit earlier to get it behind me, there wasn’t anything I could have done to have framed it the way I wanted to. The sky was heavily clouded and personally I prefer bright sun to be a bit filtered myself anyway.

        Could I do a better job of editing it now? Quite probably? Why did I use it as an example? Cos even tho it is a bit overcooked (and note I fully agree that it is, no apologies here) it DOES show the difference between a RAW and a processed image and that was the point I was making.

        Am I perfect? No far from it.

        Its funny how rather than addressing the original point, the biggest discussion issue had was with the fact that one of my examples was aesthetically less pleasing than it might have been……. 🙂

      • green_knight says:

        (nesting is broken, so I have to reply here)

        I have little time for the superiority complex, though I think it’s fair to acknowledge that SOOC and what you’re doing here are somewhat different things. They’re both photography (just as natural light and artificial lighting differ, action photography and carefully staged motifs, etc. Pictures taken with a camera trap are still photography)

        But I felt that it’s just as likely that people – maybe not those people, but others – post SOOC images because they show something, just as you’ve posted the harrow.

        the sun was simply it a difficult position

        I have spent hours of my life waiting for The Moment. Based on my experience, I will say that even with challenging conditions, you could have taken a better picture on that day if you had been willing to wait. I also think that it’s unrealistic *to* wait for the perfect conditions for every shot you take – even ten minutes per picture add up to a ridiculous amount – so sometimes we just take an imperfect picture and move on. (I also find that if I am with other people, I will allow myself only a certain amount of time to get things right – on my own, I might spend an hour with a cherry tree; in company, it’s going to be a few minutes.)

        How much do you think about editing when you’re in the field? What do you feel you need to get right, and what do you feel you can do just as well (if not better) at your computer?

      • Quote “Based on my experience, I will say that even with challenging conditions, you could have taken a better picture on that day if you had been willing to wait. I also think that it’s unrealistic *to* wait for the perfect conditions for every shot you take”

        I was on holiday, at that point in time I was 5 hours from home, and an hour from my accommodation. The sun was at a less than optimal angle and I shot with the UWA which exaggerated the effect but it was the only way I could actually get the harrows in the shot because the machine is about 15 feet wide.

        Waiting wasn’t going to do anything except waste time because the sun was going to move BEHIND the equipment, and get MORE in the lens. Plus the nice colour tones of the grass in the paddocks and hills in the backgrounds would have been lost. I probably spent 30 min at least walking about, considering my options and taking several frames. You can judge my efforts how you like, clearly, but I was there, and thats the image I took, within the limitations I had at the time.

        Was it the Perfect Shot? No. Could it have been? No not perfect but if I had got there an hour *earlier* it might have been lit better. Did I care that much to go back – no – and the next day it was raining and overcast and bloody awful light so I drove in the other direction, where there were patches of sunlight instead.

        Quote “How much do you think about editing when you’re in the field?”

        I am overlooking the extremely implied insult contained in this question – the insult being that I shoot to edit the problems.

        I try to get as much as I can right within my Raw file – I don’t say in camera because I use filters etc where I need to for creative effect and for balancing dynamic range. I know how to use my camera, and I use it to the best of my ability and as appropriate to the conditions . ( I wish I had had my Lee filters for the image that is *still* being discussed but I didn’t so it is what it is)

        Yes I know that I can change WB and exposure in editing. So do I try and get everything absolutely perfect all the time? No. Only when the stars align and you get composition, and light and subject and you are in the right place at the right time do you get those shots. For everything else I shoot as best I can, and many many of my images never see the light of day.

        Now I shoot for both pure photography and digital art, and sometimes that drives a different approach ie if I am shooting stuff to use as textures or elements to incorporate into digital art I will compose differently, always shoot in very flat diffuse light and minimise shadows. That means I might have to boost it a little more in post to get the best effect but because its being used in combination with other elements its less of an issue.

        My pure photography is treated as such, I come from a nature and landscape background, and that genre does not allow much capacity for editing, the most minimal of global and often no local adjustments at all. So you have to get as much of it right in the Raw file as you can.

        Photography is about composition and shaping the light, if you haven’t got that right, then you are wasting your time trying to polish a turd. Editing allows you to present any image to its potential best, but it can’t make an average image amazing.

      • green_knight says:

        Did I care that much to go back – no

        That was kind of my point. I don’t think that every photo is worth maximum attention from the photographer; they’re just not worth it. Life’s too short.

        You don’t have to defend this photo though I’d be curious to see how you would edit it today.

        I am overlooking the extremely implied insult contained in this question – the insult being that I shoot to edit the problems.

        You read an insult where none was meant. But if photography, for you, is ‘taking pictures in the field and afterwards editing them at home’ I assume that you know the limitations of your tools (including ‘this could be fixed but it would take too much time’ – the equivalent of ‘staying another day to take a picture of a harrow’ so to speak). For me, editing is something I do rarely, and while I am aware of adjusting curves and bringing out shadows, mid-tones or highlights, I don’t have a feel for what a raw picture *could* look if I edited it, so I tend to end up trying out various settings and messing with them until I’m happy.

        There are so many things one has to try to get right that no-one will master all of them all of the time. I know which ones I tend to make; I wonder how that equation looks when one has a completely different toolset available. (The question here is whether I’m holding myself back by working as I do. I’m happy to be convinced, but for that, I want to learn more about how post-processing works for people. By which I don’t mean the advertisements of ‘after pictures look soooo much better’ but how it fits into the workflow. Do you ever have conflicting visions for an image that make you try several edits before you’re happy with one, or can you look at a scene and see its potential? (When in doubt, I will under- rather than overexpose; when photographing fast-moving things I will choose a wider angle because it’s easier to crop than restore a piece that’s cut off. Those are the things I do, though they usually end up academic; but I would expect you to have your own set of preferences.)

        (As an aside, I’ve browsed Flickr a little for SOOC images; I think I understand your horror a little better. Some were breathtaking, but overall the quality was less than I’d expect from Flickr groups, and that includes ‘photo-a-day’ groups where people just upload their phone pictures.)

      • OK with more context and explanation, I forgive the possible insult 🙂

        Quote “Do you ever have conflicting visions for an image that make you try several edits before you’re happy with one, or can you look at a scene and see its potential? (When in doubt, I will under- rather than overexpose; when photographing fast-moving things I will choose a wider angle because it’s easier to crop than restore a piece that’s cut off. Those are the things I do, though they usually end up academic; but I would expect you to have your own set of preferences.) ”

        When I shoot, given the time and the space to be allowed to do so, I will try and compose the image in several ways, go big and wide, focus on details, different angles etc.

        There are some things I keep in the back of my mind, frex its easier to bring back shadows that are a bit dark than it is to recover blown out highlights. When shooting buildings or structures that I intend to use perspective adjustments in LR to fix I have to take a wider shot to allow room for the edit to be adjusted within – if you shoot to tight you can lose the top or sides of things

        when it comes to editing the final image it depends on what I am editing for – is it a nature shot so it has to be minimal? Do I need to do some post pro to fix an issue that revealed itself later (like a wonky fence or powerlines or something)

        Am I feeling a tad creative and want to go in different place with it?

        A lot of the outcome depends on the image, why I am taking it and how its going to be presented.

        I think the heart of what you are asking, is do I conciously keep all the possible ways I could edit in mind when I shoot, and the answer to that is yes and no. I see editing as a tool to get the image to its final state, its not an outcome in its own right.

        My level of capability and knowledge is such now that I know what I can do, and what the software is capable of when I am driving it. So if its a cloudy flat day, I know the light will be flat but that I can boost the exp and contrast a tad in editing to give it the depth it would otherwise be lacking.

        Possibly the best answer to your question is the day I was out in Kettering in Tasmania, it was heavily grey and overcast and patchy rain when I stopped. I went down to the marina full of sail boats and wandered around taking photos when a guy approached me (it was very lightly misting at that point and I had my camera and tripod setup on a walkway) and he asked me why I was taking photos on such a dreadful day – the weather was awful and the light was dull. I smiled at him and said, but it will make a FABULOUS black and white image, and it did, one of my fave images from the trip.


        Thats what the power of editing means to me, to know that I can capture an image in a specific time/place or moment, be it OK, good or if I am very lucky, great, and I can bring it to its full potential, whatever that might be.

        I may not have the opportunity to capture that image again ever, so take what you can get, and get the best out of it 🙂

        Quote: ” I think I understand your horror a little better. Some were breathtaking, but overall the quality was less than I’d expect”

        Yeah its not good, and as I said in my original post, there are professional people out there doing it and making a living. It can be done well if you are willing to put the effort into it. And it *does* require some effort. Too many of those trumpeting SOOC are simply shocking and I am at a loss as to how people can put them out in public and be proud of them. I’m so judgemental that way!

  9. artcouk says:

    The farm machine edit photo is problematic for me. Visually and intellectually.

    • Yeah it was a tad over done at the time so I get why it is problematic visually. Im at a loss as to how it challenges you intellectually tho?

      • artcouk says:

        Probably just me being overly analytical. Thanks for the acknowledge, on the visual aspect though.

      • It was shot with an Ultra wide lens and I was VERY close to it to get it all in frame and I composed it to get all the sky deliberately, so if your analytical brain is hiccuping about that it can be done, if you have a 10mm capable UWA lens but yes it can be a bit hoopy on the perception.

  10. Paulaart18 says:

    I shoot in raw and edit. Nobody appreciates pictures that come out straight away from camera. It is graphics not photography though.

  11. mrmickca says:

    IMHO, I think that one should aim to take an image SOOC with the objective of applying no or as little post-processing as possible.
    I’m a big one for making prints of my image and I usually crop to fit the print or because my original composition wasn’t spot on. I sometimes enhance colour saturation as well, among other small tweaks.
    I don’t usually mess with things like white balance though. If I didn’t get it right in-camera, I didn’t take a good shot.
    Post-processing to me is about enhancing or improving the photograph. Not about fixing mistakes.

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