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?
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.
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?
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