Pure photography - To post-process or not

IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
edited August 2014 in General Discussions
This topic was raised on a post processing thread, so rather than hijack that one, I've started this one.
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Comments

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator

    There's obviously no doubt that the people who grew up with manual cameras have more experience regarding camera controls, and that what they (and I) find instinctive needs to be 'learned' by the people who come from the later 'automatic' generation. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does hi-light the difference to me at least between the 'point and shoot, repare in PhotoShop' brigade, and the people who are more inclined to create the image in-camera.
    Just because you are a certain age doesn't mean you have some exclusive right to instinctively using manual camera controls. You are creating a false dichotomy where none exists, and you are tying it to a generational stereotype. Well done!

    Neither approach is right or wrong, per se, but I happen to find a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when what I saw through the viewfinder comes out on my computer screen/printer with a strict minimum of 'treatment'.
    I hope you realize this is a false sense of satisfaction. What does "strict minimum of treatment" really mean? Do you choose the "neutral" picture control setting? Even this setting is being "treated" by the camera with a huge amount of post processing. Please define what you mean and how you are achieving it so we can all understand. RAW is the absolute minimum treatment that the camera can apply, so I'm confused.
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    I get the absolute sharpest best composed best lit image in raw that I can get. So far I think that I have created the image in camera.

    I then crop, which usually involves changing the aspect ratio to 5:4 or 1:1, but occasionally, as hard as I try when I take the picture, less then perfect composition has left an undesirable element in the frame. If I am cropping for the aspect ratio, I tend to think I created the image in camera as it was probably the plan. Otherwise, it is just an easy to fix mistake. I would agree that if I do this, I have created some of the image outside of the camera.

    But then in post I adjust saturation and/or black and/or white etc. Have I still created the image in camera? This stuff was in the camera. I am just subtracting information to highlight other information - while perhaps this is not strictly true, I think like this to remind myself not to go overboard as I really don't like the "oversaturated HDR fashion". Is it any different if you use camera settings to get a JPEG?

    The way I see it, except for the cropping, I have created the image in camera.

    And then someone else is going to come along with a different idea and I will probably not disagree with them.

    Which gets to the real point? What is the objective of the "get it in camera idea". To me it suggests a documentary type of photography. To me an unprocessed raw file may be realistic in that the "data" is captured but it is not unrealistic in the sense of what the human eye perceives. You will need to adjust colours etc. in post to achieve that. Is the person shooting with a "get it in camera philosophy" trying to achieve realism or are they documenting? Or something else?
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    Pure photography obviously means viewing only the bitstream.

    .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,219Member
    Was using slide film pure and using darkroom tricks impure.... did boosting the ASA on slide film make it impure ??
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    Was using slide film pure and using darkroom tricks impure.... did boosting the ASA on slide film make it impure ??
    What about selecting the film, Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Fuji, Agfa .... all different looks. Or paper, was one enlarger lens purer than another ??

    Choosing where to stand, foreground / background juxtaposition, close with WA or far with tele.

    Form factor of film / sensor. etc.

    Every step involves creative decisions.

    If viewing only bitstream from satellite (all raw converter choice and settings are impure), is ASCII purer than EBCDIC ?, Microsoft or UNIX ASCII (integer and packed decimal / signed decimal have some variance) ??

    This subject pops up constantly and is nonsense (I can think of a less pure adjective).

    .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    edited August 2014
    Pure photography obviously means viewing only the bitstream.

    .... H
    You mean like the Matrix? Who needs an LCD screen when we can have a direct neural implant.
    Post edited by WestEndBoy on
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Pure photography obviously means viewing only the bitstream.

    .... H
    Just Like the matrix
  • henrik1963henrik1963 Posts: 561Member
    The only place I can see where it will make any sense restricting the use of Photoshop is if you want to present news - like photoshopping two people into the same image who have never been in the same room.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,389Moderator
    I think if Nikon marketing deemed it worthwhile to coin the term 'pure photography', we should at least try to get to the bottom of its intended meaning in modern photography. If they had marketed a manual only camera, it would have been clearer, but the fact that the Df had no video gives us some idea that they may have meant as few gimmicks or gadgets in the process as possible perhaps?

    There was a time when all digital camera images needed sharpening and noise reduction as the minimum PP, perhaps now we are at the point where under good conditions all of Nikons offerings can get by without that so perhaps if we capture the image and export from say, LR without any PP, that is pure photography? Maybe we have to stretch that and include exporting images from the camera as a jpg's (I know they include many forms of PP as standard)?

    I accept that 'tweaking cropping' is often necessary, but wholesale cropping is another thing altogether.

    Also, people are forgetting in the above posts that not everybody had a darkroom or the desire to get involved in one so for them, photography was at it's purest - apart from the careless unilateral cropping carried out by the printers, what you clicked was what you got.

    Just posting to stimulate debate really....
    Always learning.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Just for the record I have no issue with jpgs straight out of the camera, but just as what @spraynprey was getting at, the camera is doing a significant amount of post processing to get you there. Using a standard preset on a DSLR is like taking your film to Walgreens. They are "processing" the film (albeit to some reasonable "standard"), but you are at the mercy of the tech running the machine.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    You don't win any prizes for not using the tools available to you. Computer photo processing programs are one of those tools. The beauty of digital that wasn't available for film which I never shot. Nikon RAW files contain so much data you can almost save any photo that didn't turn out how you wanted or thought it would. You can handicap yourself all you want by not pping but basically everyone else is. A coworker of mine always says his photos look kind of bleh and despite good composition don't look that great. He doesn't do any pp work...

    If you can get a picture you feel is the best it can be straight out of the camera then more power to you. I like to think i get pretty close. I rarely crop but i always apply lens corrections and go through most of the other standard sliders in light room.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    @tcole1983 "You don't win any prizes for not using the tools available to you."

    Bravo!

    Ansel Adams made a big deal out of using the darkroom. Most guys I knew from the 60's, 70's and on did, too. Jerry Uelsmann even used multiple enlargers.

    One needs to consider whether they consider the image or themselves the object of importance.

    Pure photography? Pure bullshit.

    Just one opinion, of course, stinky like my armpit and other parts of my body.

    But cause for a much needed reality check.

    My best,

    Mike
  • juliancoltonjuliancolton Posts: 6Member
    I think we all strive to get as close to the mark as possible in-camera; that's not especially noble. Frankly, it seems that half of the general public don't believe you when you deny having fabricated your image with photoshop, and the other half don't know enough to ask the question... in most cases, therefore, the only person who will be impressed by your strict faithfulness to the original scene is you. Then again, photography is largely a personal enterprise to start with.

    In short: do what ya feel.

  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    The only place I can see where it will make any sense restricting the use of Photoshop is if you want to present news - like photoshopping two people into the same image who have never been in the same room.
    Except for Reuters, who have apparently adopted this technique as an acceptable practice.

    .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,389Moderator
    Just for the record, I am not on either side in this, merely stimulating debate (perhaps). I hate PP, but I love it too...

    When I ran a small photography club, we had monthly projects and one of these was an entirely manually acquired image. Manual focus, manual exposure, if flash was used, that had to be manual and - on trust - just one attempt at the exposure. It really made you think hard before pressing that button!
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I am in the "it does not matter how you get there, its the result that count" camp

    My way of working
    I shoot RAW on a D800
    I use one or more auto, settings, if at all possible
    (eg I use aperture priority and auto ISO or manual aperture and shutter speed and auto ISO)
    I shoot a bit wide and crop in post.
    I Use any post production tool, that that is going the result I, or my client wants
    I probably spend as much time in PP as I do taking the photographs








  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    "Except for Reuters, who have apparently adopted this technique as an acceptable practice."

    @haroldp

    News organizations have a particular protocol for gathering stories and illustrations.

    My best,

    Mike
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    @MikeGunter

    As Reuters has been caught several times cloning items into or out of photos that they published as 'news',

    The editors who got caught are still employed there,

    Reuters publicly defended the practice as portraying a 'higher truth'.

    It appears that photographic fabrication is in fact their (Reuters) particular adopted protocol.

    As a former PJ, I cannot adequately express my outrage (and rage) at this practice, as now many people believe it to be common, and I know that it is not.

    Regards .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    This makes me think. Nowadays if you dont apply a filter on your photo on instagram it gets no love.
    Its seems as the mainstream preffers the altered image.
    I tried it before as a test. I took a car photo amd submitted it to instagram. It got little love. A few days later same photo and edited with filters and hdr on snapseed app. Instagram liked it.

    I havent read the other thread but I used to be the get it right in camera how I see it so that in post i dont do much work person.
    That changed when I understood that we dont take photographs we make them.

    Even if I get a "well exposed" photo I still tweak it.

    This weekend I tried to copy @pitchblack technique of how he explained it in another thread of how he got the image.
    I spot metered the face for one pic and Tried other stuff in a few photos.
    I have to now process those photos to get the face with a good exposure and alter the image.
    Normally i would have metered the scene and applied some fill flash and be done with the image and 90% satisfied with the photo with cropping and minmal editing needed.

    Now for photojournalism contest winners have lost the contest for cloning out stuff or extensive PP. IF we are not PJ's then by all means pure photography in that sense wont apply to us.


  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,175Member
    I know the power of editing- there are certain looks that may not be achievable in camera- HDR for instance.

    I just choose not to edit because I enjoy the photo taking aspect, not the editing aspect of photography. That being said, I will still crop and edit as need be. But I can't say I am very knowledgable in editing at all.

    I am not pressured at all by editing because I don't shoot professionally, I shoot for myself and my own enjoyment.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Oh, what a nice place for my opinion….. ;;)

    The world of semantics…. I have no idea what "pure photography" is. I suspect it is a bit like "snake oil" in the promises are great, but the final outcome has yet to be determined…. more… :))

    In the world of advertising, in my experience, the goal was to portray the subject in an as attractive manner as one could. Many tricks to make it look better than the real object. Currently if one goes into a fast food restaurant and orders from the menu, then compares the photographs or at least the advertising images to the product, there is in most cases some similarity, but almost always huge differences.

    In portraits, we fix all sorts of blemishes, even altering the proportions of the face in some programs.

    Landscapes, the color and tonal alterations in either darkroom or computer can be quite striking.

    So, the phrase "pure photography" means ????? Is what Ansel Adams did with landscapes "pure photography" ? Lots of darkroom alterations here.

    Maybe it is "purely" a marketing phrase like snake oil after all…..
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,389Moderator
    Although I basically agree with you Tommie and can't begin to tell you the disdain I feel for 'marketeers', when I think back to my full manual film days there WAS a 'pureness' about the photography back then. It isn't here now - too many gadgets and settings to fiddle with.

    For example manual flash Vs CLS - especially when compensation is needed.
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Ahh, yes, the "good old days". And, I fully agree, there was something special about having simple tools and an understanding of how most of it worked.

    In fact, if I were to have one camera, no post processing allowed, I might think strongly about a Leica M Monochrome and Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2.0 ASPH Lens. This would take me back to the days of really working on the image without all the fiddling with the multiple lens combinations, etc. And, shooting on manual, what I do almost all the time, I find more pleasing to my approach than the other modes…such as "P".

    I suspect I would be very happy without the internet and a computer although we would then not have these interesting discussion forums……. :-h
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited September 2014
    ', when I think back to my full manual film days there WAS a 'pureness' about the photography back then. It isn't here now - too many gadgets and settings to fiddle with.

    .
    Too many gadgets???

    In the days of film I had
    A separate exposure meter
    A separate range finder
    A separate flash gun
    6 different filters
    on one camera, I had to change viewfinders when I changed lenses
    Sometimes I carried 3 cameras; one for B/W , one color transparency, one for color negs

    all in a nice big gadget bag


    pure photography or pure nostalgia?


    Disdain for marketeers????

    Always remember. Marketing is about persuading the punter, to buy something they don't need, with money they don't have, in order to impress someone they have never met

    This was true in the days of film, it has never changed and never will




    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • HipShotHipShot Posts: 507Member
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