All photos get post-processesed. Even when I take ‘em straight from my camera to email, they’re processed – right in the camera, in fact. When you pull JPG files out of a camera, then the camera has already reviewed the lighting, exposure, and color details, crunched it down and processed it. And not always the way that you want it.
Most photos straight out of the camera need a little something extra: a little sharpening to bring back details, a little muting of overly-bright colors, or a little extra saturation for overly-muted colors. Or, if you’re me, you’ll need some noise reduction from pushing the ISO too hard, or white balance correction because you forgot to set that correctly before you pressed the button.
Look at yesterday’s picture, for example. It looks good at smaller resolutions, but if you click it & look closely, it looks a little… overworked, maybe?
Well, there’s more to it than just that. First of all, that was a night shot, but it was shot through my windshield. And not just any windshield, but the one of my car that hadn’t been cleaned (short of scraping off frost or rain) since the previous May. Yes, I’m one of those – don’t care ’bout the car, so long as mud doesn’t get on me & I can see well.
So, I was shooting through glass. Dirty glass. And with a slow shutter speed. With the camera stabilized on the steering wheel, in fact, with the engine running.
There’s no way that picture’s coming out in top condition. But it doesn’t need a huge amount of post-processing, either. The total changes? Light tweaks to levels, a noise reduction to the blue channel (in photoshop, the noise was mostly in the sky), and then a light sharpening.