There are two popular types of philosophies shared by creative photographers. There is the purist who believes in-camera technical settings rule over any post processing creative freedom. Another words, a photo should look exactly as the camera produces it with little help in post production. When I say little help, I mean minor color correction and brightness/contrast adjustments as well as cropping. The integrity of the frozen moment in time should be the art of photography-technical know-how at his purist form. Most professional photographers who stick to this rule can accomplish their needs, please their clients, and save a lot of time by avoiding time intensive post production work.
The other philosophy shared by creative photographers is that of the self-proclaimed artist, photo enhancement specialist, touch up artist, or whatever cool sounding title you can think of. This philosophy is based on taking a photograph that is good and making it much better through post production, including obvious changes that would obviously never be performed by a photographer who prides himself on the purist philosophy. This photographer prides themselves on the fact that they know they will be spending a lot of time at the computer making basic cosmetic enhancements to all out metamorphosis with their photos. This creative photographer wants to be sure that he/she has left a lasting impression on the photo by altering it through his/her own creative vision.
While I can appreciate both philosophies, I tend to lean toward the latter philosophy. With the emergence of technology, you really can make a believable square wheel nowadays; well, you know what I mean... And I have always had that itching mentality as to how I can get something to look even better than it does in it's current state.
I should mention, however, that I am not condoning the practice of settling on taking crappy pictures just because you know you will be editing them in Photoshop later. That is indeed a tremendous waste of time. It's very important that you use solid shooting techniques, so you have the best possible photographs to work with before you get to the post production steps.
I think the ultimate point I am trying to make is that you shouldn't let anybody, including your art teachers or professors, tell you how your images "should" look. Believe it or not, this applies to both philosophies. Make your work/art your own. Express yourself freely and be proud of your accomplishments!
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