Post processing: before and after examples

(I discuss these pictures on Tips from the Top Floor 681 – Photoshopped to Death)

I get this question a lot: “How much of your photography is real?” and sometimes in a variation on the theme: “It’s all photoshopped, isn’t it?”

While there is the art form of illustration that creates entirely new worlds by compositing existing things and inventing entirely other things, there seems to exist a lack of trust when it comes to general photography. I believe that this is fuelled by many (more or less useful) examples of photoshopped images that are made to trick the recipient into believing they are real. Think fashion and cosmetics. I won’t go into a photo ethics discussion at this point, but my general philosophy is that in general we’re doing art here and not photojournalism. They play by very different rules. Please correct me if you think I’m wrong.

So I’ll do something here that not many photographers do: I will show you before and after pictures of some of my work. There are photographers who do everything to keep up the mystique that surrounds their craft by using complicated language and making others believe they are way more of a voodoo priest than they actually are. I don’t consider myself to be one of those.

Without further ado, here are several examples of before and after pictures straight from my Lightroom library. On the left side you’ll see the image straight from camera, as opened in Lightroom. The right side shows the picture after I applied some contrast/exposure/color tweaks. There is also the occasional cloning out of distracting stuff.

I’d be interested: did you expect more “photoshopping” in my photography? Less? Are you surprised? Leave a comment.

Before and after post processing