I got in to an interesting discussion with a prospective client about post processing trends the other day. We were having a wedding consultation and he commented that he liked the ‘cleanness’ of my photographs (thanks!) in contrast to some of the other local Bristol photographers he has met. I asked him what he meant by this just as a talking point to make sure I understood his meaning and to get some feedback. He responded that the last photographer’s images were very grainy.
He put this down to the photographer’s camera ability which is an astute assessment but it made me laugh because I have noticed a lot of photographers, not necessarily in Bristol but world wide adding Photoshop grain to their images in an attempt to give them a film like quality. Personally I think this can look really good when done well. I have experimented with it because I like this effect but I don’t think it is for me. I see a lot of this and when it isn’t done subtly looks BAD (like most post processing.) The effect seems artistic and gives the photograph a feel and quality that you don’t often see in today’s digital age.
This got me thinking about post processing techniques, when to use them and why. It’s that compromise that exists in photography. Do you risk being creative and original with the knowledge that this may effect sales? Or do you shoot and process images to make them sell?
Grain is just one example. Textures, 70′s polaroid colours, selective colouring, vintage effects and HDR are other examples I have seen which seem to go through phases of popularity.
I like to think I try and fit in the middle. Where the photograph needs a little something to make it come alive I will use a certain post processing technique. But I try and shoot in camera with my own style tailored towards what I have discussed with the bride and groom. I think it’s good to be creative and do your own thing whether that’s in camera or post processing (as long as it’s doesn’t involve selective colouring!)
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