Post-Processing and Editing…
Post-Processing involves adjusting the photographic properties of an image file. This includes color balance, tonal values, attention to highlight and shadow detail, fine-tuning of verticals, and cropping.
Editing goes one step further by altering the content of an image, such as making physical changes to an object, or eliminating unwanted distractions such as debris, signage, electrical cables, electrical outlets and switches, and wall or floor vents. It may also include adding elements not in the original view or making creative changes to the image.
After selecting those images which best meet the client’s requirements and vision for the project, the RAW image files are carefully post-processed in order to conform to the technical and artistic goals of the project. Those post-processed images are then edited to eliminate unwanted elements that happened to be captured when the camera first recorded the image file, or to make changes to its content that will further enhance the important features of the file’s subject material.
The following examples illustrate some of the differences between post-processing and editing:
RAW IMAGE FILES
This shot was made with the camera mounted atop a 25 foot mast (shadow in the foreground) in late afternoon in order to benefit from direct sunlight on the building facade. However, the shadows of utility lines and poles, as well as power lines above the distant horizon, a wind-induced tilt to the camera, and the sour color tones typical of a fresh RAW image make this image unacceptable for any client.
POST-PROCESSED IMAGE FILES
This post-processed version of the above RAW image has been adjusted for white-balance, exposure value, highlight and shadow detail, tonal values, and sharpness. The horizon and verticals have been corrected, and the image has been slightly cropped. Many times post-processed images are ready for use without additional editing. At other times, such as with this image, editing is required to make the image acceptable to both the photographer and the client.
EDITED IMAGE FILES
The final edited version of this image has had the shadows of the utility cables and poles eliminated, the asphalt cleaned and darkened, parking lines and curbs enhanced, sidewalks cleared of debris, power lines in the distance eliminated, and the image further cropped. Such changes have now resulted in a nicely balanced image suitable for the client's portfolio.