This is a quick blog post for (mostly beginner) photographers who do not post-process their images. If you already edit and process your images, skip this post, it isn't for you.
I can't believe how many photographers I meet who profess their love for landscape or portrait photographers but don't process their work. If they don't get it right in camera, they delete it.
Raise your hand (virtually) if you have ever taken an underexposed image? I know I have, many times.
Have you ever traveled to an amazing place, or captured a moment you can't recreate? Well, you just might want to post-process that image to make the most of it.
Intentionally underexposed image shot in raw
If you shoot an images like this in RAW format (vs jpeg) you can likely save it and use it. It may not be a magazine cover, but for many of us you really just want to remember a memory and a feeling of a place in time.
3 Reasons to Post-Process Your Images:
1) Underexposed photographs may be salvageable.
If you shoot in Raw format you can often up your exposure and shadows in post processing, whether Lightroom, Photoshop or some other program and retain a passable shot. The same is often NOT true for over exposed images. Once highlights are blown, they may be impossible to recover. Have you every underexposed a travel photo to a place you are not likely visit again? That's a great reason to post-process your images an make the most of them. Take a look at the image below of a tennis player. It is the same image as above I just added exposure, clarity and vibrance in post-production. Pretty amazing difference. One is totally unusable, and one can be a memory. Is it my best shot? Nope, but it nicely illustrates how much leeway you can have in post-processing when photographing images in RAW.
If you are new to shooting in RAW, it is basically an uncooked photo. It needs baking in post processing, additional color, sharpness etc. Each camera manufacturer, (Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.) have their own recipe for RAW images and will look slightly different. Each manufacturer has different names for their RAW files: (Nikon is NEF, Sony is ARW), you can google it.
2) You can fix cropping/leveling in post-processing.
Few things are more annoying in photography than looking at an image which is unintentionally crooked. I'm not talking about artistic choices, I mean a crooked horizon line. It makes you want grab the photo and tilt it. See also cropping using the rule of 1/3's. Try to put a point of interest in one of the intersecting points in the rule of 1/3's because it will help make the image interesting. You don't have to do this, but it can enhance the image.