I often feel guilty when editing my landscape images. Deceitful, dishonest, to the point where I begin questioning whether I'm making my images better, or covering up my apparent lack of skill and talent using a camera.
Because (as that little voice in the back of my head tells me), if I were truly good at photography, I wouldn't need to edit my images. My images would be fantastic, straight out of camera, and require little-to-no adjustments thereafter.
Digital raw images always require some edits (typically contrast and saturation), but once I go beyond that, I begin questioning my every move. The longer I sit and and edit, the less adequate I sometimes feel.
This may sound foolish, but it's true. As much as I respect the art and craft of digital photo editing, I'm happiest when my images don't require extensive edits. When the DNA of an image is so good, little if anything needs to be added or changed. In those moments (which don't happen very often), I feel more like a "photographer" and less like a "digital artist".
But this isn't just an aesthetic choice. I also see minimally-edited, straight out of camera images as being more authentic, honest and real. More respectful and humble, for the image isn't about me, but the inherent beauty and character of the landscape.
I doubt I'll ever stop feeling self-conscious about my images, but the words of a famous documentary filmmaker have helped me see things differently. To better understand the objective eye of the camera, and why truth, authenticity and realism may not be what's actually important.
Learn more by checking out my latest video below.
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