Digital Impact on Post Production

Digital Impact on Post Production

Today it’s time for me to delve a little deeper into the digital impact on post production, and photo printing. To most people ‘post-production’ probably consists of adding a filter on a photo before posting to Instagram, or perhaps at a push doing some small adjustments of the brightness or vibrancy of a photo to give it that little extra something. All of this can be done in a few quick clicks on pretty much any smartphone these days, but not so long ago it wasn’t so easy.

Photoshop is the best friend of many amateur photographers, but even that has only been around since the 1990’s. Before then there was little that could be done to change the way photos looked. You couldn’t airbrush, filter or alter photos in any way, they were as they were. Professional photographers were lucky if they could make a few simple changes to their photos by adapting the development process, but this was nothing compared to the capabilities of anyone who owns a smartphone these days. Even digital cameras didn’t possess the editing capabilities modern phones do, in fact even DSLR cameras don’t have these abilities.

This is all for a reason however, as those who are most likely to want to edit their photos to a great extent are us who are more invested in the process of photography. Those of us who have taken to this as a hobby or a potential career in more recent years have it easy. We have a plethora of editing software’s at the tips of our fingers and we can make simple adjustments to our photos in seconds. Now imagine not being able to make these adjustments at all. That is what it would have been like for people like us not so long ago, before Photoshop existed.

The Dark Room… 

Photos used to be developed in what’s called a ‘Dark Room’, in which different chemical mixtures were used alongside specific paper to develop photos. Chemicals had to be precisely measured out and mixed in a particular way to ensure the best results, kept and used in a specific order or else they would not work. Enlargers would be set up so the image on film could be placed below a lamp and exposed on the photo-sensitive paper for a few seconds (depending on the desired exposure). This was something that would be down to trial and error in some cases and is one of the few elements of this process that could be changed. Too long an exposure time and the image would come out to dark, to short and the image would be too light. This was the only real thing that could be done post-production, everything else needed to be done before the photo was taken, making photographers lives that much harder- as if carrying old school camera equipment around wasn’t bad enough.


Thankfully, for us it’s so much easier to edit. There is a plethora of editing apps and softwares available for use, some are free and others charge a fee. If you’re fortunate enough to be a student like me you can get the entire creative cloud for a fraction of its original cost (which I would totally recommend taking advantage of) which gives you access to what I would argue is the best editing software, Adobe Photoshop. Maybe I am a little biased because I have been using Photoshop for YEARS, but I just can’t seem to get the hang of the other options (Lightroom is another photographer favorite). Unlike the dark room these softwares allow you to make a plethora of changes in minutes, the most basic being cropping images, or adjusting the brightness/contrast. More detailed edits can be made just as easily, the colour levels can be changed, specific elements of an image can be selected and separately edited, the list goes on.

These types of applications are widely available, you can even get really high quality apps for your phone, which makes editing Instagram photos on the go a breeze. They make editing much more widely accessible to people of all abilities, are easy to understand and pick up and for those who might want to develop their skills to a more professional level there are likely millions (I haven’t counted) of videos on the internet that explain how to do literally anything you could want using these different softwares.

It’s safe to say that these new apps have made editing much easier, but I for one quite enjoy the darkroom process as I find it to challenge my skills. Despite this, without Photoshop I don’t think I would have been able to produce some of the images that I have produced in the last few years and there is no doubt that its portability and wide range access allows millions to get into editing who may have never had the opportunity before.

Join me next time when I will be talking about the future of photography, where it is going and what might happen to the kind of photography that we know and love today.

Thanks for reading.


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