Process to continue what shooting starts
Think of photography as one single, continuous action, from shooting right through to processing, all of it working to the same end
Each time you shoot, there’s a reason and a motivation, which may or may not have anything obvious to do with exposure, colour and contrast. We may not always think about it at the time, but usually there are some qualities in the scene that simply attract us. For instance, you may like the way the light flares and suffuses part of the image, or the sharp pattern of dark and light, known as the chiaroscuro. If you’re reasonably aware of this as you’re shooting then you’ll probably already be thinking of how you’ll process the image to make the best of that effect.
Even if you’re thinking about more fundamental things than the play of light, such as the right timing to capture a gesture or expression, or a conceptual idea such as conveying a sense of emptiness in a scene, you’ll almost certainly find that processing can help (or hinder) in getting that across to the viewer in the final image. Strong photographs generally have an idea behind them, and if you can articulate that idea, even just to yourself, finding the processing techniques to enhance that idea will be more straightforward. The results may be nuanced rather than outstanding, but that doesn’t make this kind of attention to detail any less important. In this delicate scene on West Lake, Hangzhou, China, the aim was to replicate a traditional Chinese brush painting, with its use of white space and lighter ink wash to convey depth and different planes. Particularly important to achieving this was separating the planes of the boat and the peach tree in blossom