Speckled Chachalaca

Do you post process or not? How much is too much?

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A comment I see frequently on internet photography forums concerning whether or not a processed photo (“Photoshopped”) is a “real” photo. First, there is no such thing as a SOC (“straight out of camera”) or non-processed shot. If you shoot JPEG your camera processes the photo according to the parameters the manufacturer (and to a much lesser extent your customizations). These parameters cover brightness, color rendition, noise reduction, etc. For me, my photos have to please only me (and my wife-a much higher bar). Hence, I want the most pleasing image I can get. I want my eyes to immediately go to the bird, not other objects in the shot. I am not a Photoshop expert by any means, but I present this shot and the next shot, which is the same photo, only processed through Photoshop. Which do you prefer? The first is a screenshot of the photo I have brought into Photoshop. It has already had color rendition and white balancing.

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