Please show unprocessed photo

I guess you heard it at least once or twice about your photos: “I like your photo but please show unprocessed version” or “your photos don’t show how this place really looks”. Quite frankly I hate it. For me unprocessed version is like almost empty canvas or quick sketch for a painter. Something that is very initial version of the final image and isn’t intended to closely resemble it so showing it to the viewers could give them wrong idea about finished picture. And when looking at the finished painting no one asks painter to show this sketch or asks him about brushes or colours he used. Because it isn’t important. What matters is finished image. Same is true for photos.

That’s why I never share unprocessed photos apart from my post-processing workflow series but its purpose is strictly educational and is targeted towards beginner photographers to give them some ideas and inspiration about post-processing. Unprocessed photo for me is like negative from film era – it more or less shows how the image will look but it shouldn’t be showed to the wider audience as it needs developing. It’s RAW material I’m using to form final image.

The problem with photography is that many people don’t treat it like art, they demand it closely reflects reality. They think of photographers as craftsmen not artists. The problem is photography is art and always was. Even the word photography itself literally means drawing with light (from Greek: phōtós – light; graphein – to draw). And drawing (or painting) is widely accepted as an art form. Why should we photographers need to limit ourselves? I see no point in it. I don’t want to be limited by anything other than my own creativity and my vision.

Finally what does it mean that something closely reflects reality? For me it would mean using only 50 mm lens, shutter speed of 1/30 s and aperture between f/2.8 and f/14.0 – these are equivalents of human eye. Using anything else, including sharpening, changing white balance, zooming in/out or even using faster shutter speed is not realistic. Not to mention black & white photography, long-exposure photography or even macro photography. Any change from this basic parameters mean that photographer doesn’t capture reality but shows his vision of a scene.

Daily photo – Blue water

Ok, now it’s time for a daily photo 🙂 And to match topic of this post – it’s highly unrealistic by definition as it is a long exposure photo taken in Mexico during sunset.

If you have read my recent tutorial about composing images (make sure to read it if you haven’t) then you might be interested to learn how I composed this photo. I used golden ratio rule to put big rock in foreground in one of the intersections (bottom left) of the grid and a few other rocks in one of the other intersections (top right).

Also the rocks create virtual leading lines that draw viewers attention towards background.

Blue water

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Sony NEX-6 (read my review here)
Lens: Sony E 10-18 f/4
Focal length: 13 mm
Aperture: f/20.0
Exposure time: 20 s
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: Cokin ND X variable density filter
Technique: luminosity masks
Software: Lightroom 5.3, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity