I just finished editing a bunch of photos I shot at a friend's daughter's Confirmation and my niece's wedding shower, and I realized how important photo editing is to presenting your family, friends, and potential buyers with nice pictures they can enjoy for years.
I like to shoot candids, and that doesn't always allow you to compose your shot well before firing. (Hey, I'm not a pro, okay?) Post-editing can crop out distracting backgrounds and adjust white balance if you've run from shooting outdoors in natural light into a room with fluorescent lighting.
Post-editing can unleash your creativity as well; we've had a Photographer of the Week, Brian Matiash, who wrote about HDR; others convert their images into black-and-white for a more dramatic effect.
Of course, we also know that we can get carried away with post-editing. Photoshop lets you do weird things with your images, including making them look like watercolor paintings! In fact, some photographers have made a business out of just such transformations.
One thing that is verboten here at the Globe and at all reputable news organizations is altering reality. Photographers have been fired for enhancing photos to make a brush fire look worse than it was, for example, or eliminating something that was in the original photo -- or even combining images to introduce something in one photo that wasn't there when shot.
So the first rule for this contest is: No altering reality! Yes, I know you could argue that shooting in or converting to black-and-white is altering what you saw; I'm talking about altering physical objects.
I'm fine with HDR, or with leaving just one element in a B&W photo colored for effect, etc.
The main goal of this contest is for you to show off your editing skills ... how you cropped effectively, dodged or burned a bit to highlight a focal point, blurred a background because dammit your lens is a 3.5 and you just can't afford that 1.2!
It means you'll have to upload two photos - before and after. Since the photos appear in the gallery in reverse chrono order, please upload your edited version first, then your unedited version. That way we'll see Before, then After.
Since this is a bit of work, I'll eliminate all the fields asking for shutter speed, f-stop, etc. Instead, in the comment box, please describe in detail what you did and what editing software you used.
I'll also give everyone until the end of May for this. It will give us time to catch up on the judging of the outstanding contests. Plus I have an interesting Photo Challenge for you. See the next entry for more details.