I'm actually NOT a big fan of Picasso, but I believe that we can learn something from him when it comes to post processing.

Let's quick off by an easy test, from these two pieces, can you spot the Picasso and the Da Vinci?

naked man


It was a trick question, the answer is BOTH. You see, Picasso's skills are not limited to child like drawings, he had the skills to render realistically. He could if he wanted to paint you and me in a very life-like manner, but it would not really accomplish his Vision. His Vision is better rendered in child like, weird drawings, not life likeness.

How does this relate to post processing?

In post processing we develop much like the lifelike painting of Picasso, we go for the average exposure, the conservative white balance, the accurate colors, etc. We instinctively develop to reproduce what we saw in front of us, but not what we Saw (Capital S, aka Vision).
Real life sucks folks, everybody on earth sees the grass as green, so why process the grass as original green? All humans at all time always had a gut wrenching feeling that there is something more, something transcendent, why not express that?

This is what I saw biologically (Shot with GRD IV):

street photography processing before-1

This is what I Saw, my Vision (Lightroom + My Presets + Dodge & burn:

street photography processing after-1

Isn't that why Ansel Adams said Great photographs are CREATED? What you get in your SD card is not the end, it's the beginning. When you click that shutter release, it's a means to an end. You do not shoot an end product but you shoot the canvas on which the finish product will be built on.

Why you don't know about these paintings
Picasso could draw and paint realistically, but no one knows about these paintings. Don't believe that Picasso is what he is because his work is simply different, it's because it's emotive. It's child like paintings are charged with his Vision. Reality never reflects what you want to say, it only reflects reality. Reality is what everyone of us have to live with 24-7, photography is a chance to let yourself and the viewers of the photograph escape that for a moment.

If the viewer was at the same vantage point, this is both of us would see (Ricoh GRD IV):

street photography processing before-2

We would both see boring real life. But because with the tools available (Camera + Computer + Silver Efex + Lightroom + My presets) I can actually show that person a glimpse of my world. This is exactly what I anticipated and Saw:

street photography processing after-2

The camera is dumb, the computer is dumb, no matter how powerful. Only YOU can extract the stuff you need out of them. I personally have yet to see unprocessed images able to convey the Vision of the photographer. Vision is usually a step above real life, it's something you put your hands up to reach. I don't mind showing off my photographs right in camera because I know they are half way there to my Vision. I set up my cameras (Nex 7, Ricoh GRD IV) to shoot in a specific black and white, so if someone asks me to show them the photo I wouldn't mind because it somewhat accurately depicts my Vision. If would emphatically say no if I was stuck shooting color though, because the image is too far removed from my Vision.

Picasso's tips
A gleaning from Picasso is for  you to process your photos the way you Saw them, not the way you saw them. The artistic process is such that you can see something (with your eyes), and See something different. The camera is such that you can only record reality, but you can process to convey your Vision.