I think my very favorite thing apart from getting the "perfect shot" during a session is the fun I have when playing with photos during post-processing. Even though sometimes I put it off longer than I should because I do know it's a tedious process, it is one of my favorite things to do.
Last night I finished editing the sessions from my Thanksgiving Giveaway and I was so happy! There are about 4 or 5 images from the W. Family Session held last Thursday night in Greenville, NC that I really love and will put up here. Most of the photos are just "ok" to me. Not that they aren't good but I don't really have much of an emotion with I see them. But these few really speak to me and make me happy! I think that's the purpose of post-processing - enhancing what was there in the first place, what made you take that photo, what made you feel something.
In the W. Family Session I believe that I took around, maybe 80-100 photos. During my very harsh weeding out process, I narrowed it down (I actually deleted a few last night) to around 30. Not every image that I deleted was bad but to me, it didn't have the visual appeal that I was looking for, nor did it make me feel anything.
There were two images that were less than perfect. One, the little girl (we'll call her Little A) wasn't completely in focus but she was looking up at me with her big, brown eyes with a very intent look on her face. The soul I saw in that photo kept me from trashing it. The other image was one of Little A and her brother, Baby J. Baby J was lying on a blanket, one hand raised as if in a wave and Little A was standing behind him out of focus. I kept it. The dynamics worked. I guess the point is, if there's soul in the photo, even if it's not tack sharp or technically perfect, don't throw it out. Work with it until you get the emotion you're looking for.
While post-processing is about retouching minor flaws in your image I think more importantly, it is about finding yourself and the soul of the subject (whether that is a person or a flower) within the shot.
Next time you begin post-processing, look for the images that make you feel and let you know the subject was "fully there" when the image was shot.
Here I am again because tonight I am taking pictures of our Christmas Tree and I found a great little article here (http://www.elizabethhalford.com/2011/12/05/how-to-photograph-your-christmas-tree-how-to-get-twinkle-bursts-of-light/) about doing just that!!! I will post pictures if I get any good ones!