James – let’s imagine that you’ve just returned from taking photos. As you look at them, you wish perhaps the sky was a bit more bright or that one of the colors in the scene wasn’t so dull or that you could eliminate a certain item in the photo. With today’s ‘post-production’ tools (software), you can make those kinds of adjustments and enhancements to your photos after you’ve taken them. There are some very sophisticated software packages like Photoshop, Lightroom, On1 Photo Raw, and many others that have tools, filters, and adjustments that you can apply to your photos. One of the key skills you’ll want to develop as a photographer is how use one (or more) of these programs to ensure your photos look the best they can. Being ‘proficient’ means you understand and can easily apply things like cropping, saturation, color enhancements, shadows, highlights, filters, and many more tools and settings that are available in these types of programs. Knowing how to use them and where they fit in your workflow is a vital and critical skill. But one word of caution! The more I look at the photos of others, and edit my own, I recognize that photographers have become increasingly obsessed with what happens after the shutter is pressed – and not before. We’re relying way too much on post-production tools to correct, adjust, alter, and change our photos. Instead, we should concentrate more on being a better photographer and make those adjustments before snapping the picture. That being said, post-production tools can certainly ‘enhance’ a photo and make it go from ‘blah to beautiful’ with just a few simple adjustments. Find a post-production tool(s) you like and learn how to use it proficiently. I will send you another lesson in a couple of days.