Often when I tell someone that I need to edit my images, his/her first thought is that of me changing the subject's physical appearance in Photoshop. I won't deny that that happens, just look at any magazine, but there is so much more that goes into the editing process that the average person knows nothing about.
Of course the goal is to get as much correct in camera as possible; this saves editing time. However its not always possible to achieve exactly what you wanted in camera (I always tweak my images, even if its as slight as adding more contrast). Sometimes you're limited by gear or location, and other times the vision you have for your images doesn't exist in real life.
I was editing this image I recently shot and thought it would be the perfect example of how post-processing can take an average image and give it that wow factor you envisioned.
This image was back-lit at sunset. In order to get the subject properly exposed in camera I would've had to either blow out the background or add a light source. I liked the intensity and mood that was created by having a darker image, so I didn't want my background to go to white and I didn't have any secondary light sources with me at the time. So instead I slightly underexposed the image in order to save detail in the sky. Since I shoot in raw, I knew I could bring back some sky detail and with Photoshop I'd be able selectively bring the exposure back up on my subject.
You can see from the final image I brought back some detail and colour in the sky and lightened the subject's face. I also darkened the landscape around her in order to emphasize the back-lighting. I added more contrast, boosted the colour of her eyes and lips, and though subtle I also changed the colour tone of the shadows to add to the more intense feeling I was going for. With a little post-processing work my image went from being flat and not an image I'd post anywhere (except here apparently) to one that I'm proud of.
Model: Kat Walter instagram/@imjustkat