To post-process or not? This is a somewhat philosophical question. It is also a very controversial one. Some people claim that photo should be seen the way it gets out of the camera without any adjustments. Others do adjustments freely and sometimes even take it to the extremes. So what is the right thing?
Any photographer, even an amateur one like me, has an opinion on this issue. And here is mine.
I think that even if you don’t adjust anything after downloading your photo from the camera, it is already not faithful to reality. It doesn’t have “real” colors or the “real” white balance. That photograph looks as your camera “saw” it considering the settings you set. There is no such thing as one and only reality. So even by the action of pressing the shutter-release button you are already making adjustments to the reality.
Another thing is that even before you press the shutter-release button, when you building your composition, you are already adjusting the reality by making the viewer of your photographs see things the way you want.
Then what is the difference between these “adjustments” and adjustments in Photoshop like contrast, levels etc.? I don’t think there is a big ideological difference. In my opinion you are free to make any post-processing you like as long as you manage to convey the meaning, the idea, the story of your work to the viewer – just like any other art.
Of course there may be adjustments or extremes that people go to in Photoshop that I don’t like. For example – any kind of fraud, I mean editing the original photograph by changing or adding (or detracting) some features in it, and then saying that this is how it was from the beginning.
But if you present your photo as work of art, then personally I relate to it only in this way, and examine only the final result whether do I like it or not.