I have had a lot of thought about this subject over the past years. As I look at the images of other awesome photographers and some not so awesome (but we all have been there) and compliant how far the finished capture is from what game off the camera. I think we have to be careful to not be totally dependent on post processing techniques and software. I am a Photoshop guy and I do enjoy presets and Actions. But I NEVER allow my ability to do post correction to effect the way I capture the shot. My goal is ALWAYS get it right from the camera.
I must admit there are times I have to fight the urge to smooth the skin, or apply a filter. I believe the best shots are those we get straight from the camera. Marketing and clients desire sometimes means we have to add all the bells and whistle; however there has to be an outlet for that which is straight from the camera.
I had a photographer buddy who sent me a link to view the work of a photographer he had just discovered. He was on the phone about 20 minutes after he had sent the link. “He man have you looked at this dudes work?” I replied.. “I do not know what his photography is about, but he is an awesome Graphic Designer.” If you are a good Graphic Design you can make also must anything to awesome.
We must keep in mind when viewing some images that you will never obtain that look for a capture straight from the camera… it is the process of Post Processing…