|Pacific Dudes - Avila Beach, California|
I waited over a month to post-process this image.
I have found that it is much better to wait than to edit right away. It's better to procrastinate than to post-process your photos immediately upon getting home.
A common area in photography where people struggle is self-editing. We think that all of our photographs are good. It's not until some time has passed and you're looking back at your old images that you realize that they just weren't as good as you thought they were.
Why is that? Because we have an attachment to our images. We put time, effort, thought and emotions (and potentially money) into our exposures. We have a connection to our photographs which makes us biased. We look at our own pictures through rose-colored glasses.
With time this bias fades. Our emotional connection to our exposures slowly disappears. By waiting to post-process, you are allowing yourself the opportunity to view your exposures with fresh eyes.
It's important to see your exposures with fresh eyes because that is how viewers will see your pictures. They don't have your bias. They don't know the back story (nor do they care).
With fresh eyes you are better able to delete mediocre images. You are more likely to notice which photographs you should keep and which ones you shouldn't. You self-edit more effectively.
This will save you time. You'll spend less time editing mediocre images because you'll realize that the exposure isn't worth your time. You will more easily recognize which exposures are good and which ones are not.
Besides saving time, you'll also appear to be a better photographer. You'll keep fewer forgettable photographs that you thought were good but really weren't.
How much time should you wait? It's up to you. The longer the better, but if you can hold out for at least 30 days I think that's good. There are a few photographers who are purposefully waiting an entire year.
Don't be in a rush to edit. By all means procrastinate! Waiting to post-process your photographs is beneficial because it saves you time. It also means you'll be sharing fewer mediocre images, making you look more talented.