I'm hoping this does not come off too ranty but it needs to be addressed. I have had this issue come up about 5 times in the last two weeks and I let it slide but it needs some attention, or education in other terms. This entry originally came from a place of annoyance but I have to recognize people just don't know these things.
As professionals it is our job to educate our clients on what is okay and not okay with the work we give them. At the end of the day we give away an artistic product/work. If you receive photos from a professional photographer... do not edit them yourselves. We cringe when we see a photo we've spent an hour retouching destroyed by a Mayfair instagram filter or some weird grunge texture from your Nik FX software.
You may be given photos at different levels of "completion". Every photographer is different with what they send you in terms of resolution, amount of editing, watermarking, proofs, edited images, etc. I can speak to what I provide and what I expect from you.
What My Clients Receive
I send clients proofs. Meaning these are photos that are narrowed down for them to select their final retouched images. All of my proofs have some degree of editing which could include exposure, colour correction and cropping. These proofs in many cases are close to a final product. Because they are close to a final product I don't mind my clients posting these images online (for now, I may change that policy in the future).
It is at the retouching stage where I make certain choices. Aside from editing out blemishes, stray hairs and all the usual stuff it is at this stage I decide how to further process the image. Sometimes I process the photo in black and white or do specific colour grading that I think is appropriate to the image. These are the "final" images that my clients and myself should be showing off to the world.
Clients Editing Photos
When clients are posting images it is really important that they do not alter the image. People may like the aesthetic of how their image looks with a certain Instagram filter, with changed exposure settings or cropped a certain way. It is not appropriate for anyone to change the images they have been given. The photographer has made conscious choices to create the photo in a specific way and the work needs to be left as is. One exemption I make is for head shots where certain profile pictures only have the option for a small square avatar.
Some people may say it's no big deal or they noted it's unedited or filtered. The problem is others may view that work and think that is the level of photograph they receive from the photographer. It is not an accurate representation of that photographer's artistic vision or technical skill.