You’d be surpised at how much your camera does with editing pics!
If you are using a Canon camera, you can turn off some of the in-camera editing.
To turn it off, you need to be using one of the Manual modes (You know, one of these: B, M, Av, Tv, P—but NOT C: change anything in C, and it will only be applied to C—none of the other modes [from my understanding]).
After you do that, you browse through the menus until you see a setting called “Picture Style.” This applies a four settings that will be burned into the JPEG image: sharpness, contrast, saturation, and color tone. For minimal in-camera editing, use either “Neutral” or “faithful” Personally, I use Faithful—I think it applies the least amount of editing.
You could also turn off the “Auto Lighting Optimizer.” When this is on, the camera plays with an adjustment called “curves” to brighten certain parts of the image it thinks should be brighter (like faces). (source: http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/digital_camera_features/auto_lighting_optimizer.do)
You could also turn off High ISO noise reduction (under the C. Fun II submenu), and the Peripheral illumin. correct. (this takes care of lens vignetting)—I wouldn’t though.
I think that about does it. I leave most of these on—but the only thing I’d turn to “Faithful” would be the picture style.
If you are using a Nikon…. you’re going to have to do your own research. 🙂