Nature Photography - Post Processing

While working on my images, mostly macro photography, I often wonder if I should edit them to look as ‘artistic’ as possible or just stick to the most ‘natural’ way and just correct the saturation, take care of the shadows and highlights and possibly introduce some curves thus giving the images that ‘punchy’ look. With the latter way the image will look more or less as I saw it in the first place through my viewfinder.


Whilst acknowledging that introducing some vignetting and darkening uninteresting areas to get the viewers’ attention to the main subject does have its credit, on the other hand I tend to feel that the image has now lost its natural and real look, even though (in most cases) it looks better than the starting image.


Another thing that I have a dilemma about is cloning of unwanted background and foliage.  Here I am referring to minor details that do not distract or have to do with the main subject but just happened to be there and the image could be slightly improved without.


I would like to see what the readers think about this.

Any input will be appreciated.