Processing your photos as a creative and artistic act — it is an artistic thing that you do!
You don’t *need* to post process your photos, you can “pre-process” them!
One of the huge conveniences of shooting with a JPEG filter or film simulation on your digital camera — it is a form of “pre-processing” which makes your photographic workflow much easier and more streamlined.
One of the huge benefits of this is that it makes life easier, if processing your photos is cumbersome or a pain in the ass. This is one of the things which I loved about shooting film, and having someone else process the film and scan it:
With my photography, I was able to maximize my joy (maximize my enthusiasm for shooting photos, and then the joy of seeing the beautiful aesthetics of the image realized via the film aesthetic, like Portra 400 or TRIX pushed to 1600).
Some people I know really love to process and scan their film themselves. But for me, I hated it — I liked the zen of shooting film (the delayed gratification of seeing your photos later, and not being able to review your photos so quickly).
Process your photos to highlight, accentuate and bring to light the details you love
When you see something you want to photograph, you probably have some sort of artistic vision. So when you photograph it, think about how you want to shoot it, and how you desire the final version of the image to appear!
Thus the art of processing your photos is this:
Process in such a manner in which your photos and photographic artistic vision comes to light!