For many of us, photography is a form of art, or at least there is an artistic process behind it. More than that, each of us strive to have a "style" that is an artistic consistency to our work. Photography, however, is quite different from your traditional art-making process. There is as much technical knowledge required as artistic or creative inspiration and thinking. This separates the process into two distinct parts: the shoot and the edit. These two parts are equally important to your identity as a photographer.
The shoot itself is vital to your photography business and your photographic aesthetic. Your work ethic, people skills and personality, lighting techniques, and camera skills are put to the test. If the shoot is bad, your image will likely suffer the same fate. Let’s get past that point and think specifically about the edit. Photoshop can’t make a bad photographer good. You have to shoot with the edit in mind.
Once you get back from your shoot with your talented model, makeup artist, stylist, and location, you import your images into your raw editor of choice, cull, and start editing. As a portrait photographer, there are a few steps that are essential in my editing. Any other photographer following these steps will achieve a different result. That is what makes us all different as artists. We may do the same things, but we will never do them the same way. This process differentiates every photographer and separates the good from the bad. So, let’s consider this hypothetical: a client asks you to shoot images for their brand, regardless of the genre, you edit them, then send the finished files their way. They say that they love them, but tack one strange question on the end: “would you mind sending us the unedited versions of these?”
Hopefully, you’ve been hired for your style and renown. To be very blunt, your editing is as vital (if not more) important than your shooting skills. The edit is where the magic happens. One of my favorite examples of this, while a different genre, is movie trailer recuts. One glaring example of how different editing can change the tone of a movie is this Harry Potter trailer edit that makes it feel like a teen comedy. The footage in this edit is purely what is found inside the film itself.
What changed then? They decided to not show certain parts of the movie in their version of the trailer and to show certain pieces that contribute to that mood. There's also different music overlaid on the footage, which has a huge effect on mood. An extremely similar effect can be had on still photographs.
The important thing to remember is that your work is your work, and that is paramount. In order to keep yourself well-represented, the work that you deliver needs to be your work, not just partially your work. It isn’t about being spiteful, it’s about being respectful to yourself as an artist.