I admit, I’m as guilty as anyone I will accuse in this post!
I’m guilty of tinkering with my photos digitally until they please me. Who doesn’t? Way back when the Darkroom was still king, photographers tinkered with their photos too. They dodged and burned, chose a certain paper gradation to get the contrast they wanted. They even cropped! And toned… and last but not least they hunted the dust spots. With ink and a very fine brush!