The basic thing that digital photographers need to understand is that all digital photos are processed. For most people, this is done in the camera according to digital processing parameters that you have set for things like Picture Style, White Balance, Contrast, Saturation, Sharpening, Noise Reduction and such. The camera takes "raw" data off the sensor. At this point you would consider this data to be like undeveloped film, rather than a "photographed image". Then the camera uses its software to process the data into a recognizable image and apply the special "touches" that you have specified above.
So, those in-camera settings you have set are like bringing a shot into Photoshop or some basic editing software and applying various settings.
Like I said, most people are fine with letting the camera do all the work. But many people want to bring more out of their images than the basic in-camera settings provide. It may be to "enhance" the "natural" look of the photo, or it may be to apply some "effect" (like film shooters have done using filters and darkroom techniques), whatever.
But one thing many people don't take into account is that the process of developing film and prepraring it for print, and then the actual processing of printing, has always been part of the art and craft of photography. Our habit of leaving film in the hands of a "One Hour Photo" means that you don't have the creative choices that fine art photographers have made use of over all of the history of photography.
In the digital era, the closest analogy to shooting and developing your own film is to "shoot in Raw", meaning that instead of just letting the camera apply all those processing "tweaks", we can set the camera up to just save that "raw data" onto our cards, and then we bring that data into "raw processing software" where we apply "digital darkroom" processing. From there, again, you can move into "effects" and such, and again, such things have always been associated with photography in one way or another. It's just that Photoshop has made them more "accessible" to so many shooters!