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Today’s Photo Tip (#182)

When I speak with some photographers about their images and make suggestions about what I recommend they do to improve the quality of their work, the subject usually turns to Photoshop. A couple of the photographers have said that they make every effort to get it right in the camera, while fixing it in Photoshop is not an option. I applaud this attitude BUT sometimes it not possible to get it perfect in camera 100% of the time. An example of a heated discussion I’ve had recently was I could have fixed something in Photoshop in much less time than it took him to fix in camera. When I asked if he just took that on as a challenge to get it right regardless of time or expense or is it his lack of understanding of editing software. His response was that I’ve used Photoshop for longer and know how to use it and he just couldn’t be bothered learning.

This attitude towards Photoshopping is a two way street, for all those apposed to using the program there are an equal number who embrace it. As you can probably tell I’m an embracer. Editing a photo is not new, it’s been around since photography began. There were darkroom techniques invented to edit images during the developing stages. Even a 1 hour photo store edited your images by changing colour and altering the brightness and darkness of your prints before you saw them.

The only people taking photos who shouldn’t edit the images they take are those in the evidence gathering business and those working in the news gathering field. Editorial and evidence photography should never be tampered with, but Mum’s landscape image might need to be tweaked to better represent the memory of the scene. I definitely don’t have a problem with removing the coke can from my image if I didn’t see it before taking the image.

Editing images isn’t the issue, scapbookers cut out the unwanted parts of a photo to make collages, painters choose what paint they commit to canvas, movie editors choose what we see and what ends up on the cutting room floor. No-one says anything against that. I think the problem is a lack of understanding the place that editing images has in today’s world. Editing is expected by most of today’s clients. They want the photographer to remove the blemish on the chin, they want Johnny to look his best.

Editing photos is no longer the voodoo magic it once was. Go online and you’ll find tutorials everywhere. There are so many editing programs out there not just Photoshop. 15 years ago you would have struggled to find someone, outside a graphic design studio, with any knowledge in “Photoshopping”. Now they teach it in school. Is it bad? No. It just a sign of the times. So are you a “Nah I’ll fix that later” or “Must get it right” kind of photographer? So get with the times and learn to edit your photos, otherwise you’ll just get left behind.

Happy Shooting

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