Photoshop…You Bet!

December 10, 2012 § 4 Comments

"The County Fair"

“The County Fair”

I recently saw a discussion about the use of Photoshop in photography today.  Many of the people participating in the discussion had a very negative view, even to the point of asking “are we photographers or Photoshoppers”.  I look at Photoshop as a wonderful tool, and as with any tool, it can create wonderful images or create really lousy looking images…depending on the skill of the person using it.  I hear people saying that something is “over the top”…especially when discussing HDR.  I may not like what someone does, but if that’s the look they were going for, then I guess it wasn’t “over the top”.  I learned the Zone System in school, but I have a feeling if old Ansel was alive today, he’d be trying to create the perfect HDR.  As far as creating special effects, check out Jerry Uelsmann, Duane Michaels, and when I started out in the early 70’s, Pete Turner.  These guys were “doing Photoshop” before there was a Photoshop.  Another complaint I hear, is when it appears some photographers do not pay close attention to details when shooting an image be it the lighting or composition because they can later, “fix it in Photoshop”.  Being someone who shot nearly 100% transparencies when starting out(except for the occasional B&W), I learned that you really had to get it right in camera, and then you still bracketed your ass off.  Sometimes though, you just have to do your best under the circumstances and what you get still needs a lot of help.  Here are some examples.  The “County Fair” shot was something I just walked up on and I had to take the shot right then and there…even though there were people, and other things cluttering up the scene.  The “Chicago Skyline” and “Chicago Bridge” were shot holding my camera out of our car window while driving down the interstate…no chance to really compose the shot the way I would have wanted.  Finally the “Maine Bay” was nice as is, but I decided to add some color.  Back in my old film/transparency days, if I hoped to save some of these shots, I’d be lucky if one of the great transparency retouchers could help.  Anyhow, I for one can answer when asked if I’m a “photographer or Photoshopper”,  “A little bit of both!

"County Fair" Raw

“County Fair” Raw

"Chicago Skyline"

“Chicago Skyline”

"Chicago Skyline" Raw

“Chicago Skyline” Raw

"Chicago Bridge"

“Chicago Bridge”

"Chicago Bridge" Raw

“Chicago Bridge” Raw

"Maine Bay" Raw

“Maine Bay” Raw

"Maine Bay"

“Maine Bay”

Till next time, thanks for letting me share this!








§ 4 Responses to Photoshop…You Bet!

  • Really, I’m with you all the way. I also am of the ” old school”, menaing mainly I have been around for a long time and not necessarily backward minded. After decades of chrome and bw shooting in 35, 6×6, 6×7 and 4×5 I got into Digital with a Coolpix and then a Minolta. What freedom! I could shoot as much as I wanted! It was like when I was a boy and first stared shooting. No more pondering and wondering if it was worth the effort (and the cost). Now that I am digital I can’t conceive working without my tools like photoshop and HDR (and Panoramic). If anyone should ask me that question I would answer I am a “complete photographer” menaing I don’t shy away from experiencing and usin all of the tools possible to get what I need.

  • Thomaz, thanks for the reply…obviously I agree 100%

  • It is a constant battle to show that which the minds eye perceives.
    That which I see in a scene, and wish to show others, cannot always be recorded and displayed by the camera. In many branches of photography, we create vistas large and small, modify light, move things, change our position relative to that which we record, time it differently, choose weather to shoot in, and seek to create mood, impact and interest – software allows us to re-create and modify rather than carry boxes of filters, the digital darkroom takes the place of banks of chemicals, and, for me, the magic of creating a final image, still exists as I selectively erase layers, alter tone, hue, dodge, burn, and generally touch up to achieve a final result. I tried to remain a purist, but then found the delights of a different and more modern set of tools – and the joy comes from using the tools to create – whatever they be. The analogy is – to flatten a block of wood, you have to have the basic skill of using a plane and square – but machines do it quicker – does it make it any the less a planed and squared piece of timber? Same for photos – many decry photoshop, but there re many closet users out there……..
    Use the tools available, whatever they be – just delight in the creation!
    Thanks for the blog – interesting question……..

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