Before and After…Yeah I use Photoshop!
December 26, 2012 § 7 Comments
I’ve been following a topic in one of my Linkedin groups about using Photoshop. It seems there’s a number of photographers who constantly put down the use of Photoshop by saying if you plan, meter, and execute everything correctly, you can do everything in camera…not so, at least not all of the time. When I first became a professional, back in the old film days, I shot almost 100% transparency…35mm, 120, 4×5 and a some 8×10. You really had to have it correct “in camera”! Sure there were a couple of great retouchers here(including my friend Dean Sladek…RIP) in Cleveland, but still that was an expensive proposition. You lit the scene meticulously, shot Polaroids, and then bracketed, but sometimes that still wasn’t enough, so you then turned to the retouchers to perform their magic! I used to be one of those photographers that put down digital, Photoshop, and all of the plug-ins etc., looking back with pride on how us “old-timers” did what we did without resorting to all of these tricks! Here’s how I view things now. Good Photoshop use opens up a whole new batch of opportunities for us to express our creativity, while bad Photoshop use is…what’s that old saying about “dressing up a pig”?
What I want to show here is an assortment of Photoshop uses that I do. I have my barn shot where I used HDR to capture the exposure range which would entail the use of multiple lights back in my old film days. Here, I put my camera on a tripod and shot with available light and processed the brackets with Photomatix. I know that I added a “painterly” quality afterwords, but that’s just me…I could have used the HDR technique and had a more “photographic” look. My next one is of the kids playing in the castle. It was a tricky lighting situation…the light coming through the big open windows was constantly changing, there were shafts of light that the kids were running in and out of, and because of the slow shutter speed I was using and the fast movement of the kids , I had to be ready and wait when all three kids came to a stop. Flash was out of the question since I wanted these shots to be totally candid, a high ISO would cause noise in the shadows, so I shot what I could and let Photoshop handle the rest…and this image proves how Photoshop can be a blessing. Next is a similar situation with one of my cats, Rusty. Anyone with a cat knows that a cat doesn’t come when you call it, it doesn’t stay put and look at you when you have a nice shot, and simply put, doesn’t follow direction. The lighting here was also tricky. Rusty would walk from under a shaft of light into shade, look around and go back into the sun, I would take a shot and he would walk into the shade…usually coming to me when I want him to stay where he was. He wandered into this pretty background, and I took the shot! Next up is my “South Chagrin Winter Scene”. O.K. this is a shot that I could have easily done in camera using my favorite film Velvia 50, but since turning to digital, I shoot “raw” and set my camera to the minimum in contrast, color saturation, and sharpness since I know I’ll handle that in post processing. The last shot is of my wife’s horse Rupert. He was rolling in the dirt, jumping, rearing up, and running…he was feeling really good. Unfortunately, he was doing all of this with our old barn as a backdrop. I was able to strip him out and place him onto one of my “sky” backgrounds to create a more surreal look. While I also look back nostalgically at my “old film days”, I’ve come to appreciate all of the modern tools we have at out disposal. There’s an old saying that “a worker is only as good as his tools”, which is true, but in photography I believe the reverse is also true.
Hope everyone has a very happy Holiday Season…at least we got through the Mayan scare!