how much do you rely on photoshop?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by QualityBuiltIn, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. QualityBuiltIn

    QualityBuiltIn Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    With the Christmas/ New Year holiday approaching I picked up a Digital Camera magazine - not the sort of thing I usually do. Between internet and books I don't have much time for magazines.

    I was very surprised at the attitude of the editorials which was essentially, 'ahh don't you go worrying about little things like exposure, white balance, composition... Just get anything in to the camera (very important you work in RAW) and you can fix it at the computer.'

    I try really hard to get it right in camera and rarely make anything more than minor tweaks on the Mac. I'm convinced that Photoshopped -other editing software is also available- images are as convincing as CGI is in movies. That is they are passable on a casual glance but don't stand up to inspection.

    So there's my colours nailed to the mast. But I'd like to know what you guys think.


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  2. pdh

    pdh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 6, 2010
    this is a subject on which there's infinite shades of opinion ... I say - good for you
  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Can you define what level of 'photoshopping' you are talking about? That can cover anything from HDR which is very CGI like, to basic brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness which is no different to adjusting your in-camera jpeg settings.
  4. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    I work in a more articulated mode.
    I See the image in my head and record it.
    I don't shoot as much as most shooters and maybe that's not good but it's how I work.
    I only look at what I have and never about what I didn't get.

    The Mac...I edit in LR. I will process the image to get what I saw in my head before exposure. I don't like over pp'd images, for my stuff but to each his own.
    LR is more intuitive and conducive to an esthetic image than PS. With PS, most get involved with the technical aspects and the emotional aspects get clouded over.

    It's easy to get lost in PS while LR can help you stay in the here and now with your images.

    I hope you get what I'm saying, about the way I do things.
    ps.... I really hate PS5 but have it because ... Well dunno why!
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  5. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2010
    One of the things I really like about the Panasonic m4/3 cameras is that you can set up the camera to record the image as you see it - pretty much - saving it as a jpg. Then in very old Photoshop 7, I do a final tweak to get the image to where I saw it at the time I shot it. This usually just involves a little more sharpening, maybe a little adjusting of brightness and contrast in "curves," and a little old fashion burning and dodging. That is pretty much it. I tried shooting RAW for about 6 months, but am back to doing it in camera and saving it as a jpg, since it is way less cumbersome, more direct, and the camera can be "seasoned to taste" so well. I set my camera (G1 and GF1) so it is as if I were using my favorite film, then just tweak the final results. If the picture was good to begin with, then it will come out well. If it was a bad idea to begin with, shooting it in RAW and spending lots of time at the computer rarely helps, in my opinion.
  6. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I like to think of myself as a photographer not a digital artist. While I use Photoshop (presently shifting to Aperture), I only use the tools which were available to me in a wet darkroom, dodge, burn, dust removal, contrast, et cetera.

    Ansel Adams coined the word "Previsualization" for the concept described by Streetshooter (above). Essentially, one sees the final image before releasing the shutter ... then manipulates the camera (lens choice, camera position, ISO/ASA, shutter speed and aperture) to attain the image one has previsualized.

    The better one gets at capturing the exceptional image in a fashion which is similar to the previsualized image, the less time one has to spend at the computer. As a photographer, I much prefer to spend my limited amount of time out taking photos then at the computer creating cgi.

    As to the editorial ... I'd say the comments are correct/fine if you are digital artist and wrong if you are a photographer.

    Editorials are opinions which are designed to make one think ... and this editorial certainly does that.

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  7. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 17, 2010
    I do not think that it is a good idea to just photograph and fix it later. This does not work (besides only very minor errors). It has to be done right when one makes the photograph. Usually I have a vision of a picture and I do everything I can to get the picture I see with my inner eye. In Lightroom I just work with the photograph to get the vision I had when I made the photograph. I cannot fulfil my vision without doing both steps right.
  8. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2010
    Took a look at your "snaps" Gary and they are terrific. I personally feel that there is a real danger shooting in RAW in that it can lull one into sloppy technique to think that you simply get the picture into the camera and then fix it all in Photoshop, or Lightroom, or whatever. Working 'in camera' forces you to make all decisions at the time of shooting the image, rather than afterward. You have to get it right the first time, since you are tossing away the extra data by saving it as a jpg.
  9. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Thanks pjohngren ...

    I see it as a two-way street ... I shoot in RAW and as you stated I tend to get sloppy knowing that I can fix it in the computer ... but ... (the big but), I find that I also can enhance the an identical RAW image beyond the JPEG as the power of a desktop computer is superior to the power of the camera's computer.

    When I shot film I'd develop differently depending on what I needed/desired to develop for (i.e. highlights, shadows) ... likewise with RAW and Photoshop.

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  10. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Technically, fixing is a compromise. You need good data to get the best results. But if you blow it, you can get something better by processing. Certainly there are enough great photographers that had "badly" made negatives, but it did not stop the work from being great--look at Cartier-Bresson, for example.

    But there is no reason to suppose that a "perfect" exposure from a camera is the best for a final image. All images are manipulated. And most require tweeks to get them "perfect." Reality was not designed with the photographic process in mind.

    Visualization (or the redundant term, pre-visualization) is only true to a point. You really cannot see or predict the final outcome. Most of the work is still discover during post-processing. And that is a skill to take the base data set and make it into something more.
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  11. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    hmmm, well I kinda live by this...along with all my other sayings from my GrandFather!
    "Plan your work and Work your plan but don't be afraid to improvise along the way."

    So, pre-visualization does indeed work. One must have an idea of how something looks before one can find it.

    Photographers are limited to seeing a 3 dimensional reality and then trying to make it work in a 2 dimensional reality. So we all pre-visualize an image before exposure. We all discover the image along the way from capture, to process to exhibit etc. We may not all be in tuned with this concept but we all do it. The difference is being aware of what your doing along the way....

    The journey is so much more important than the end result.
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  12. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Really? And this is surprising from a street shooter. I have done enough documentary photography to know to keep my eyes open for things I don't know about. And while I understand different lighting and how my process can render it, there are always times when the place just gives more than my imagination. Certainly in post-processing, whether in a darkroom or on a computer, there are so many ways of interpreting the final image that my "visualization" can get so far.

    I can't agree more. Even to the point where visualization can work against this by focusing on what you know (where you have been) rather than what is new before you.

    But I don't think are opinions really that far off from each other.
  13. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I do my share of street photography and previsualization comes to play even at the point of picking a lens. Sometimes I choose to go long (200mm) sometimes wide (28mm) ... even choosing which side of the street to walk (shooting into the sun or with the sun on one's back) becomes an act of previsualization.

    While one cannot predict what they may come across on the streets ... one can dictate many of the elements in final image and manipulate the camera to attain that image.

    going wide

    going long


    PS- The 200mm and 28mm reflect FF format.
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  14. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I'm torn on this subject ...

    On the one hand LR/Photoshop/etc is the digital equivalent of darkroom work - where often the image is changed quite dramatically - and therefore a necessary part of the artistic process. Shooting RAW and determining what white balance, noise reduction, etc is applied to the image fits this philosophy

    On the other hand, I have little/no respect for the people mentioned in the original post who subvert the essentials of the capture part of the process, planning to "save" it in post. IMHO, it should be "close enough" out of camera to stand on it's own merits - any post processing then elevates to an even higher level.
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  15. Durtball

    Durtball Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 28, 2010
    Gahannna Ohio
    Cameras and lenses are tools. Computers are tools. Use the ones you want and use them well.

    Tim Courlas Photography
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  16. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Welcome Tim. You sure as heck have good timing.
    Thanks for your simply put profound words.
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  17. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    I cant remember the last time i used photoshop on an image that I have posted... I do do a degree of PP... but all in Aperture... photoshop is wonderful for compositing and image manipulation...but all the corrections i would ever wish to do in an image can be acheived faster and easier in Aperture or Lightroom.

    If I want to add Uncle Freds picture next to Frank Sinatra or remove Aunt Mabels very large mole or make somebody fat look thin... then there is no better tool than photoshop... . but if you want to make your photos look the best Aperture/Lightroom is all you need ... once you are in the photoshop world the photos are open to so many distortions that they stop being photos and become images.

    its your choice how far you want to stray from your original vision

    Photoshop was never a tool for photographers... it was for graphic artists

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  18. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    I am reminded of music production which I am longer familiar with.
    In that it is necessary to emphasise that you get everything as right as possible at source rather than thinking you can get it thereabouts and alter things later in the (now computer based) mix.

    Likewise in photography I think you should get it as right as possible to begin with. But that doesn't mean that you can't do as much as you want in Photoshop later.
    I do rely on having software where I can adjust at least exposure and contrast, crop and such, if only if that confirms I don't need to anything with the original.

    Kevin - are you saying there is any difference in affect on the image to adjusting the exposure in Photoshop to adjusting it in Lightroom?
  19. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I pretty much have the same PP habits as Streetshooter.

    I almost always shoot RAW. I suppose it could make a person sloppy, but I feel otherwise. RAW is the digital equivalent of a negative. I work very hard at capturing the image I see in my mind. Working with joeys certainly allows less leeway, but if you are setting it up you are tweaking the RAW anyway. I would rather have the option of recovering from any errors I might make in capture. I also print a lot, often large prints, and I much prefer the more detailed capture of RAW for this reason.

    One of the things I really love about digital is the information available at the time of capture. Being able to select the ISO, and view a live histogram, is really useful.

    Anyway, to answer the OP, I don't do a lot of PP. I find Lightroom very fast and intuitive, and almost enjoyable. It's important to me that I spend little time in PP. I just don't have the time, and would rather be shooting. I have used PS a lot in the past, but only for the same things as I now use LR: PS was overkill for my purposes.
  20. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Midlothian, VA
    Real Name:
    Richard Elliott
    Is the purpose of photography to capture what is there, or to capture what the photographer sees?

    Is the photographer an artist or a documenter?

    These are not mutually exclusive. I enjoy a good image no matter how it is made. So I do not care what anybody uses.
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