Thursday, May 15, 2014

Opinions Of Heavily Edited Photos

Like so many discussions on what is good/bad photography, Photoshop and other digital manipulation is a frequent discussion. I look at the degree of manipulation(or lack thereof) to be a photography style. When done will, it's beautiful art. I'm not much of an artist and it's not uncommon for me to not do well with heavy manipulation. I've learned to strive for getting the photo as close to how I seen it in my mind's eye as I can, then leave it at that. To much is always bad for me, a little is a huge improvement from straight out of the camera.

For those that hate the over-processed look, I find their comments to seem to stem from different core problems. Some say they hate it because they can't achieve professional results themselves. It's easy to point out some poorly done editing for them to attempt to prove their point that all heavy manipulation is bad. For others, they just prefer what they're used to seeing come out of a camera and anything else just doesn't look right to them. I'd say for either that they just haven't learned to appreciate the art form.

Heavily Photoshopped Photo Of A Tree In A Field

Ben Long, a favorite photographer and teacher of mine, sums it up nicely by pointing out that all photos are manipulated. From start to finish, photos are a manipulated frozen moment in time. If you don't like photo manipulation at all, you don't really like photography at all.

Another photographer I strongly admire, Ansel Adams, was very adamant that the darkroom was just as important as the camera. Here is a nice summation of a few of Ansel Adams lessons explaining how he approached the creative process. Mr. Adams would be a Photoshop master if given the technology that we have today.

I would agree that if you're trying for a standardized look, getting the image created to the best possible quality in-camera is something to strive for. Once mastered, great in-camera photography skills will give a portfolio a consistent quality look and feel. It is much easier to perfect this standard look by letting the camera's software do it's job. If you want to add a unique feel and further perfection to your photos, learn image manipulation.

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