Yesterday's post created quite a stir on my Facebook page. It's obvious that people have very strong feelings regarding the use of Photoshop in today's digital age. I tend to be of the mindset that Photoshop is nothing more than a darkroom for the digital photographer. It allows us to process our digital files much like a film photographer would develop his film in the darkroom. As I admitted in yesterday's post, I took a few liberties with my photo of the Tetons simply because it was fun to experiment a bit, and I may have over processed according to some. I think many photographers that are new to the digital world are somewhat confused about what is 100% pure and what is processed. In today's world, if you're using a digital camera, then simply put… everything is processed. Especially if you're shooting in JPEG mode. Today's digital cameras are much like computers. They are all equipped with processors and a memory. If you shoot in jpeg file format, then you're allowing your camera to process the image for you using it's automatic settings. However, if you shoot in Raw file format, you're getting as close to a negative as you possibly can with a digital image. The camera does not fully process this image for you. If you decide to shoot in Raw, as most professional photographers do, then you are left having to process the image using some sort of software such as Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Apple's Aperture…etc. Many professional photographers have opted to use Raw images simply because it allows them greater control over their processing. One of the largest advantages to using Raw files coupled with non-destructive software, such as Adobe Lightroom, is that the file is never altered, much like a film negative is never altered when printing an image in the darkroom. This non-destructive processing allows us to work with the same image over and over again without losing any data or physically alternating the image. So, all said, Photoshop is a key tool allowing digital photographers to work with their images (dodging, burning, cropping..etc.) Sure, it's possible to push the limits… but film photographers have been doing the same throughout the years using filters, cross processing, infrared…you name it. Chances are, if you didn't like the processes used in film, then you're not going to like the same effects used in Photoshop. However, keep in mind, the digital image process in principal is very similar to the “old school” film process minus the safety lamps and chemicals. If Ansel Adams hadn't been a brilliant photographer and a master technician in the darkroom, then he would never had reached his level of success. So, before we judge another practitioner's process, consider stepping out of the darkroom, turning on the lights, and giving the digital age a try. I know I've done both, and can see pro/cons to each.
Have you ever had a class that you thought was going to be a waste of your time, but ended up being quite the opposite? A couple of days ago I attended one of Scott Kelby’s live seminars. The seminar was dedicated to teaching the ins and outs of Lightroom, and its integration with Photoshop. I started off the class by thinking this “possibly” was going to be a waste of my time. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve been working with Lightroom since it was released in beta many years ago, and I would guess I know roughly 90% of its features. The workshop was extremely helpful in addressing the other 10% of features I was clueless on. That’s the thing with workshops…you just never know. I try to have a positive attitude regarding workshops by setting a goal to walk away having learned one new thing, or one new idea. My recommendation is this: if you’re working in a product like Adobe Lightroom, Apple’s Aperture, Photoshop, etc, get some training from a pro. You might be surprised by what you learn. Scott Kelby’s Live seminars are a wonderful way to meet fellow photographers and learn from some of the best in the field. Not to mention most of these seminars are littered with booths peddling the latest and greatest photography gadgets at great discount prices. Yep, I’m a sucker for photography toys, and if you’re going to give me a discount on top of it…I’m all in! At the end of the day, you need ask yourself the age old question, “how much is your time worth?” If you’re like me, and you want to spend more time taking photos than processing them, then I recommend seeking out some additional training. The eight hours worth of seminar training can save you many more hours in the long run when processing your photos. The reality is this, you might think you know everything, but there’s always someone that knows more. In my case?…usually a lot more. 😉