Photographers who have been taking pictures for a while tend to divide picture-taking into two time zones: Before Digital and After Digital. That’s fair enough — the fall of film certainly had a massive effect — but once digital took off, there was a second revolution that had just as great an impact on images: the rise of Photoshop.
All of a sudden, you didn’t need to have a photographer’s eye and a deep understanding of f-stops to create a perfect image. You just needed to know how to crop, airbrush and eye-drop. If the framing was off-center, the colors off a tone or the lighting a touch dim, those little errors could be corrected at a press of a button. And that’s before you even started being creative.
For photo editors on news desks, it’s all been a bit of a nightmare. Reuters’ instructions to its photographers, issued after a photographer doctored images of the Lebanon war, are about as fun to read as the Photoshop instruction manual.
But for photopreneurs, who rarely have to worry about such things, Photoshop is both a fun and valuable tool — and a risk.
It’s valuable because it’s opened a whole new creative outlet. Average photos can’t just be brought up a grade; they can also be turned into art works that couldn’t have been created any other way. Who would have though that editing software could be so much fun?
The risk is in the dependency. It’s just to easy to forget the importance of technical perfectionism when there’s a voice in your head saying, “I’ll clean it up later in Photoshop.”
If you often use Photoshop to iron out your photo bumps, here’s an exercise: for a week try to take great shots with only your lens, your talent and your skill. Then the following week take the same shots again… and see how much you’ve improved..