Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Good Photographer Doesn't Need Photoshop?

Anybody who enjoys photography on more than just a very casual basis has probably heard someone (almost always a person who fancies themselves as a "real photographer") proclaim that a "real" photographer ALWAYS captures the image they want "in camera".  Using software to produce the final image is "cheating".  Even on Instagram, where one of the main USPs (unique selling points) is the filters, there's a fairly popular hashtag #nofilter ... as if that's something to be proud of.

I can't speak for all photographers (and just to be clear, I'm an amateur at best); but for me, when I look at a scene to try to decide whether or not to capture the image, I'm always thinking about how it's going to look AFTER I process it.

Here's my definition of a "real photographer" ...

Having the ability to imagine in your mind how the finished photograph will look Before you click the shutter.  

Here's an image I captured today (on my LG G4 smartphone).

It's not the "best" picture I've ever taken, but people seem to like it.

Now I'm going to let you in on a "secret".  Here's what that picture looked like when I first captured it:

Did I "cheat" ????

What if I told you that I took this particular picture, in this particular way, precisely because I had a pretty good idea of what it would look like after I processed it?

There were a couple of things I really liked and/or had had to think about in regards to this scene.

1) The contrast and detail in the clouds, the way they were lighted, was really nice .. especially those two cells in the middle.

2) Power lines usually bug me, so I wanted to find a way to make them a part of the picture, rather than a distraction.  It helped that all those birds are sitting there, I imagined "watching" the storm.

3) Foreground is almost as important as the sky (IMO) when photographing storms.  I love these little yellow wildflowers that we have around here, so if I get use them in the foreground, I try to.

4) I know that I crop almost every picture I take at least a little bit, so I wasn't worried about the exact framing, just that captured all the elements of the scene that might want included in the final photograph.

After capturing this image, as well a couple more while I walked around (didn't like any of those enough to process them), I pulled the initial picture up in my favorite mobile editing app Snapseed, and spent about 3 or 4 minutes transforming it into something as close as possible to the image that I saw in my head before I took the picture.

I could probably leave it at that, but I'll give you one more example from a couple of weeks ago.  Again, the final image is one that almost everyone who's seen it seems to enjoy.  But the original image, if I'm totally honest, is almost one that I didn't even process.  Here it is ...

I'm not going to post the original of this one, but just believe me when I tell you that it didn't look exactly like this "straight out of the camera"... and if I had just shared that one instead, it wouldn't have gotten quite the same reaction.

Well that's what I've got for now.  Feel free to opine in the comments section if you have your own opinions on this subject.

Keep havin FuN!