Saturday, August 21, 2010

Photoshop: Good or Bad?

So, dear readers, do you have any strong feelings about altering images, digitally, on the computer? Or are you a photography purist, preferring that the image, as taken by the camera, be the final one?

I like altering my images on the computer. Which is why I desperately want to bone up on my [currently non-existent] photoshop skills. 

Here is the Straight Out Of the Camera (SOOC) image :

And the modified version:

What do you think? Is this cheating?


  1. I wouldn't say it's cheating. Do what makes you like your photos the most. :) I don't alter much b/c I don't have the time to sit down and do it. Or rather...when I do find those few precious moments I'd rather sew or something. But, if it makes you happy and increases the quality I say go for it. :)

  2. Nah, altering is good! Having seen the difference it makes in pictures (especially something so special like our wedding pictures), I'm all for it. Our photographers did an amazing job, but the touch-ups made the photos that much more awesome.

  3. I think of it as a matter of choice. Back in the days of film, most people took pictures and let a store develop them in a standard way and were happy enough with the results. Others had access to a camera where they could select ISO, aperature, exposure time, etc. and then a blackroom where they chose how to develop the film, what levels of exposure to use with the paper and how long to utilize the developing chemicals. In the digital world, those steps are more streamlined and much more accessible to the general population of photography hobbists. I love it and I think it is a great thing, since there is no way I could be a film photographer and I can generate images for my clients that are so much better with a little tweaking than the way they look SOOC, much as your images clearly demonstrates. In fact, it is hard for me to leave a picture alone these days since I'm rarely satisfied with a SOOC shot.
    However, I have learned not to go overboard either. Some of my early editing was much more clumsy and heavy-handed, leaving the pictures too far from their original. I'm not creating the cover of a fashion magazine in all it's airbrushed (also a pre-digital technique of photo editing) gory glory. I have found a good in-between for SOOC and what-the-heck-have-you-done. And if you'd like some photoshop know-how, I'm happy to share what I know and where I go to get educated.

  4. I alter all of the time. I just feel for me, if I can have a great picture vs. an okay or a bad picture, I'm going to take advantage. I've found that cropping has really improved some of my photos. If I am in a situation where I can take my time and experiment to get the picture I want, then maybe I will have no need to alter; but most of the time I have to take the shot and move on. Then again, I'm not that great a photographer. I'm awful indoors--there isn't enough alteration that can be done to help my indoor shots! I actually thought both of your pictures were great.

  5. The more you edit your images, the better you'll be at seeing what you want and capturing it in the camera. But you have to remember that cameras, don't see what our eyes see! They can only capture a range of brightness of perhaps 7 stops, whereas our eyes see at least 11 stops. By stops I mean F-stops, like F7, F9, F11, which is the size of the opening of the lens inside the camera. We see something with our eyes, and only with advanced post-production techniques can we get the camera's photo to look even remotely like what we see. So, don't feel bad, when you use Photoshop you're just trying to show what you really saw.

  6. Excellent comments, thanks folks. Thanks to Marcilla and Owen for the technical explanations.

    I could definitely use a little more finesse; I feel that my current editing is pretty clumsy. Probably something that takes time to develop.