Photography without Photoshop

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mdith4him, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. mdith4him

    mdith4him TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone,

    Just looking for some opinions on this...I'm not sure exactly what I think about it, so I'm interested in your thoughts.

    It seems like almost everyone on here has some type of photo editing software (Photoshop, etc.) and relies on it to make their images "pop" or fix problems. Those editing programs can also do some fun stuff that a camera simply cannot (effects like making the photo look like an oil painting, pencil sketch, etc.). I like seeing the fun effects and I think that kind of takes photography into another art form. I love seeing how dull photos can be made bright and exciting, too.

    My question is, as a photographer, do you think it is necessary to use these programs to get a great looking photograph or are you wanting to improve your skills enough to not need to use it anymore? I'm not talking about all the crazy effects you can do; I just mean things like fixing the sharpness, making an underexposed photo look brighter, or editing out distracting elements.

    I don't have any of the fancy editing software myself and I'm wondering if it's something I should be saving up for if I really intend to churn out great looking pictures. I look at photographs from famous phtographers before computers got involved and they look pretty good to me!

    Curious as to your thoughts on this :D

    ~Meredith
     
  2. TiaS

    TiaS TPF Noob!

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    Post processing has always been done. As far as I understand there is quite abit of post processing that is done in the darkrooms with film photography. This is by no means a new thing that is only now because of computers.

    Some people feel that it is not pure photography if it has post-processing. I personally rely on it as I feel it is combining 2 art forms to make an image.

    I use GIMP which is free and does about everything that Photoshop does.
     
  3. bgaideski

    bgaideski TPF Noob!

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    For a long time I didn't believe in PP of photos. It really can make a good photo great though.

    I'm currently playing around and learning photoshop, but as a free solution I can recommend Picasa by google. It does all the basic fixing type stuff you may need to do, and is very simple to use.
     
  4. Tulsa

    Tulsa TPF Noob!

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    I am anti photoshop when it gets past adjusting colors and cropping an image. There are multiple posts with photos I feel are more graphic design/artistic images, not a true photograph, an example would be the smoke pictures, cool, but not a photograph.
     
  5. dancingsphinx22

    dancingsphinx22 TPF Noob!

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    You know, I've just started practicing with post processing myself. I'm very curious about this too and am interested to see what others say.

    Personally, I'm still a begginer, and I've been going at this with a "photojournalistic" approach - as in, I need to get this shot perfect right from the get go.

    But my pictures came out crappy (in my opinion) and I was really stressing myself out by practicing and trying to learn better technique. I wanted my pictures to be like the ones that inspired me to get a camera, and well, they were/are nowhere close.

    Then I started reading about post processing and realized that a lot of the beautiful pictures I see have been re-touched, and it made feel a little better. :lol:

    I admit, I still need practice, and I don't believe that one should rely solely on PP. But I believe some pictures could be truly great shots, but just need a little help getting there.

    just my $.02 =)
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I aspire to shoot so that I don't need to FIX photo in post. But at the same time, I know that post processing is part of MY workflow to get the best images possible.
    To that end, I shoot RAW, which requires at least some post processing.

    You don't need to go out and buy Photoshop for $700. Elements does most of what Photoshop does (for photo editing) and is much less expensive. There are even some good free programs (GIMP) not to mention the software that came bundled with your camera.

    As mentioned, that doesn't mean that photographers etc. didn't spend a lot of time & effort in post processing. it's just that now they have moved out of the darkroom and onto the computer...the 'digital dark room'.
     
  7. frommrstomommy

    frommrstomommy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm no photographer right now... waiting on my first DSLR to arrive. I do however do lots of photoshop because I do digital scrapbooking. Maybe its the scrapbooker in me, but every photo I see thats of a person at least I feel the need to adjust something in, even if its just a little contrast, or playing with the levels or curves. I think just about any photo could benefit from a little PP.
     
  8. Natural_Disaster

    Natural_Disaster TPF Noob!

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    I agree. I posted a similar thread a couple days ago.
    Although..it is very tempting when you see all the results of other peoples editing.
    I have used it and will use it a lot more i'm sure, but personally i hope to someday be able to get great shots that i wont feel the need to edit at all.
    I use Paint Shop Pro 7...simply because ive been using it way before i really got into photography so its what im used to.
     
  9. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    +1. Either on computer or in darkroom, some processing is done.
    When I first went digital, I relied on the lab to do processing, and it was good enough but was relatively plane. When I got into processing my self, the product was nicer, studios were happy, and more importantly CLIENTS were happy.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A lot of people don't know or didn't realize that photo labs probably tweaked all the 35mm film shots that they have been getting developed over the last 20 or 30 years. So some people are surprised when they need to do some tweaking to their digital photos.
     
  11. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

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    First of all, as has already been mentioned, PP has always been done in photography. As an example, I have a friend an art student who will spend hours in the dark room dodging and burning, using screens, etc. a single image. This, if taken in a digital world would be going beyond just curves etc. and yet still looks great.

    Secondly, I have found that (at least for me) when I post process an image and put time into it, I see my photograph more critically and I see what I wish I had done differently. If nothing else, putting time into the photo once it is taken is a great learning tool for future images. If once you take the picture you just leave it at that there is less focus on improvement.

    With regards to the smoke pictures, (I'm thinking the ones with streams of smoke going from one side of the image to the other in some nifty color) that is easily done in camera. PP is not necessarily needed, though it may look like it has been heavily photoshopped. I can explain how to do it if you're curious.
    That being said, are smoke pictures still not photography? even though they are often done in camera with a minimal amount of PS (no more PS than what you suggested)
     
  12. ChasK

    ChasK TPF Noob!

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    Very little has changed since digital except the tools we use to manipulate photos. Retouching, compositing, multi exposure, and just about every special effect I can think or has been done with film. Granted it's cheaper, and not nearly as messy as with a computer but photo manipulation is not a new idea. The grandfather of "workflow" IMHO was Ansel Adams. He didn't achieve those fabulous results in the camera alone. If that was the case he could've sent his film out anywhere to have it developed. He had a very precise PP routine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010

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