What's your opinion on editing photos?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by bretaincrab, Apr 21, 2020.

  1. This is the crux and well worth thinking about.

    What in the world does what others do have to do with your own opportunities to make the kinds of photos that suit you? What does being more or less equal to others get you, in the realm of photography? I've seen and heard you talk about the photos you make and the slide shows you share. I would hope that you would be content with what you're getting out of producing those things. More than content, I hope it's exhilarating and rewarding. It's always sounded to me like it was.

    Why does what someone down the block does with photoshop impact what you do without it? Really worth emphasizing and thinking about. Are you entering and losing competitions? Are you not selling as well as you did when everyone was supposedly more equal? What's going on that you insist on seeing yourself as somehow diminished because of what other people choose to do?

    Not to mention what QG has already pointed out, which is that you have a skewed and, I believe, false understanding of how things used to be. People have been doing all kinds of things in the darkroom since the inception of photography. So, the playing field was never equal in the terms you're thinking.

    On the other hand, where the playing field IS equal is that everyone is free to make photos the way they see fit.
  2. Well I'm being honest. It's hard to admit you have an ego. But there it is. It's true that we compete. (I happen to belong to a photo club where there are contests. And some people are very good with PS and clone and do all sorts of stuff I don't. They all shoot digitally. I scan film shots as well as do digital). Of course, I'm happy with my stuff, video slide shows, and giving it to family, etc. But even in old age, I have an ego and I compete. Call it pride. SIlly to deny it.

    Ok. Time to get honest. Who here can admit they compete? Who needs confirmation from others, at least once in a while? Doesn't it feel good when someone says "Nice shot." even if you suspect they're just being nice. Competition eggs one on to do better. What's wrong with that?
    IPSfoto likes this.
  3. Either the competition is important enough to you or it's not. If it's important enough, you can learn PS and compete with those you think are benefitting by it. If it's not important enough to you, you won't do that. If you haven't done it by now, my guess is that other things are more important to you. That's probably a good thing.

    It's not all that hard to admit we each have an ego. What's hard is recognizing when that ego is causing trouble and being able to step back from it and put it in check.
    Within reason, competition can be good, sure. And it can egg one on to do better. But is it doing that for you? Or is it causing you to complain about what others do? You haven't said how competing with people who do a lot of post processing and cloning eggs you on to do better. You've just said they shouldn't be doing it. So, yes, there does seem something, maybe not wrong, but a bit off.
  4. I'm not interested that much in doing PS better. In fact, I only use Lightroom. It's more straightforward and does enough for me. If I get some nice shots, I'm happy. I don't feel as competitive at my age anymore. I'm retired. I had a shot at conquering the world and didn't. That's OK. Peace and serenity are more important. Good relations, Family. Sure I still like to win. It's probably true that my arguments against using PS cloning is an ego thing. If I was great at it, I:d probably have all the reasons why it's OK. Well, I'm not perfect. :)
    IPSfoto likes this.
  5. I know you're not. Seems reasonable.

    Alan, your stated goal is to do better at photography (and you said competition has helped you do that). Unfortunately, you feel you can't compete with those who have good photoshop skills. I don't know how accurate you are in that assessment, because I think many "straight" photographers do excellent work and can very well compete these days. But let's assume you're right. If you feel you aren't able to adequately compete and you still have the goal of doing better, how much do you think complaining about it is going to help? Is dissing post processing in an Internet chatroom going to help you do better? Maybe unloading is cathartic. I don't know, honestly. Is complaining going to change the world and suddenly wake photographers up to the evils of post processing? Doubtful, right? So, is there anything more constructive and possible you could do to improve your photography? How much of a dead end does photoshop represent to you?
    None of us are. And that's what I use as my personal, moral, creative, photographic, and intellectual springboard ... imperfection!
  6. I am in the minority here , in my opinion , (may I voice it :D) , it requires much more skill and ability to produce good photo's straight out of the Camera only using one exposure per photo , rather than using the "spray and pray" technique and then spending a lot of time "doctoring" these many photo's in "photoshop" or its clones.
    I believe that the ability to fully understand and utilize the camera is slowly being lost now that the crutch of "photoshop" is so pervasive.
    Fully utilizing a modern digital camera without resorting to "photoshop" I suppose can be compared to using different film emulsions in a film camera , you only have more choices of settings that can be used.
    Perhaps we are becoming "lazy" as photographers :rolleyes:.
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  7. As I see it, there may be a couple of flaws in your thinking.

    First, that the alternative to producing photos straight out of the camera is “using the spray and pray technique and then …” I’m sure there are plenty of sprayers and prayers out there (I’m getting a distracting visual as I say that). But I’m also sure there are plenty of very thoughtful, careful, and intentional photographers not spraying and praying and using Photoshop not to doctor anything but to realize a particular vision.

    Second, many who are proud of the supposed non-intervention of their photos coming “straight of the camera” aren’t aware of just how much intervention is being done by pre-programmed software “doctoring” the jpgs their cameras are producing, making decisions these photographers simply choose not to make.
    Of course you may. Which doesn’t mean you won’t elicit opposing viewpoints voiced in response.
    Jochen likes this.
  8. An addendum:

    There’s nothing wrong with adopting a straight out of the camera process. I admire many different ways photographers choose to work.

    I don’t think it requires more skill and ability. It’s just different.

    Doing photography this way or that is simply a matter of choice and diversity and doesn’t have to be a competition.
    Jochen likes this.
  9. Not being able to clone very well, has advantages. It forces me to slow down and think about what I'm doing and shooting. I spend more time scouting the area for the best angle for the shot, something that cannot be corrected in PS very easily if at all. Perspective is difficult to change afterward. Now that I'm shooting 4x5 film, that becomes even more important. You just can't machine gun.
  10. Also, computer time and processing go down. All I have to do is cropping and some quick exposure adjustments. Lightroom handles that pretty quickly.
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  11. It’s always interesting to hear how little some people who talk and complain about Photoshop know about Photoshop. Just how much cloning do you think goes on? WTF man! I use Photoshop and am perfectly able to slow down when I want to. Alan, get a clue!
    I shoot digital and like Photoshop for post processing. For as long as I’ve been shooting, I’ve never machine-gunned.

    I enjoy the fact that photographers work differently, use different tools, and have different visions and tastes. I don't think much of uninformed projection. Enough.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022
  12. How do you avoid it? Instax?
  13. How do you avoid heavily editing a photo? One solution: lightly edit it. :)
  14. Alan Klein said:
    "I also think there's an ego component as well. Using Photoshop really well is often an artistic enterprise, like painting in oils. It moves photography back into the "hand of the artist" realm, giving less opportunity for non-artists like me to get a better photo. We were more or less equal "in the old days" when photos were more "out-of-the-camera" crafts."

    Not to be contradictory, but even though before digital it was maybe, just maybe more important to get a good photo out of the camera, there was arguably a lot of work to hone in and get a good print, and many of the adjustments and terms that are used in particularly photoshop, came from the dark room. It's just that the programs can do the same job in much less time and of course there's whole realms of additional things you can do in these programs. But I can remember a darkroom full of people and we were all making test print after print, taking hours to get a final just trying to set a proper exposure, contrast and crop if necessary, and then when we had to dodge and burn, it was really time consuming. Not even counting the proper development of the film, and the chemistry around that. I think digital programs make all that so much easier to get the same result, if that's the photographer's goal. But I agree that the programs can really extend the medium well beyond what happened in the darkroom for more people, though there were some incredibly interesting and creative uses of dark room photography that would be considered creative use of the medium.
  15. I was talking about my own experience and those of friends and family that I knew. None of us had a darkroom. I also shot a lot of chromes for projection that didn't afford much chance for post-processing. So I pretty much stuck with getting it right in the camera as many others were required to do at the time.

    For those who had a darkroom and printed in BW, to me, that was all witchcraft. It still is. :)
  16. And, yet, in answer to someone's question in this thread, you said you think photographers shouldn't post process. So your take and judgments on photography as well as your taste and opinions about it are formed from a lack of experience and a lack of understanding. You're entitled to your opinions just like we all are but we're all entitled to know the value and depth of our opinions as well. No one said all opinions are equal ... and they're not.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
    sjmurray likes this.
  17. I think, “getting right in the camera” is sort of a blank phrase. Photographers like Ansel Adams had a whole group of people working in the darkroom. Does that mean Ansel couldn’t get it right in the camera. It depends on the type of scene that you are shooting, which would decide whether a straight processing is enough, or you need further editing, whether in the darkroom or PS.

    Even after you expose a film, assuming you got the exposure as best as possible, there can still be room for further improvement, that depends on the scene and personal preferences of the developer/photographer.

    In my opinion, Some scenes clearly are pre-planned collaborations between the photographer and the darkroom (or digital post processing), e.g. one or two precious highlights in an otherwise very dark scene. You expose for the highlights, then dodge the shadows later etc. in those cases, there is no clear meaning of getting it right in the camera, unless you are willing to do the later legwork in the wet lab.

    if I would not push myself to learn what is necessary to achieve my vision, then I would have to be content with the results I get within my skill area. That doesn’t mean, those who can do it are somehow cheating the system or that the world is unfair to me.

    p.s. If you don't get the exposure within an optimum range in the first place, no matter how much Photoshop you do, usually one can tell.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
    sjmurray likes this.
  18. Great point, Supriyo.

    I do think there are many photographers who limit themselves by assuming there's a right and wrong in photography and in particular that they're working toward the "right" picture, whether coming straight out of the camera or even when post processing.

    "Right" usually winds up translating into something along the lines of typical, most pleasing, average, familiar-looking, and a bunch of other unfortunate fallbacks. "Right" is an objective term. It's conferred on things either by God or by group think. Generally, it excludes individual thinking and personal expression.
  19. "Right in the camera" to me is something I always try to do and I define it for myself as getting the best possible exposure, without blown highlights, which I find more serious than blocked shadows, but to generally give me a photo file in camera that gives me a good starting point in post processing. Of course, happy accidents are always occurring and sometimes welcome :)
  20. You're being dismissive of my opinions. That's impolite. My opinions are based on my experiences and preferences. You don't grade them. You can disagree with them. You can prevent facts that might prove them wrong. But you have no right to dismiss them out of hand. That's just rude.
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