It’s NOT about the Software!

Blue Liquid & Onion Splash, v1, Edit D, np2

Title:  “Onion Splash in Blue Liquid”
Creation Year:  2008

The other day, I was asked the question:  “So, what software did you use to create this photograph?”

This is a question that many photographers may think is quite innocent; after all, photo editing has become the natural second step with digital photography.  Photographs are shot and then “FIXED” (or “Created”) in Photoshop.

Many people believe that any old photograph can be taken without care to the details, AND THEN, IT CAN BE ‘FIXED’ IN PHOTOSHOP!  My splash photographs are NOT created with software.  However, I admit, there is a certain amount of fine-tuning that may be necessary with images like this, for which there is a need to use photo editing software.

At the very basic core of photography, every photograph starts with an idea and a camera.  For me, software considerations come much later in the photo-making process.  For example, Proper Lighting is the main consideration to capturing a great looking splash photograph.  Fine-tuning the type of lighting, the positioning of lighting and the diffusing and flagging of lighting are important concerns for creating this type of photograph.  You also need a very fast burst of light to freeze the action.

In my opinion, mastering lighting and camera techniques are the foundation to good photography.

IF a good image is captured from the start, there is less work needed in post production using photo editing software.  I do my best to set up the props, place the lighting and make the needed adjustments to the camera.  It is a blessing if you need less time to fix shots because you planned the original photo-shoot properly.

To sum up the points:  Photo editing software should never be a substitution for planning a photograph properly in the first place.  Getting the details of the photo-shoot worked out meticulously ahead of time can save valuable time in post production.  Becoming a master lighting expert and knowing your equipment inside and out, is much more important than relying on photo editing software to get the effects digitally.  Don’t count on photo editing software to make the photograph for you.  For some types of art photography, software can help you piece together photo parts, work with layers, add textures, place text, position borders, add filters, adjust the details, and edit out the problems.  However, without first knowing quite well, the foundation of good photography, you may not have much to work with when using your photo editing software.

2 comments

  1. I like this post, I use photoshop Elements, and really I use it for a quick sharpen and levels adjustment, and sometimes to clone dirty marks (my sensor needs cleaning) I cant justify spending $$$ on the full photo shop when I think I would use only three of the functions 🙂

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    1. Hi. Thank you Rachel. I agree: Elements is good. I also find LIGHTROOM 2.3 to be very good as well.

      I’m a total advocate of PHOTOIMPACT X3 & Paint Shop Pro XI.

      It didn’t really hit me until one of my friends recently stated the following: “With Photoshop, it seems like you have to click too many things to do one simple process!” That’s when I realized why PS is not for me. He is right, IMHO. Sure, PS is really nifty software, but you pay hundreds of dollars for it, it takes up a TRUCKLOAD OF SPACE on the hard drive, and if you are a photographer who just uses software to clean up a few things, there’s little justification for the price of PS. Because PS is the “industry standard” it has everyone thinking it is incredible – and it may be – but for me, I have found other alternatives for my photograph editing that I really like. I find Photoshop frustrating, overly expensive, and a hard drive / CPU taxing piece of software.

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