I am really beginning to hate that verb that everyone seems to use in reference to a great photo. I hear it all the time, “Wow that is a great photo, is it Photoshopped?”
What does that really mean anyway, photoshopped? It has become so prevalent in our society as being an acceptable verb in reference to any photo that looks somewhat “great”. I can understand if someone saw something in the photo that really didn’t belong or even look possible, like a composite, sure that is “photoshopped”. Or the girl who had all kinds of pimples in the before photo and looks like a silken Barbie doll in the after, that is Photoshopped. However, if someone uses Photoshop as a means to make a photograph simply look more appealing it is not “photoshopped”. That is using Photoshop as a digital darkroom to bring out colors, heighten contrast, or maybe even fix slight blemishes such as dust specs. Hell you could do that with Picasa or Lightroom or Aperture or MS Paint; do your here people saying, “Wow that is a great photo, is it Pacasad or Lightroomed or Apertured or MSPainted?
The term photoshopped has given the program Photoshop a bad wrap in the non photographer world. The minute they here that you used Photoshop in any way they assume that the photograph is not legitimate as it has been manipulated. I say wake the hell up non photographers and photographers alike, here is your wake up call, you know that guy Ansel Adams… he used a darkroom to manipulate his photos… oh no!! Should we retract every great thing you have said about his work and discredit it due to his manipulation skills? No, so don’t do it when someone uses the mighty digital darkroom that is Photoshop to simply make an image look more appealing.
I hear these phrases all the time, “I got that shot straight out of the camera” or “I never use Photoshop because I want my pictures to be pure”. Well let me give you another wake up call, if you want pure images and you shoot with a Digital camera, there is no such thing! I say that because your camera applies filters that make your image unpure, if you shoot JPEG, and if you dont edit a RAW file, well that is your own fault! If you want pure photography, get an old Canon AE-1 and shoot film, but never develop it in the darkroom because that would entail manipulating it with light to get it to look just right. “Wait Blake, are you saying there is no pure form of Photography?” Yes, I am…
Photo Tips For Life:
- There is no such thing as a “pure” photograph as there is always some form of manipulation required by an artist to bring it into existence.
- Every great photographer before you manipulated their photographs to make them what they are, whether in the Darkroom or the Digital Darkroom of their choice.
- If you shoot in JPEG there is no such thing as pure, your camera is making all kinds of decisions for you that in essence edit the PURE nature of the photo, contrast adjustments, white balance, color balance, noise reduction, saturation… the list goes on!
Dismounting from Soap box now.
Thats what I’m talking about. I tell people all the time take a shot of a refrigerator and their is no amount of editing that can make it look like anything other than a stupid fridge. You still have to start with a good photo.
Blake, I have to laugh, because I read your rant…um, I mean post, right after watching a lecture on curve edits in David Nightingale’s online B&W post-production class. I guess we all have our pet peeves. Mine would be the people with the Canon 5Ds or Nikon D800s that shoot on the auto setting. I’m like, seriously, you buy a $3,000+ camera body so you can shoot on Auto?!?! If I had a dollar for every one of those I saw out in Wyoming, I could’ve fed my family at a nice restaurant.
Well, you know I am all about making my pictures look crazy and sometimes over done, but they are like that for a reason. My frustration comes from those who always talk of pure photos as if they have been touched by the hand of God or something. I mean sure a pure photo is ideally nice, but it needs work and 9 times out of 10 it would look better if it were doctored. The line is drawn for me when someone immediately asks, “Is that Photoshopped?” URRRGH!
But yes I agree with you as well, a $3000 camera on Auto is like a Corvette driven under the speed limit… The sad thing is many of those people with their over priced cameras on Auto think the picture is made by the camera and not the photographer. As if it were that easy…. Buy a $3000 camera and amazingly my photos would be better, hahaha, wishful thinking!
Truth be told, photos out of a $3000.00 camera on auto with a $2000.00 lens have a much higher likely hood of being Good, in the hands of a novice than a point and shoot. But it still hurts to see a 16 year old grinding the gears in a Lambo.
I agree. Man it hurts to see someone with a ton of gear and no idea how to use it. I thinnk it stems from the idea of “If I spend more it will be better, right?”. In some cases yes, but the knowledge to operate it is very important.
This is great. I have written about the same thing a couple of times on my own blog site. I’m about to the point that I am beginning to argue a bit with those types. I know, it won’t do any good, but it makes me feel better.
Thanks Clay, it is frustrating. I try to keep the temper down about it, but sometimes I cannot bite my tongue enough! Like you said, it makes me feel better and getting this out made me feel tons better!
When someone asks, “Is that photoshopped?” I always say, “I just adjusted the lighting.” no matter what I did to it. It is all light.
haha! I love that. I just adjusted the lighting. I will remember that one.