WARNING: Blake is about to unveil a bitter diatribe about digital photography, a very bitter diatribe. There are also some spoilers that will make you think twice about the great Photographers before you. If you are weak minded and are fond of the term Photoshopped, do not read any further, you might be jaded by his opinion… You have been WARNED!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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