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Old 24-09-2008, 12:41   #1 (permalink)
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Post Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Whilst there are many benefits to PS I can't help but wonder if it killing photographic technique.

Being a relative newcomer to photography, I often look to magazines and internet articles/forums on how to improve my shots, however many seem to just encouraging you to get it wrong and fix it in PS. It seems to me that it is used to put the fire out rather than teaching you how not to start it the first place.

I'd much rather learn how to use filters, camera settings etc, properly in the field and get it right at the time of taking the shot, than spend hours messing about with a computer program . After all as a photographer the less time in front of the PC, and more time behind the lens the better, particuarly when free time is limited.

I fully appreciate that PS is useful, and we all like to recover those missed opportunity, but I really wonder if the tendancy these days to use it instead of learning the correct technique is making us poorer photographers for our
reliance upon it.

I was wondering how many of you had a similar opinion.
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Old 24-09-2008, 13:09   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Hi Chrisa,
In my humble opinion, the better the picture from the camera, the more you will enjoy PS. I don't feel PS is a fix all,,,it gives you some creative joy that takes you beyond your camera without alot of work. I joined Pixalo to try and learn better shooting habits, and like many, never stop learning. I do feel that photoshop has it's place in the digital age, I know people who used to work hours in the dark room that use it but also work very hard at using their camera the right way.
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Old 24-09-2008, 13:11   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Must admit Photoshop had made me a lazy photographer, as like you stated, it allows you to correct certain things afterwards. I'm now coming back out the other side & where possible getting it as perfect as possible from the camera

Still a great supporter of PS mind you , for allowing extra creativity
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Old 24-09-2008, 13:17   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

I see it more as complementary system.

I don't think that many people will make the investment in the camera equipment and then spend the same amount or more on top for Photoshop just to compensate for poor technique. I think they are far more likely to see where their shots are not up to the mark and then take the steps needed to improve in that area.

As Dave once said - 'You can't polish a turd' - and that is true of photographs. Photoshop cannot correct focus or composition issues. It can correct things the camera got wrong, like white balance, and you can go to any extremes in processing to create a particular effect if that is what you want.

I am also not sure of the concept that it is perfectly OK to fit (say) a Sklylight 1b filter to the camera, but it is cheating to adjust the white balance in Photoshop.

Don't forget that any digital camera recording jpeg files will have saturation, sharpening, contrast and other adjustments made by the camera with no control by the photographer, so 'getting it right' in this situation is reliant on the camera software.
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Old 24-09-2008, 13:20   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

i believe photoshop is fab for learning photography as when you take the picture you can change the settings on the camera then when you get it into photoshop you can change the settings so you can find out what to change on your camera next time like exposure etc very good if you have limited time in one spot and cant afford to be taking the images on each setting or for those moments you dont really have time to set things up i.e a bull runnning at you you can just snap the best you can under the circumstances then improve it,
i believe photography is in two parts the actual camera work and the development (ps) in the dark room you could also create different effects by using different chemicals etc
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Old 24-09-2008, 13:25   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Photography is an art form and can be used to reflect and illustrate what you see or what you imagine; regard your camera as your brush and your software as your pallette and canvas. Well anyway, thats how look at it!
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Old 24-09-2008, 13:38   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Oh I agree that you can use photoshop for various reasons, and don't doubt it's usefulness.

However I find more and more "advice" in forums and in particular magazines is how to create an effect/correct a flaw in photoshop, than actually telling you how to get it right first time. A case in point was a recent magazine that had a "filters" special feature. It had some nice shots by a pro who'd used some various ND grads on the camera and an interview with him.

Yet they explained nothing about how to use them on your camera, just listed the different makes. They then spent 4 or so pages on how to use PS to create ND grad effects. Surely some information on how to use them on the camera properly would be of just if not more use to the readers. I know it would of been for me.
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Old 24-09-2008, 13:40   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Since the dawn of photography people have "adjusted" images even within the camera itself ie by altering the exposure to create artificial moonlight and using double exposures and that sort of thing, so manipulating images is certainly nothing new. I've spent many an hour dodging and burning under an enlarger for b&w prints and don't see that using a computer to do the same job is any real departure from what has always happened. Is altering the colour temperature on the camera any different in principle than doing it on the computer.
With the computer you are not exposed to the obnoxious smell of b&w chemicals or the lethal colour chemicals. On the subject of colour prints vast amounts of time are saved using a computer rather than having to make lots of test strips.

A lot of time is saved when you don't have to wait for others to deliver your images.

Do you really need a lot of time to take a shot? My time and money is usually consumed getting to a location.

You are right to take the time to learn how to use your equipment I think one of the problems with automatic everythings is that people get acceptable images that could be great images if only they had a better understanding of the basics.

Anything which makes my ultimate objective easier and more certain I welcome with open arms
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Old 24-09-2008, 14:23   #9 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

I do use PS for minor manipulation like level adjustments, but I want to understand how to get the shot right on location. More time out in the field rather than spending hours at a PC gives you more opportunity to capture that moment and to enjoy the natural world at work.

In forums and magazines there is more and more - dont worry about the original shot - PS will fix it - this to me is wrong. If an individual has taken a shot and blown out the detail in the white or dark areas of the shot for example, wouldn't that person prefer to understand how to avoid it the next time he takes his camera out - I know I do
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Old 24-09-2008, 14:35   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

I also think it rather depends on how you use software.

If you have over-exposed a shot and can see that by applying a minus two stops of correction in software the result is better, surely in similar circumstances in the future, by applying what you have learned you will obtain a better exposure by reducing the exposure by two stops before you take the picture.

As I said before, I think it is complementary.
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Old 24-09-2008, 16:38   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Yes and no a lot of what you do in PS was used in the darkroom with film, i spend max 4 minutes on each shot all i ever do is slight levels adjustment boost colours and sharpen,
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Old 24-09-2008, 16:56   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

I agree with Dabhand that Photoshop is complementary. I am sure most photographers would advise that you do the best you can at the capture stage then Photoshop is a very useful tool to enhance your images and particuarly to add value that is not possible at the taking stage.

Many new photographers seem to think that photography is limited to capturing a record whereas for many (most?) it is an artform. Most artists like to explore the boundaries some more than others.
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Old 24-09-2008, 17:33   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Absolutely no way is what I would suggest/

All the things you can do on PS you could do in the darkroom traditionally. All it is is taking the process out of the darkroom and onto the PC.

You must understand the basic principals before you understand what is happening to your image when you move some sliders up and down until it looks nice.

(Roughly speaking that is)
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Old 24-09-2008, 17:49   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

I am suprised! or maybe not.

The comments here seem to reflect the way the photo magazines/forums etc are moving towards. Just stuff the camera technique and manipulate in photoshop.

I agree seeing you may need to bracket the stops or shoot one or two stops less next time round. But most advice you'll find out there is how to do this in ps, not how to shoot two stops less with your camera.

I also am not saying the manipulation is bad or ps does not have its uses. Great for a little levels tweak and boost in saturation effect. And also am aware that the very skilled darkroom expert could do some of the things you do in photoshop. I'm not so sure they could apply ND grads, Warm up filters, recover multiple stops in an erroneous shot though.
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Old 24-09-2008, 17:51   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Another vote for the "No" side

I'm getting to the stage where I can 'see' the finished shot before I've taken it but this most definitely includes post processing. I wish I could say that it's the case for all my shots but I have found that the one does feed into the other - the more I 'see' beforehand, the better ALL my shots (technically, anyway! )
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Old 24-09-2008, 18:38   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Quote:
The comments here seem to reflect the way the photo magazines/forums etc are moving towards. Just stuff the camera technique and manipulate in photoshop.
I really don't think that is what everyone is saying. Get the best shot you can on the day and tweak the levels a bit if needed for a picture that accurately records the scene is my policy. However, if I want to create an efffect or a visual transformation then I can use PS to do it. (Actually I only have Elements). For instance - look at this shot for the monthly comp then compare to this one in my gallery. The first is manipulated for effest and is not a true representation. the second is a true representation. Sorry the pictures for thouse that are interested are 'communication MMVll' and 'Croatia'

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Old 25-09-2008, 00:45   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Here's three non-exhaustive categories:

Stuff you can only do in camera:
1. Correct depth of field / lens aperture
2. Correct focus
3. Correct composition
4. Correct shutter speed / camera shake.
5. Using a polarising filter

Stuff you can do in either the camera or PS
1. Colour balance
2. Sharpening (jpegs only)
3. using filters (on camera) or filter effects (PS)

Stuff you can only do in PS
1. Cropping and straightening
2. Dodging and burning
3. Adjusting low and high levels independently
4. Adjusting levels brightness / contrast, hue / saturation etc
5. Lots of strange filter effects.
6. Cutting and pasting part of on photo to another.

If you get it really wrong in camera write that frame off. If you get it nearly right you can recover in PS, and lets face it most modern cameras usually do get it nearly right in one of the auto modes. That's the same for film / dark room photography.

Much of what happens in PS for digital is only what happens in the dark room for film, although it's a lot easier, but perhaps not as much fun .

Ahh well that my 2p

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Old 25-09-2008, 14:00   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_Turner View Post
Here's three non-exhaustive categories:

Stuff you can only do in PS
1. Cropping and straightening
3. Adjusting low and high levels independently
4. Adjusting levels brightness / contrast, hue / saturation etc
All of the above can and should be done in camera...

1) is down to seeing and framing the shot correctly at the time of the shoot.
3) Can be done (to some extent) by controlling exposure and the use of graduated filters.
4) Simple understanding of modern camera functions will allow all of this, white balance settings and the correct combination of exposure/shutter speed and custom profiles cover these points.

This is where advanced camera skill should be learned and applied. While PS is a great tool, it is there to enhance the work you create from the camera in the first place. Unfortunately many 'photographers' don't learn how to use the camera properly and spend more time in PS masking, cropping and trying to polish that turd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post

As Dave once said - 'You can't polish a turd' - and that is true of photographs.
I do love a good misquote every now and again...it was the other one, not Dave
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Old 25-09-2008, 14:13   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

I don't use Photoshop, and I wish that it hadn't become a generic name for image editing programs - as if nothing else existed. However, I'd suggest that basic adjustments to levels, colour balance and such like is (and always has been) part of photography which used to be done in the darkroom. Some much fancier techniques involving masks etc were also done in the darkroom, and are now easier in the digital age.

However, once you go beyond a certain point with manipulation, you're moving from photography into graphic art. There's nothing wrong with that, but it is (IMO) a different ball-game.

In film days I used to shoot mainly slides - the film was the final image and there was no second chance. That was very educational but also frustrating on occasions, so I reckon that image editors are a good idea provided they don't become an excuse for taking mediocre photos on the basis that they can be sorted out later.
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Old 25-09-2008, 14:17   #20 (permalink)
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Talking Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
As Dave once said - 'You can't polish a turd'.
Love the expression
I want to reduce the number of turds I have to polish by finding out how to get the shot right in the camera but a lot of the time this explanation is not forthcoming either in a magazine or a forum. Too often I seem to see the original shot being reposted after it has been manipulated in PS without any explanation of how this could be also achieved in the camera.

Please dont take this the wrong way, I do agree the PS is complimentary, I just think (and yes I am repeating myself ) the emphasis has swung too far to "Dont worry PS will sort it!"

Do you think this site should lead by example?

I need a banner "Reduce the turds!"
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Old 25-09-2008, 14:21   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteA View Post
Do you think this site should lead by example?
This site caters to every side of photography and image editing is a valid part of that. How each member perceives its importance in their work is up to them. Discussions like this can be used to educate and influence but there is another great old saying...

you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
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Old 25-09-2008, 14:23   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

I must be quite industrial. My only concern is to get a good final image and I will do whatever is necessary to achieve that. Certainly don't worry whether my method was correct or not.

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Old 25-09-2008, 14:32   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteA View Post
Do you think this site should lead by example?
Ahh, I see what you mean! I'll admit that I tend to keep comments to how that particular image could be improved - but then the photo has been taken

Think that I'd probably need to be specifically asked how to improve the shooting circumstances (and the EXIF needs to be shown) unless it was something pretty major!
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Old 26-09-2008, 11:19   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

I think it depends on which magazine you read. Cause the one I get every month, tells you how to use settings on your camera. It doesn't go you much tips for ps.
PS is for me complementary and not to totally adjust my pictures. I like the creative side. But I it's the true photo's I've taken with hardly any adjustments who end up on my wall.
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Old 26-09-2008, 12:02   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Contrary to PS destroying the art of photography, I believe it has opened up a whole new world of photography and turned it into a true art.

Up until a few years ago, the photographer could only capture what was there in the moment (remember the old chestnut," the camera doesn't lie?" Yeah, right.

Sure, there were good photographers that could capture unique moments or points of view - but they couldn't create anything that wasn't there or express their inner feelings.

Photography was a science or at best, a demi art.

Through digital manipulation, it is possible to create images - not just photos.

Just like any art, you can become a great technician through a lifetime of practice. But you only become a great artist when you can transmit what you think/feel/believe through your chosen art form to move/inspire/cause emotion in the viewer/listener/reader.

Having said all that - I am hopeless at the program and don't use it myself.
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Old 26-09-2008, 12:45   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

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This is where advanced camera skill should be learned and applied. While PS is a great tool, it is there to enhance the work you create from the camera in the first place. Unfortunately many 'photographers' don't learn how to use the camera properly and spend more time in PS masking, cropping and trying to polish that turd.


This is exactly what I meant by my original post. I think the title may not be the best on the thread. I agree PS is complimentary and can be used to create graphic art by more serious adjustment. However getting the shot better is what I know will enable less time to be spent at the PC.

Dutchie what magazine do you get ?
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Old 26-09-2008, 14:01   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

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This site caters to every side of photography and image editing is a valid part of that. How each member perceives its importance in their work is up to them. Discussions like this can be used to educate and influence but there is another great old saying...

you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
Understood. What I was trying to do (and doing it very badly ) was to encourage all members of this great site to post comments on how get the shot right in the camera, in addition to how it can be achieved with image editing.

I will make sure to ask how to improve in the camera when I next post a picture, along with my new sign I'm designing "Reduce the turds!" as my hands are starting to get a distinct aroma!

On that note
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Old 26-09-2008, 14:44   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

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You can't polish a turd.
Will you tell Damien Hirst or shall I?
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Old 26-09-2008, 22:18   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Photoshop is a tool, the camera is a tool, the flashgun is a tool, the enlarger is a tool, the crop tool is ....errrr .... a tool!

My point being that saying Photoshop is destroying anything is putting the 'blame' in the wrong place. If someone gets murdered we focus all our attention on the murderer who committed the terrible crime. Whether you consider it right or wrrong, it is entirely down to the user of the tools rather than the tools themselves.

Why do people always insist that a photo isn't legitimate unless it 'came out of the camera like that'? The point of photography is to produce pictures that do all sorts of things: delight, enchant, challenge, amuse, encourage, disgust, anger, berate, confuse, ridicule, the list goes on an on.

We as photographers spend, IMHO, far too much time worrying over the journey instead of enjoying the destination. I have tried out a few challenges over the last few weeks, showing pictures on here and showing the same ones to non-photographers. The results have been, as I am sure you can guess, vastly different. Not one of the non-hotographers ever asked 'did you crop that?' or 'did you ....?' they just said whether they liked or disliked the picture as an end product.

Photoshop is part of the chain that gets to that end product. It is not the whole chain, neither is the camera. It never has been and never will be (ok, excluding Polaroid Instants!) but remember the old adage: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In my opinion, the weakest link is rarely the quality of camera or lens we own, it is usually the person holding the camera, using an enlarger in the darkroom or holding a graphics pen in a lightroom.

Photoshop DOES let you do things that can't be done in the camera alone but so what? As long as we see photography as being all about a camera OR all about the way we process it, we will keep worrying about the tools. When we see them both as part of one continuous chain that brings us to the final result, we will enjoy them both and allow them to be equal partners in what goes together to be one of the most fascinating hobbies in the world.... PHOTOGRAPHY :o)

A fascinating discussion, thanks Chris

Rob
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Old 26-09-2008, 22:38   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Is Photoshop destroying the art of photography ?

Well said Rob
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