Last night I attended a talk given by John Mariana at the Roswell Photographic Society. The topic was Fine Art with Photoshop and Adobe Raw. To be honest, I was not all that thrilled to go. While I thought I might pick up one or two small things, I did not expect much. But what occurred was just the opposite; What I walked away with, I believe may change how I look at post processing. In other words, it may be one of the larger things I have ever learned.
I know that many people say you should never fix or change something in Photoshop; The way it comes out of the camera is the way you should present it. To that I say boo-ha-ha; and I always have said that. Even before digital photography took off, everyone made changes to their images. It may not have been called post processing, but they were still changes. It is just that these changes occurred in the darkroom rather then on a computer.
My goal in presenting an image is to see it the way I saw it when I snapped the shutter. If I really go over the top, number 1, people can tell and number 2, I admit it. The ultimate goal is to capture the viewers imagination and build excitement.
What John spoke about last night was nothing really new. I was familiar with each of the tools in Photoshop that he spoke about. Some I knew were there, but I had forgotten them or just gotten into a habit of not using them. But it was the way he presented his information and at that moment, for some reason, it just resonated in me. So what did I learn? Two very simply things really: 1) In our culture, we read left to right. So your image should be viewed that way. 2) If the lines aren’t straight, straighten them. Nothing earth spattering. But it is one of those small things that I think will allow me to get that much better in the images that I present.
Below are two images that I have taken this past year. Neither are out of this world shots, but I wanted to show you my point. The first two images are exactly the same, but with one minor difference, I switched the horizontal position from one side to the other. Look at the top image; That is the “final image”. Below that is how I started out. On the top image, my eye seems to naturally lead from the left to the right. On the bottom shot, it felt forced. Again a minor change, but now it just feels right; I enjoy the flow of it more.
The 2nd series has the same change as above, but this time, I straightened up the lines. When I took this shot, it was impossible for me to get level with the building. But with some minor tweaks in Photoshop, it now looks just like I saw it.
I love technology. But in reality, I love learning even more!!