Until today, I have never used Photoshop to edit my pictures. I often tell people it’s because I feel like it’s “cheating.” There used to be a time where photographers didn’t have Photoshop, or computers, or even digital cameras. They took their photos on film, developed them in a dark room, and had to do a lot work up front to get their work to look spectacular.
However, I think part of the reason I’m so against it is because I haven’t learned how to use it. Photoshop and other editing programs don’t magically turn a crappy photo into an amazing one. It still requires a talented person to frame the shot, find the right exposure, work with the lighting, etc. Sure, technology allows us to “tweak” the photo to make it better, but that itself is an art form. This is especially apparent when you try to use Photoshop for the first time, as I did today.
Don’t get me wrong. I still kind of think there should be separate photo contests for photos adjusted in “post-processing” and those that were taken exactly as they appear. Or maybe when people put their shutter speeds and f-stop information on their photo, they should also indicate what editing tools they used. Maybe once I learn more about this tool, I’ll start to feel differently, but for now I’m still a bit of a skeptic.
That said, I decided today was the day to try my hand at the basics of Photoshop.
In the photos below, I didn’t edit the actual picture at all, but I taught myself how to add a border, add a text box with my name, “flatten” the image, and save the file as a jpeg.
To all the not-so-clueless photographers out there, what do you think? How did I do? What photo editing program(s) do you use? How much do you actually edit your photos? What skills do I need to learn in Photoshop? I’d love to hear your thoughts.