A lot of photography conversations revolve around the question of how much editing has been done to a picture. Terms like “sooc” (for straight out of camera) or raw, or “minimal editing” are involved. I also have been known to encourage capturing the best pictures you can in camera. But does that mean editing in post process is a bad thing? No, definitely not. For some, it has become a bad thing though, and phrases where “photoshop” has become a verb have been bandied about a lot. I’ve heard everyone from amateurs to pros say things like “We’ll just photoshop that out later” or “Can you photoshop my eyes?”.
Purists may scorn such activities, and while there are some situations where editing a photo significantly can have moral, ethical, and professional consequences (such as photo journalism), I can’t help but wonder how Photoshop came to have such a bad association. Clearly, there are differences of opinion across the spectrum on what lines shouldn’t be crossed (or “photoshopped”). Overall though, I would say that Photoshop is not innately a bad thing (whether you think of it as a software application or a verb).
I said just a moment ago that I always try to get the picture right when in camera. It’s not that I am opposed to pixel editing, but I’d rather avoid it if I can. There are times (for me) though when some things cannot be avoided. Take for instance a ballgame we went to just last weekend. The Milwaukee Brewers were in town and it made for a great birthday present and combination Father’s day gift for Tracy and the visiting in-laws.
Being one to always take a camera in tow, I did. A beautiful sunset ensued at the game and of course, I had to take a few shots. When I got to skim through things the other day, noticed something in the scene that I wished wasn’t there – power lines! So, the decision had to be made – will it significantly help the composition to remove those lines? For me, the answer was yes. So, into Photoshop I went, and after a few minutes of editing, produced the results (click on the picture for a larger view).
It may not seem like much to others, but to me, the shot looks a lot better without the power line. So, what’s your take on this? Is Photoshop a bad word? Does the picture look better, the same or worse? Sound off in the comments! Keep on shooting too and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!