You all know that magic can be used for good or for bad. Photoshop is pretty much like that too. Read on for examples of good, or check out sites like this if you want to see how Photoshop can be used for bad.
In her comment, Lisa expressed some surprised that this photo of Alice wasn’t Photoshopped. Well, that’s not exactly right.
When I wrote about Alice, I was talking about how flash can be used to darken the background and not about how the final image was prepared. There is definitely more to the story.
First, I want to point out that EVERY image I share has some amount of post-processing done to it – using a mix of Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ll talk more about that some other time. Today I want to set the stage by explaining that when I make a photo, I start with a RAW file from the camera. That is, the digital file is the equivalent of a negative in olden times. Sure the exposure was recorded in a way that can lead to it becoming a photograph, but it isn’t something that can be used as is. That’s opposed to a JPEG file – if your camera records that kind of image, then that is all ready to go just as soon as you download that file from your memory card.
Okay, to recap then, a JPEG (or JPG) file is ready to use but a RAW file needs to be processed in order for it to be used in any way other than in specialty software (like Photoshop).
The question then is, what happens during the processing? Well, other than converting it to a file format that is universally recognized, I do the same kinds of things that photographers have been doing pretty much from the start (well, after Joseph Nicéphore Niépce’s first ever recorded image). I adjust exposure (dodge & burn), adjust color, adjust contrast, and I sharpen the image. I might also remove some distractions from image – typically small things like leashes, eye boogers, etc. (remember – simplify the background), and of course, I add a logo. That’s it.
I’ll wrap it up with some before and after examples.
So there you have it. I Photoshop my images. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
One last tidbit for you – I can do this because I am not a photojournalist. In photojournalism, it is generally okay to make basic corrections (like exposure, contrast, and saturation) just as they used to do in the film days but it is absolutely unacceptable to remove distracting elements from the backgrounds. Even something like removing the leash would be a career ending mistake.