Photoshop as a verb – no never?
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You may have seen these articles and if not you should.
The key line is: “We have somehow come to believe that the images look better with copious amounts of Photoshop vs what is straight out of the camera.”
Digital cameras do a lot before you see the JPEG version on your back screen. The anti-aliasing filter stops moiré, the “picture controls” or “picture styles” add sharpening and in many cases more vivid “styles” or “controls” reduce the range of light the camera sees to add punch (see the camera reviews on http://www.DPreview.com where they review recent DSLRs handling of dynamic range).
Reuters has some of the toughest rules going for photojournalists and while they do not permit in-camera sharpening, they do permit the use of Photoshop and many of its functions. I wonder how many people know how to, or do remove in-camera sharpening. The company that makes your camera has a vested interest in your pictures looking good out of the camera. To make sure they do, they automatically add some contrast, sharpening and saturation (sometimes even if you choose neutral settings). What they cannot do, without your guidance is prepare them for print or the web, that is a choice involving other steps, including special sharpening, and accommodating different kinds of paper and screens (and then they have to assume you’ve calibrated your computer’s monitor).
The point is that digital photographs are manipulated, starting from the point that the light enters the lens. There is no do nothing option. You have the choice of accepting your digital cameras’ editing of your work, versus doing it yourself. Just like in the old days.
Photoshop is being used as a verb that means doctored or severely altered. Lets be frank, all computer monitors need calibrating, most pictures could use a dash of contrast, a pinch of exposure correction, a tweaking of white balance, a little dust and noise reduction, possibly a bit of cropping and all require specific sharpening depending on your final output.
I am not a fan of over the top processing, I like my photos to look real bearing in mind the limitations of digital cameras. I similarly don’t believe photographs straight out of the camera usually have all the tweaks they need, anymore than they did in the days of film. In other words I am down the middle in this debate.
As the photograph above illustrates, reality is often better than fiction, reality does not need to make sense (my apologies to Mark Twain, whose quote I have presumptuously edited.) But reality includes post processing photographs.