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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Am I a Photoshop Sinner?

I am subscribed to a newsletter from Digital Photography School and one of the articles in today's newsletter was Warning: 10 Deadly Post Processing Sins. I had to read it because I do post processing, and I found it satirical and funny. It has recieved a TON of coments both in agreement and disagreement of the top 10 list. I knew it would be a racy topic because, as pointed out by ProBlogger in a recent article found HERE, the writer expressed an opinion. By expressing an opinion you open the floodgates for people to either agree or disagree. So what is my take? I am NOT a Photoshop sinner. Why? Well, the most obvious reason is because I don't use Photoshop, I use the almost unknown program PhotoImpact. As for committing one (or more of the 10 Deadly Post Processing Sins, oh yeah, all the time. But these are a list of sins as seen by this one person. If I thought they were that bad, I wouldn't be using them now would I?
Selective coloring was one of the sins listed. As shown in the above picture, selective coloring is removing color (or turning black and white) all of the photo except for one or more specific parts. I have used it a few times and I am ahppy with the results. It is a way for me to enhance the image to show and emphasize what I want seen. The reintroduction of the blue shirt in the image above adds a shock of color that provides interest and focuses on my daughter as opposed to the entire image, the background etc. Not everyone will agree, but that's ok, because you don't have to. Since this is my picture, of my daughter, and I like it, I don't really care if anyone else does or not. If I were to create this for a client and they did not like it, that would be another matter entirely. Does it date my images? Possibly. However, does it matter if I am still pleased with the end result?

I just posted about the constructive critisizm I recieved that stated that my photos were over saturated and over processed. Now again I find myself reading how someone out there says that oversaturated photos are a "sin". However, if you were to ask me if I thought this photo was oversaturated, I would say NO. Did I increase the saturation? Of course. I did so to bring out the bright colors that it created. Most people look at this image an ooh and aww at the vibrant colors and think it's fantastic. If you don't, well ok. It's not required by any law that I know of to like my photography or my editing techniques.

One of my more recent additions to my photography gallery. This one falls under sin #1. How so you ask? Take a look at this cutout and I'll explain further.

This was in the original shot. So as I'm framing the image and thinking what a great view this is going to be I see that some jerk has littered and now there is this horrid looking beer case in my shot. Trying to get down there to remove would likely have proven disatrous and there was no other way for me to frame the shot and get the full image that I was after. So, I said to myself, fine, I'll fix it after I get it on the computer. Is that a sin? I've said this many times when lighting conditions outside aren't what I would like, or when I have found other pieces of trash that get in my shot. I have even told my daughter this when shooting shots of her. She tries not to smile outright because she thinks her teeth aren't white enough. If telling her I'll fix it on the computer will get her to show her gorgeous smile, then I feel no guilt and do not feel that I should be required to slap myself silly for thinking or saying it.

So, in conclusion, if you are the type of photographer/artist that prefers to market your work as not having been touched with a post processing program, GREAT! If you are the type that likes to make a few changes and keep things simple, GREAT! If you are the type that likes to go all out and change your photo into a piece of art that speaks of your style, GREAT! Do what you love, and ignore everyone else. And please, do not pass judgement on those who do things differently than you.


  1. One of the comments from the list of "Deadly Sins" said that those who don't know are the ones who like selective color and other effects. That's great, but they are the one's who are buying the pictures. It is generally the photography purists who don't like any post processing. Yes, I do strive to take the best pics I can with out photoshop, but for some it's just another canvas for them to paint on. As I review other peoples wedding photography extreme vingetting and selective color is what seems to be popular. High contrast, desaturation and a tight bokkah are also big sellers. Customers want what they think is beautiful. Not what I think is.

  2. This is hilarious...really hilarious...*sigh* Art is art, that is true, but just because clueless parents buy something, doesn't make it good. Parents also spend 30.00 on leather shoes for babies whose feet never hit the ground. If you knew how to properly expose and compose a photo, you wouldnt HAVE to selectively color a shirt to draw attention to it.
    How do people look at amazing photography and not see that theirs is not even close? I have no clue. Again, I reiterate...just because someone pays you for something does not mean that you know what you are doing. People paid Bernie Madoff their life savings, but he took them all for fools.

  3. Oh, and just for the record, I do believe if it makes you happy, ROCK ON, for your own personal photos. I have plenty of the same of my own child..but don't try to sell your lack of knowledge to someone else, just because you can. Besides, if you actually read the whole article, you'd see at the end she said it was a satire. Methinks thou doth protesteth too much. Why would you be defensive, unless you know you have no idea what you're doing with the camera, so you sell your art as photoshop, rather than photography.

  4. Hi, Sara. I doubt that you'll be back to read this but I did want to point out that I knew the article was a Satire.

    "I had to read it because I do post processing, and I found it satirical and funny."

    This line was in the very first paragraph. I don't appreciate you coming here and attempting to tear me and my art/photography down without even having read the entire article yourself. I understand this is a 'heated' issue in the photography world and that there will always be people who disagree on the matter. However, I don't feel that it is proper for one photographer to try to make a judgement against another's work, simply because it's different from their own. I stated before that you do not have to like it, but in a matter of common decency, if you don't you do not have to try to tear me apart to make your point. There is a difference between slamming someone and offering constructive critisizm. I value everyone's opinion, but not the bithcy attitude that could have been removed to make a more professional point had you wished.

  5. Jayde, your Pictures are BEAUTIFUL...Photography is ART even with using Photoshop:) Maybe the ones who do criticize should take a closer look at their photos..Clients love different effects on their images.. ALL Photographers use Photoshop...I use it & LOVE IT!!

  6. Ok...so the selective color thing is a little 20 yrs ago, but who cares? it's YOUR picture of YOUR daughter and YOU like it. Over saturating a picture of a person could look really wierd, but the picture of that tree you have is fantastic! It looks like there should be some little pixies flying around it. And, if people are buying...by all means keep selling! Anyway, I think there are obvious exceptions to those 10 deadly sins. She was just trying to be funny after all.


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