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Photoshop as the modern darkroom


Infrared photo copyright Wesley Miller

Adobe's Photoshop has a definite following, but for every person who loves it there are at least twice as many who despise it. Old-school photographers used to shooting on film and processing it in a darkroom see the relative ease of processing an image in Photoshop as "cheating".

In some cases, it is. Using it to compensate for poor composition, brushing out items that weren't supposed to end up in the photo, those things that can't be done by traditional means make the photo less authentic. But in reality, isn't this still art? Art is using your creativity to make something beautiful. So long as the end result is pleasing to the eye, is there really an issue?

The simple answer is, no. Everyone has different taste in what they consider beautiful. Some people love super-saturated color, high contrast and pushed shadows, while some people like the natural look of what comes out of the camera.

Every photographer should strive to take the best photo possible initially without major post-processing. This is the hallmark of talent as a photographer. However, inevitably, there will be a photo that is perfectly composed, properly exposed but something is just missing. There should be no shame in using a little bit of digital post-processing. This is the hallmark of talent as an artist: being able to utilize all of the tools available at hand to create your work.

And besides, if the pros use it (particularly those in fashion and portraiture as no human body is totally perfect), why can't everyone?

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