Last weekend I was in an intensive two-day workshop learning Adobe Lightroom 3. Today I started a 6-week course to learn Photoshop Cs5. For decades I have so loved taking photographs–I mean, the actual moment of taking the photograph–that to sit at a computer as a beginner and without a camera in sight is disconcerting. Yet the joy is still there, shimmering beneath the surface, holding the promise that soon I will once again be able to share my images with others, with the world.
At the end of the six-week course we will a full day to print out 8×10 enlargements of our images on the amazing printers at Midwest Photography Workshops. I suspect it will be then that I get it, it will click, and Lightroom, Photoshop, and my Nikon D7000 will catapult me from the darkroom to the digital universe. Will I the last person in America to be converted? Seems that way some days.
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Karen…I’ve felt that sentiment that you expressed about being the last person being converted to the digital age, only I felt it with converting to RAW from JPEG. Somehow I felt that shooting in RAW would make me less of a photographer and more of an editor. I wanted to be known for my photography skills vs. my editing skills. Using LR3, with its non-invasive editing modes (no layers, masks, etc.), has helped me stay truer to my beliefs. LR is almost like a sophisticated Picassa: with one click and you’re back to the original. Someone who is a pro at photo editing with both LR and CS5 helped me get into LR by saying you can either have the camera do the editing or you can do it yourself and get the results you seek. A camera, she told me, cannot capture what your eyes can so by using an editor such as LR, the photographer has complete control regarding making your capture truer to what you saw while making the photograph. Anyway, that philosophy has helped me make peace with judicious use of LR. Karen
I had a good instructor for Lightroom just a week ago. He said that we can do 95% of what we want in Lightroom–to do what you said, to make sure it looks like how we saw the image. I’m forcing myself to learn Photoshop because it’s the industry standard and perhaps when I start scanning old photos and slides I might need to repair some problems. But I don’t plan to do what the instructor does like switch out the sky for one he likes better, or add a moon, or whatever. The thought of doing these things is from another planet. I don’t even like what is is almost always done to portraits to remove the “imperfections” like freckles or a blemish or two. For me the integrity of the image itself vanishes and the joy of the photographic moment is lost.
Hi Karen…I’ve been off my regular blog reading schedule due to the massive storm we experienced up north and the ensuing power outage from Friday night through much of Monday. I subscribe to a wonderful magazine Outdoor Photographer, which is full of ads for all kinds of photo editing software. One, in particular, is intended for portrait photographers and it shows a before and after of a picture of a young woman who has the normal amount of skin aberrations. In the finished “after” project, her skin is so smooth and flawless that she doesn’t appear to be real! I can see how this might be attractive for those trying to achieve the perfection that so often is demanded for women in our society. But who really wants a picture that is unrealistic! I’m glad that you see the best use, in my opinion, for these editing tools. Karen
Wow, the storm missed Ann Arbor pretty well. Glad you’re back online :-).
In a couple classes I’ve been taking I was taught how to do just what you are describing. You and I must live on another planet from most people in America. I felt physically or psychically ill as I watched my instructor demonstrate how to remove blemishes, make eyes wider and brighter, thicken eyebrows, and darken hair color. And this was done on the photo of a five-year old to send to a modeling agency. I felt stunned and thought, like you, that the child looked worse, plastic even, afterwards. I know I’ll never do this and find it pretty frightening that no one else in the class seemed shocked. Why in the world would you want to erase a person’s character from their face?!? Okay, maybe a pimple or two, but change the size of their eyes or color of their hair? I just don’t get it.
And yes, it’s great to be back online. Shows how addicted I am to technology! As a therapist, I worked with a lot of young women with body image and eating disturbances. It’s no wonder they struggled on attaining looks that were plastered all over the magazine covers, and which, unfortunately, weren’t even real. What a conundrum that is for self-developing youth! Have fun acclimating yourself to your new camera. Karen