Photoshop vs. My Camera

I was over at 1001 Noisy Cameras yesterday, and they pointed to a debate raging in the DP Review forums called, “Photography vs. Photoshop,” and as those things tend to go, it gets mean spirited pretty quickly (if you want to read the debate, click here).

It brought to mind my Editor’s Note from this issue of Photoshop User magazine, where I talked about “Getting it right in the camera” and my motivation to do just that. For those of you that aren’t NAPP members, here’s an excerpt from my Editor’s note:

“Recently, I was lucky enough to spend the day shooting with, and learning from one of the hottest wedding photographers in the industryâ”the amazing David Ziser. David was hired to shoot a huge black-tie wedding in Cincinnati and he was kind enough to invite me to come along so I could get a behind-the-scenes view of how he shoots a wedding of this scale. It was really an amazing experience, and even though I was technically there just auditing the wedding, I still wound up shooting about 1,200 frames.

David let the wedding party know I was a "Photoshop Guy" and sure enough, a couple of the groomsmen were both photographers and Photoshop users. During one of the formal group portraits, we had one person missing; one of the groomsmen looked at me and said, "Don't worryâ”you can add her later in Photoshop," and then everybody chuckled. I smiled and said, "You know it!" Then we went to find the missing cousin.

The funny thing is, I had something totally different in mind. I was thinking to myself, "I don't want to add her later. I don't want to â˜fix it in Photoshop.'" Just because I know how to add her to the shot doesn't mean I want to spend my time doing that. In fact, I pretty much hate doing that kind of production work. I want to spend my time doing fun stuff in Photoshopâ”not spending time working on something I could have fixed in two minutes right there during the shoot.

The same thing happened recently when I was shooting a lighthouse in Maine. The lighthouse was on an island, and on the left side were all these distracting telephone poles and cables. My wife came down on the rocks where I was shooting and asked why I had this annoyed look on my face; I explained about the poles and wires. She said, "Can't you just take them out in Photoshop?" Yup, I could but I really hate doing that, so I just moved my camera to a spot where I could compose the frame without the wires being visible. That was much faster and easierâ”getting it right in the camera.”

A lot of people are surprised to hear a Photoshop Guy saying stuff like that, but like a lot of people, I’d rather save my time in Photoshop for the “fun stuff.” For finishing my files, not fixing them. In other words; life’s too short to spend your time removing telephone wires. ;-)

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