“Do you Photoshop?”
I can’t count how many times I have been asked, “Did you Photoshop that photo?” Hmmm…interesting question. Let’s use this photo to explain. Some of you may have seen this version (above) on Facebook recently. But read on to see the original and another version!
Adobe Photoshop is a software used to edit various formats of photo files (jpg, RAW, TIFF, etc.) and movie files. It’s also used quite a bit with 3-D rendering and various graphic arts applications. It’s funny, but over the years, much of the photo editing process has migrated to Adobe Lightroom. In fact, I have heard anecdotally that most photographers do most of their editing in Lightroom and some even avoid Photoshop altogether! There is quite a difference and Photoshop is certainly more capable of “heavy lifting” during the editing process. But, Lightroom is more than capable of much of the major duties. And it’s a photo storage and cataloging software, too!
I know that people think that Photoshop (or photo editing) is used to alter or modify images. For example, adding clouds, blending different images together, changing facial expressions, and more! All of that leads people to believe that photos aren’t wholly true and reliable records. It’s true, one has the capability to do things like that, but I don’t think that fits every photographer’s objectives and goals.
On the other hand, I’m going to go out on a limb and state that ALL or MOST photos require some sort of editing. Especially if you are shooting in the RAW format (and, to a lesser degree with jpg format). The nature of digital images is that they “need” editing. They come out of the camera with flat colors, lack of sharpness, frequent color temperature issues, and more. All of those things are easily and quickly handled in Lightroom with sliders and brushes. And the program also has the capability to “clean” dust spots on the sensor.
The above image did not go into Photoshop!
The image above is exactly the same except it’s a black and white (monochrome). Also processed ONLY in Lightroom. Note that making a black and white image is not normally done effectively by simply removing or de-saturating an image. There are additional/different adjustments that must be made to the original image to maximize and minimize the various grey tones…and Lightroom does a great and easy job with that, too.
Above is the original image…straight out of the camera. Look at the image at the top of this post and look back at this one. Notice, among other things, the horrible looking color temperature in the unedited version which was caused by the artificial lighting in the train car. I adjusted and improved that (with sliders) to more closely match and represent what the eye sees. The whole processing and editing process took moments to minutes. The point is, it wasn’t a big job and just required a little understanding of the software, like anything else we use.
Now, if I wanted to add a person to the seat in front of them, I’d have to go to Photoshop!!
If you’re interested, there are many photo editing tools available besides the Adobe products. Apple’s Photo app has good editing tools, for example, and it comes free with the software. There are also many software plug-ins that help or assist editing and some of them can either work independently or be integrated with Lightroom.
In other words, there are many viable alternatives to Photoshop that can help improve all of our photos! But, learning and using Photoshop can be very rewarding and fun in certain situations.