Just like in filmmaking, sometimes it’s a lot easier to digitally generate wings on a fairy character than to build real ones for your model to wear. As a photographer with a cinematographer’s brain, I get it. Time and money are important things to keep track of, so that’s why it makes sense to use computers to save you both. It only makes me sad when I see photographers use post-production as a way to fix something they could have fixed on set.
It makes me sad when photographers use post-production to brighten images instead of learning how to light better. It makes me sad when photographers use post-production to clean up someone’s skin instead of hiring a professional makeup artist. My experience in theatre has taught me that every detail will get noticed, so don’t cut corners.
Sometimes you will be tasked with shoots you’re tempted to use photoshop to fix, but I urge you to think of other solutions. So instead of photoshopping smoke into a photo, learn how to create and shoot smoke. There are dozens of great websites like DIYphotography or other photography blogs like Von Wong’s blog to help you learn how to do these things.
Below is a RAW vs. Finished comparison of one of my signature images. As you can see, all I did was do some minor split-toning and change all the blues to be more turquoise, but what I saw in the camera is what was published. Hopefully it inspires you to strive for making strong images in-camera and not relying on computers.