After the Snap pt. 1

Wow!  I didn’t really intend to take the whole summer off from my blog, but I’m baaack!

This month I am going to take a step away from simply explaining how to use a camera and get into digital editing for a bit.  Though I cannot over-stress the importance of carefully crafting the image in the camera before turning on the computer, image capture is only half the project.

While at a big, international photography show, a gentleman once brought up the question, “Do they lose points for using Photoshop?”  The answer was a resounding, “Of course not.”  Why?  Because just the act of resizing an image to fit the paper or screen is a necessary alteration of the original.  Furthermore, every time an image goes from one medium – the camera- to another – a paper print, digital slide show, anthotype or whatever – it needs to be tweaked a bit to make it look its best in the new medium.  What looks terrific in a camera screen may need more or less contrast between light and dark,  more vibrant color or a shift in color to make the new medium look just like what you saw when you took it, assuming that you want it to look like that at all.  Start taking black and white pictures and the difference between the details you notice and what shows up in the image becaome even more desparate

Then there’s the more creative tweaking.  Did the camera capture things the way you perceived them?  You and your camera see and record things differently because it has optical sensors and you have organic eyes and a brain that interprets what you see.  You can account for a lot in the exposure, but not everything.  If what the camera saw is not what you saw, then there’s further lightening, darkening, cropping and fiddling to be done. You may want to play around with the picture to bring out the details, texture, shadows and highlights that you noticed and want others to see.

And what if you want to create an image that was never in front of you?  Sometimes the art of photography is so much more than what is captured.  Why strictly limit yourself to the obvious? There just may be a whole new world in your head just bursting to come out, if you let it.  This could be the time to break out bigger tools, layers and filters, though one simple tool can go a long way in making an amazing image.

In the coming weeks, I’ll explain about how various pictures got polished digitally and how you can use some very simple tricks to make your photos more creative.


About heather

A third-generation, informally trained photographer, Heather Siple has been taking pictures since she was old enough to hold a point-and-shoot steady. Her work has appeared across the US and internationally in museums, galleries and publications. Siple is the founder of the photo group ArtLane PCG .
This entry was posted in Art Thoughts, Photo Editing, Printing Processes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to After the Snap pt. 1

  1. Jeffrey A. Smith says:

    We know each other well, and you know that I generally dislike post-capture manipulation. I don’t think I limit myself to the obvious, but rather, observe that which should be obvious, but too many people don’t notice.

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