Do I edit my images?
At art shows, I’ll periodically be asked questions specific to my fine art prints. “Do you edit your images”. “Do you use PhotoShop?” “Do you do any post processing?”
Yes, I do
The answer to all three is “Yes”. Although I don’t use PhotoShop Creative Cloud, I do use Adobe PhotoShop Lightroom (commonly called “Lightroom”).
Regarding editing, it is not uncommon to keep only 15-20% of the images of any one particular shoot, depending upon the subject. I always delete images that didn’t turn out to my satisfaction (which includes those I just didn’t like).
Do I manipulate my images?
Yes, I do.
As an artist, it is important to create the image I envision when depressing the shutter. Part of this includes making all the decisions, from capture settings through to the final print.
Even before I click the shutter, I manipulate the scene to my desire by the choice of lens I use. Each lens provides a different visual effect and manipulates the items within the scene accordingly. The scene is further manipulated by camera placement, providing different perspective.
I create the final image
As an artist, I’m free to create the image as I desire.
Everything is captured in full resolution, 14 bit, Camera RAW using manual settings. With the largest file setting (in my case, over 21 MP), I obtain maximum scene data which is utilized to the fullest extent later in Lightroom, with a color calibrated monitor.
Adjustments will be made to exposure, contrast, luminance, tone curves, black and white points, cloning and healing, dust removal, just to name a few.
Honoring the natural scene
Though I may remove a small element to improve the image, I do not add things that didn’t exist in the original scene. If something wasn’t there when I snapped the shutter, it isn’t going to be in the final image.
With single capture
I do get asked if I use HDR, a process of taking multiple images of the same scene with different settings, and merging them into one. I do not. All images are single capture. It’s just the way I like to convey the scene.
While speaking of image manipulation, there are some images I’ll view as potential black and white candidates. Again using the power of Lightroom, I process the images as I see them, complete with the black and white tones.
The ultimate expression
In consideration of the above, I always view creating the best image in the field (via lens selection, composition, etc.) the first criteria for a successful print. Post processing only amplifies the visualized image that I had initially created. The final print, which I print myself, allows for this ultimate expression of my initial visualization.