Three Photo Image Manipulation Questions
At art shows, I’ll periodically be asked questions specific to my fine art prints.
“Do you edit your images”.
“Are your images PhotoShopped?”
“What post processing do you do?”
Yes - To The First Question
The answer to the first question, is “yes”. Upon importing the images into Lightroom on my computer, I go through each and every image and edit out (delete) those I do not like.
All out-of-focus images are deleted immediatedly - even those just slightly out of focus. (This will be very few unless the subject is moving, such as grandkids basketball games, or animals in motion). Next, careful review of similars, keeping only the best.
Typically, when I am completed with all editing, I may retain only 15-20% of the images from any one event.
No - To The Second Question
When used as a verb, the PhotoShop question implies a different question.
“Do you add anything to this image”?
To that question, the answer is no.
Lightroom - To The Third Question
I do so using Adobe PhotoShop Lightroom (commonly called “Lightroom”).
Lightroom is a photographers software. Each image is easily catalogued, developed, and printed to the photographer’s desire.
Do I Manipulate My Images?
Yes, I do. Let me explain.
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 clicking the shutter, I manipulate the scene to my desire by the choice of lens I use and camera placement.
Each lens provides a different visual effect. Camera placement adds to this “scene manipulation” providing different perspectives.
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.
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, As an example, a branch might be creating a distraction within the image, and if so, I will remove it (via cropping, healing, cloning, etc.).
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. (Ex. If a tree is not in the field, I won't add a tree, nor add clouds to a cloudless sky, etc.)
With Single Exposure
Some have asked if I use HDR. I do not. It’s just not the way I choose to convey the scene.
HDR is a process where the photographer takes multiple images of the same scene with different settings. Using software, the multiple images are merged into one.
In my photography, all images are single exposure.
Black & White - Image Manipulation
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.