Photography getting lost to Photo-editing

Darkroom has been replaced by photo-editing on computers. Sadly, a lot of newcomers are now replacing photography with photo-editing. I’ll refer to this habit as photo-shopping since that is what people have come to call it. In fact that is another achievement of the Adobe Photoshop software, to be able to penetrate to such an extent and get known to the masses. My sincere advice to all budding photographers is to start photographing and reduce photoshopping.

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Saturation – the ideal level

The world around us is colored. It is not a surprise then that colors attract us. The colors in photography however assume a very important role. It is therefore important to understand how much of colors is good. The technical term for the amount of colors is saturation. Photo-editors of today use powerful algorithms to change the saturation and can vary it between zero (which is practically black and white) to such a high extent that it becomes a pain in the eyes to look at. Ideal saturation level is the one that brings out the beauty in the photograph without looking too artificial.

Fog on the hills

(Fog on the hills – a difference in saturation in the trees in the foreground and the ones on the hills gives an idea about the fog. The dark foreground also gives a sense about the late time of the evening.)

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Top 10 Photo-editing Traps

One of the best things that has happened with the digital revolution in photography is the change in darkrooms. Now instead of those truly dark areas with various liquids, we are blessed with comfortable desks and powerful computers. The image editing programs like Photoshop, Gimp, Affinity Photo etc are really powerful. It is also very easy to get lured into spoiling any image while trying to make it better. Here are the top 10 photo-editing traps that should be avoided.

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Raw files – what affects them

There are a myriad of camera settings that affect a photograph. How many of these changes actually affect the raw files is a matter of debate for some and a confusion for most. The common word is that none of the camera settings actually affect the raw files and these are only important if saving photographs as jpg. It this true? Let’s explore in some more detail.

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Changing the Image Size

The size of the photographs captured by camera, quite often does not match the requirements. The photographs may have to be sent in small sizes by email or uploaded to social networking sites. There are websites that won’t even accept images above a certain size. On the other hand, the photographs may have to be enlarged and  printed. The size of the photographs in most conditions also does not tally with the required print size. What happens in all these situations is that the various algorithms take up this task of changing the size of the photograph to provide acceptable results. These algorithms maybe a part of the operating system, website designing software, printer’s software or even as coding done at the level of websites. The problem? These acceptable results are most often not the best.

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Best Image-Editing Program

Which is the best photo-editing program available out there? Which raw converter works the best? Every year various websites and magazines do comparisons of the best programs available and come out with recommendations. I have played around with a few programs and seen other photographers work on them. Here is a basic insight into some of the available options from my personal point of view.

Croton Leaves

(Nikon D200 with Nikkor 18-35mm lens. Clicked as raw and post-processed)

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Cropping Tool

Cutting the unused or extra area away from a photograph is called cropping for whatever reasons. My neighborhood barber now has ‘hair-crop’ rate list. Cropping must be a new word which incidentally I did not study in school. Anyway, coming back to photography, cropping is a really powerful tool and something which can easily add impact to your photographs. Cropping can also create drama, change your composition, add an element of surprise or it may just make the photograph look beautiful.

Lady Worker

(Nikon D200 with Nikkor 50mm at f/5.6 with some amount of cropping)

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