Eating crow but not editing it

I’m torn. I’m a purist when it comes to photography. I like to take what I shoot and process it as little as possible, which typically means I’ll adjust alignment and maybe crop the frame but that’s it. No Photoshopping, correcting, adding or subtracting, etc.

Well, I purchased a copy of Adobe Lightroom recently and I’m in love with it (we’re registered at Crate & Barrel and Adorama Camera, if you’d like to buy us a gift). It’s stupid powerful and why I’d ever need Photoshop for anything I’d ever do is a mystery. It’s easy to use, has plenty of features and makes some really gorgeous photographs and most importantly it makes already gorgeous photographs amazing.

Now, I know what you’re saying/thinking “WTF? I thought you were a purist?” and I totally agree; I’m backtracking on that stance a bit. What I’ve found is that when shooting RAW, Lightroom lets me make the photo as I saw it through the lens and how I intended it to look. That means if the white balance is all jacked up, I correct it. I was trying to highlight a certain area, I can highlight it. Where I draw the line is editing what/who I shot to make it look BETTER or different. You have a little freckle you don’t like? Tough shit; that’s who you are. This branch in the background is sort of distracting and can be edited out? No way Jose; that’s what I shot so it stays. Now, if someone is paying me and they want me to process the photo it’s your money and I’ll happily oblige. But, as far as MY photography goes, Homey don’t play that.

I guess my militant stance against the Photoshop army is that I believe a great deal of those photographers have the mentality “It doesn’t matter, I’ll just fix it in post” and that bugs the shit out of me. I find that shooting that way makes you lazy, maybe not care as much. Or maybe, it lets you focus on composition, lighting and such; who knows. I’d rather try as hard as I can to get the photo as close to perfect as possible and then make adjustments after the fact as a fall-back rather than rely on post-processing as a crutch.

Photography is an art just as I’d argue that processing photos is an art; a different art with nothing to do with photography. The composition aspect of photography is what really gets me excited and there’s no amount of processing that can correct you standing 3′ left of where you should have been standing for the best frame or being in the wrong place to capture the light coming through some window. But if you capture the perfect frame and you underexposed it or you didn’t have the right f/stop to highlight the area of the frame you saw through the lens, I guess I’m saying it’s OK to go in and correct that.

So there ya go; even I eat crow…I just don’t edit out that ugly feather or another crow in the background that wasn’t supposed to be there.

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