Are presets & plugins making me lazy in my editing?

A question I’ve asked myself of late … I’ve not been a big user of presets in my editing apps as I love working the software in my own way to make my image. However there are so many offered with the programmes now that I’ve been trying some out – & I’ve got to admit some are really nifty & do save so much time! I know I can create my own but I’m not usually thinking of that & so often find I save my work before thinking about creating a preset … besides I’m not that cleaver & other cleaver people have gone to so much trouble, time & effort to create the myriad that are out there why not use them!
Plugins are the same … I’ve not been an avid collector of plugins but do have my favourite couple I frequently turn to. Again however just recently I have found myself exploring them more as a – shall remain nameless – upgrade presented me with the opportunity to use some free ones … & surprise, surprise, I’m enjoying them – at least for now.

Bringing me to my question … Are presets & plugins making me lazy in my editing – am I losing my editing skills & knowledge of my programmes? I guess I will answer that over time!

In our editing programmes there’s a multitude of ways to achieve the same result & we can use these variants to recreate many of the plugin effects available … sometimes it just takes a couple of clicks other times it can take a much longer process … so long as you are familiar enough with the software … but I am finding it so convenient to go the easy way – at least I am at this point in time! Am I lazy … at first I thought there’s no challenge here … just click on an effect & bingo but I’m quickly realising that to get the right look does indeed take some – well yes skill if you like! So for now I will further explore what my plugins have to offer & how far I can go with them.

A couple of thoughts, one – time – does it take less time to edit an image if I use these plugins or presets, can I process more images in less time … is that good or bad? Two – file size – should be a whole lot smaller as there won’t be so many layers!

Of course if I could get everything perfect in camera first that would save heaps of time … but hey I like playing! Besides if you’re perfect what have you got to drive you onward & upward?

Here’s a couple I’ve worked on … seems like I’m going thru a soft focus phase :)









Just how far to go when processing an image …

Over the years digital camera technology has improved no end & the cameras themselves become cheaper… alongside this image processing technology has improved & the number of products available increased exponentially. I for one think we are very fortunate to have such an array of amazing products from which to choose.

How many hours did photographers like Ansell Adams, Edward Weston – just to mention a couple – spend in their dark room? What would Adams have done with today’s dark room?

Most often than not a raw image straight from a digital camera needs some sort of post processing to give it depth … if it’s a jpg then the camera has applied enhancements set in that camera. Anyone who boasts their image has not been ‘touched’ is deceiving themselves & us.

I have no experience in studio work so I cannot offer my thoughts there. However in landscape photography typically we look at a scene, work it, take the shot. There & then we take a look on the screen & if it’s not good we take it again if possible. Back home we download the images do a quick critique & decide which are worth spending time, often hours, editing … looking at technical aspects such as composition, exposure, focus, subject interest. The raw image from the camera is generally quite flat so will need some enhancements & our editing software can fix basics like straighten, contrast & white balance very easily & quickly. If that is enough then stop. However if you are not happy then go further. This is where our software can excel … if you know your software & have a vision of your image then there is no limit to your creative powers!

If edits are handled with a ‘gentle hand/brush’ they can make so much difference in transforming a ordinary flat image to a wow image & in this process then I think we can be proud of our efforts & not deny the fact that our image has been enhanced. Working our way round some of these new programmes in itself is an accomplishment especially to those of us who do not have the background experience of techniques in the dark room.

How far we go depends on how & where our image is to be displayed! In my mind there are almost no boundaries say in fine art work or to a certain extent landscape photography, however photo journalism, historical photos are another kettle of fish. Weddings & portraiture! It is all very subjective … also for consideration is the ‘time’ factor … how much time are you prepared to spend in front of the computer to create a wow image? How much time do you have? Developing a basic workflow suitable for you takes time but can also save so much time in the end! Get to know your editing programme … of course it goes without saying know your camera & it’s settings!!

I am not a pro by any means just someone who enjoys photography & working on an image I feel worthy of printing. I would not hesitate to tell anyone who asked what processes I have used. I have my own guidelines as to how far I go with edits such as removing objects & changing skies … which I know pros do regularly!

Getting just the right look to an image in the digital darkroom isn’t as easy as some may suppose … & quite often I find myself doing a double take … looking back on any image a week or so later I think ok I went too far here or perhaps I can do more there or something different here! Sometimes a totally new look works for the same image … Ahh the magic of the digital darkroom! If you work long enough with a programme you tend to develop ‘an eye’ & can see when you have gone too far … I am working on refining that ‘eye’! & yes sometimes two minutes just does the trick:)

Just my thoughts. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries you may begin a new trend …
Happy creating:)

Who’s image is it …. ?

Some thoughts I have been pondering over.

Copyright rules … you take an image then it’s yours … BUT I’ll throw out a couple of scenarios that have been buzzing round my head … food for discussion!

One scenario … probably splitting hairs here but say a group of bods are out on a photo shoot – one person is asked to give advice/guidance on how to go about taking a particular shot – how to compose the shot, what the correct settings would be, which angle is best etc … the person offering the advice doesn’t ‘take’ the shot. Who’s image is it? If this shot is entered in a competition & wins!

Another scenario … a person is given an image or asked to edit an image – the photographer gives no guidelines as to how the image is to be edited. Does this edited image then become the ‘editors’ property – what claim, if any, does the editor have over this final product? The original yes will always remain the property of the photographer but what of the edited version?

These edits purely come from the editors own thoughts & vision. He/she has followed their digital darkroom processes to make the image – the contrast, colour conversions, composition, effects etc are all the results of his/her own interpretation of how the image should best be portrayed!
If the photographer was happy with the final rendition of the image does it then become his/her property? I’m sure if he/she were unhappy with the result he/she would not wish to claim ownership!

Take this second scenario my thoughts are that the editor would have some – even 100% – claim to this final rendition as they have toiled in the digital darkroom for any number of hours to produce an acceptable product! – well presuming it is acceptable that is! It was not the editors idea not the editors vision not the editors conception that created the original image but certainly the editors ideas – his/her creativity that resulted in the final product!
If there were guidelines from the photographer – the owner – of the image as to how it should be edited would that change things – would there need to be some sort of agreement set out?

In my first scenario if I was the person offering the guidance I’d certainly feel happy/humbled that my guidance had inspired the photographer to take a photo good enough to be entered & win a competition!

And does this all matter! I’m not a professional photographer but are these thoughts that need to be considered if I ever do sell any of my images or if I edit other images can I sell them as mine?
Food for thought!!