I love to take photos for a simple reason, they are our family archive.
It is becoming increasingly clear to me is that photography has changed dramatically. Before, a great photographer had to be – a great photographer. There were very few tools to change a photograph and those that were available were very expensive and out of reach of most people (e.g. airbrushing a photo). But with the creation of digital photography and the RAW format, it is less about being a great photographer and much more about being a great digital photo editor. The tools are unbelievable.
I have been using Adobe Lightroom (which is between Adobe Elements (entry) and CS3 (pro)). It is a good mid-level tool. In the new version 2 beta they have added the ability to spot change picture parts. It is amazing what you can do with a photo in only 5 minutes. Check out the below.
The original: Not bad, but washed out sky and the sign is ugly.
As the photo is in RAW, I can pretty much change anything. So I changed the ISO setting (exposure) to accommodate for daylight. An automatic setting in Lightroom – and out comes the sky. But now the stones are too dark.
Using the spot highlighting, I quickly (3 minutes) brush the exposure on the stones and grass. But now the grass looks washed out.
So I take the paint function and jack the saturation level up and quickly paint over the grass (1 minute). But that sign looks ugly.
Use the spot removal feature to paint out the sign and the little fence. (1 minute). Compare the beginning and the end. Amazing.
Five minutes work and a dramatically different picture and there is still a lot more that can be done.A good example here. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time.
I guess just like with music, it is becoming less about how great a singer or player your are as great engineering can change everything. This must mean a crisis of identity for many ‘old school’ photographers.
What really amazes me, is that anyone can now do it at a very low cost. The Canon G9 point and shoot ($500) shoots RAW giving you the utmost flexibility, the large file size is no longer an issue thanks to $20 2GB storage cards and computer tools are inexpensive.
Amazing. Another industry being changed by computers. When you add in a GPS phototracker that allows you to capture your trip and sync that with your pictures – well, the opportunities are endless.