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The phrases “I can fix that in post” or “I’ll take care of that in Photoshop” irritate me to no end. There aren’t many situations where an issue can’t be fixed before the camera fires. Blemishes are a given. Of course if there’s a big red mark on someone’s face or a scratch on a product those have to be retouched. Bad lighting or bad exposures though…there’s no excuse.

Scott Smith by David Bickley Photography

I’ve seen the perspectives of professional photographers change on this over the last decade and unfortunately I feel it’s been for the worse. Retouching is being used as a crutch more often than as a tool in an already solid arsenal. In the workload of your average professional this can only mean more time spent on an image which in turn makes that image more expensive. Whether the photographer is fixing it themselves or outsourcing the result stays the same. I think we can agree that necessary expenses are bad.

Just get it right in camera!

This is where my agent would say “David is a very technical photographer.”

It’s probably true, but as the saying goes…you have to know the rules before you can break them. What I would say is this: In the 23 years I have been working with Photoshop I have learned one incredibly important thing:

Use it as little as possible.

Not because it’s bad, quite the contrary. Because it is such a vast and capable editing platform that it can easily make you a lazy photographer. I’ve seen entire sessions that were massively underexposed (dark for the non-photographers) all because nobody bothered to check and correct the light. Yes, capturing the moment is more important than making sure everything is perfect before a frame is taken. That’s why the pros have perfected their technique. When the moment comes all the details are second nature and there’s nothing to think about. You don’t go into a celebrity shoot where you barely have 5 minutes with the model and screw it up by overlooking the most basic details.

All that and the fact that there’s nothing to edit and every image from your set can be processed without doing anything additional.

See you tomorrow,