I read something earlier today that hit me so hard I can’t help but talk about it, and we’re going to use today’s shot to back up what I’m saying.
The statement was that retouching is “all the difference between a professional looking image and something that that people over look.”
Here’s the problem I see with that…retouching isn’t a requirement for a great or even “professional looking” image. You just need to know what you’re doing. I’m not saying the image above is amazing or anything, I’ll leave that for you to decide. What I am getting at with it is that it is 100% untouched (outside of resizing it for web use). Could it be improved? Probably. Does it need to be? I don’t think so.
I see over-processed images on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis and it is actually a little depressing to me. The thought process today is one of “I can fix it in post” rather than getting the best image possible from the start. I was guilty of this when I first got into photography. Back then I had already been using Photoshop for 10 years or so, and there was basically nothing that I couldn’t “fix.” That outlook completely hindered my growth as a photographer though, that is it did until I forced myself to stop retouching and start really shooting.
Yes, post-processing is basically a required skill for today’s photographer but does that mean that we should become lax in our ability to actually be a good photographer? Does every image need to be jacked with in Photoshop?
If you want to blur the background out…learn about apertures and their relationship to depth of field. If you want to get a soft, dreamy effect don’t use diffuse glow…experiment with putting sheer hose over the lens. Flawless skin…hire a good make-up artist.
In the end you will be better for it because the simple fact is… the higher the quality of the original image, the better it will be served by retouching. You may even start to realize that you don’t really need to touch your images!
See you tomorrow,