Living without Photoshop

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Siobhan_K Regular Member • Posts: 225
Collaboration Works

Hunter_C wrote:

Siobhan_K wrote:

Fragonard wrote:

Can a photographer live without Photoshop, as other options are here now!

I promise you this:

More photographers don't use photoshop than do.

Remember, most photographers don't do any post on their work at all.

Of the minority that does, "post" popularly consists of a phone app filter, all of which are getting better and "computationally smarter" every day.

"Oh, that doesn't apply to serious photographers," you may be thinking. Except that it does. Honestly, the more serious, the busier, the more successful the photographer, the less likely that photographer is to spend time in post, themselves. Post takes time; the skillset doesn't always perfectly dovetail with a working photographer's best traits; and they're too busy. So they hire it done.

Hire it done? And let the everything deviate from the course and thought they set at the time of composition? I'd say that is VERY substandard for an artist. But for a businessman, that's all right.

I think you're not seeing all the possibilities, here, for everything they are.

Far from being "VERY substandard," artistic collaborations are a crucial, vitally important aspect of the process for most creative people. That's certainly the case for the best in the craft.

Hiring your photographic post-production doesn't mean tossing it, cynically, it at some rando lowest-bid taskrabbit. For most photographers who hire help, it means engaging someone who's better at teasing meaning from images than you could ever be. It means hiring someone who's not only eager to discover and help develop your vision, but is capable of pushing it forward in positive and meaningful directions that you couldn't contemplate on your own.

Successful photographers who hire their post production aren't just delegating grunt work they don't care to do. Rather, they're recognizing that post production at its highest and most creative levels represents an entirely different skillset and perhaps even a different mindset. They're recognizing that being a effective and prolific photographer is, in of itself, an engrossing task--maybe so much so that the photographer who imagines he or she can do both the shoot production and the post production may ultimately be missing big opportunities in both.

Working with a terrific production staff is like working with a terrific editor or a terrific critic: the collaboration makes you grow. It makes you better at what only you can do. It broadens the possible course of your vision to include bigger possibilities that you might be able to dream, but that you alone could never successfully accomplish. And it might teach you to dream bigger altogether.

Speaking of teaching: working with a great post-production talent gives you an opportunity to learn that aspect of the craft from the best, if you're interested in one day going solo.

Fundamentally, photography isn't solipsistic. It isn't by-one-person's-mind-for-one-person's-mind: photographs get seen. They provide meaning and get interpreted, broadly. They illustrate and share and do work in the world. Photography communicates; photography is social. So unless you're photography's Emily Dickinson, you're going to share your work at some point; and the earlier in your creative process that you share your work, the more insight you stand to gain on how your perspective broadcasts an idea, on what your perspective means in the world outside your head, on how you could create differently, bigger, or better next time.

And at a basic, basic level: working with someone else to achieve something, involving someone else in your ideas, can be hugely motivating and inspirational.

George Martin made the Beatles sound better and dream bigger. Jony Ive made Steve Jobs a vastly more influential visionary. And Pratik Naik's post production makes Joe McNally's and Bella Kotak's photography sing.


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