One of my favorite parts of being a photographer is getting to meet all kinds of people. Not just the models…even though that is a lot of fun. ;) But I get to meet a lot of people in general.
This past month, as many of you probably already know, I photographed several bikini contests for all of the Hooters restaurants in Southern California. At one particular contest, I got to the restaurant early, set up my equipment, and was sitting down to a little bit of editing and dinner before the contest started. A gentleman who had watched me set up decided to come over for a little bit of conversation. He was a photographer as well; and he started to talk about how anyone could be a photographer these days. He also went on to say how Photoshop makes him a better photographer. He said, “It doesn’t really matter if you take a bad picture or not…you can always fix it in Photoshop.”
I let him talk for a few minutes before I said anything… he went on to say how cameras are so good these days that even if you take a bad photo, you can still make it look good in Photoshop and he admitted that oftentimes he really didn’t care how good the pictures were coming out because he knew he could fix them later.
I’m about to tell you what I told him… I’m not really sure about you, but I’m pretty damn lazy. I don’t like doing more work than I have to. If you have ever seen me on a photo shoot, I’m usually sitting on my ass. Well, not really…but sometimes.
Fact of the matter is if you get something done right the first time, you don’t need to go back and fix it. This is why I strive to get it done right in the camera the first time. That means making sure my lighting is set up correctly. Making sure everything is metered and color corrected. Making sure my camera has the proper settings activated. Basics.
I feel like a lot of times, photographers use Photoshop as a crutch. All of the things you can do in Photoshop are pretty snazzy… and they just keep getting better. Technology is awesome. But we shouldn’t have to depend on it to be a good photographer. You should just BE a good photographer to begin with. And if you know what you’re doing and put forth a little bit of work at the onset, your pictures will be all that much better when you bring them into Photoshop.
Listening to that man talk, I couldn’t help but wonder what his photos looked like. I wonder what he sees when he looks in the back of his camera. More often than not, people are amazed at how good the photos look as they are flipping through them on the back of the camera; pre-Photoshop. Oftentimes, photos don’t even NEED to be retouched. Sometimes people say, “you have an awesome camera.”
I’m sure a lot of you photographers have gotten that before. Yes, my camera is nice…But it’s not the camera. The fact that I know what I’m doing. :)
And that’s the goal: making your photos look good from the start. Know what you’re doing. And put forth the time and effort to get it right the first time.