Saturday, January 18, 2014

What defines a great photo, Photography or Post-Production?

In this digital era, let's face it, a lot of photographers could be labelled as "illustrators", as many rely on mostly on Post-Production, to greatly enhance the quality of their presented work. (Photoshop / Lightroom). 

Where's the limit?  Where does "photography" end, and illustration start?  Some say that all that counts is the end result.  Yes, I agree to some point, but also.. Some too much is like not enough, don't you think?  We've all seen it, the young girls that take cell phone selfies, and soften the skin so much they look like porcelain dolls.  That's the amateur point of view, but what about the photographers that make a living out of their art, and spend hours retouching a single image!?!

For you, what defines your style of work?  Personally, I prefer to take the time to properly set the parameters of my gear correctly, than spending countless hours in front of a computer screen.  I take pride in presenting a product that looks natural.  Yes, I'll use software to remove blemishes, fade wrinkles, remove bags under the eyes and loose hair, but usually won't spend more than 6-8 minutes on a photo.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the PP doesn't have it's place, but I think that there should be some sort of parameter that defines realism versus the overly touched-up photos you too often see.

Here's a sample of "Before & After" images taken on a publicity for Photoshop actions.  Basically, what we're seeing now, is that an ordinary image can be rendered beautiful, by a few simple steps, and good knowledge of software.  What will differentiate the good photographer versus, a graphic artist?  Or does a good photographer also need to be an "Illustrator" to keep up with the times?