Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My Software Choice

Sunset At Morro Rock - Morro Bay, California
Software doesn't create art--artists do. People sometimes get carried away with gear and post-processing programs.

Software is important in that you cannot just imagine an image and--poof!--have that as a tangible photograph in your hands. Perhaps something close to that will one day exist, but here and now we have to use real technology to achieve what we want as artists. Software, such as Photoshop, is one example of technology helping photographers create art.

But no software is capable of creating art outside the existence of an artist. The artist directs the software to turn an exposure into finished work.

For me, the fewer the steps the better. The less time that I have to spend in front of a computer screen the more time that I can spend making exposures (and doing other important things). I want the post-processing process to be as simple and streamlined as possible. Yet, at the same time, I don't want to compromise my artistic vision for the sake of simplicity.
Purple Thistle Blossom Macro - Tehachapi, California
I'm often asked if I "Photoshop" my photographs, and the truth is that I do not. I don't even own Photoshop (or rent it). But I do post-process all of my photographs.

As best as I can, I try to get everything "right" before opening the shutter. I take care to ensure everything is how I want it before the exposure is made. No amount of post-processing can "fix" a poor photograph. A photograph must be good to begin with.

I use post-processing software to take a good exposure and tweak it to match the vision in my mind. I don't drastically transform an image in post-processing, but I do transform my images using software with a bunch of minor adjustments.

The software of choice for me is Alien Skin's Exposure. Right now that's all I'm using. It's quick, accurate and easy. I get the look that I want with just a few clicks. And then I'm off to the next image. I don't compromise my time and I don't compromise my art. That's what I call a winner!

I could waste a bunch of time sitting in front of a computer, making tons of adjustments with Photoshop. I could tweak and tweak some more. But that's just not fun (at least for me it's not). Instead, I use Exposure and I'm done.

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