Photoshop. It has become a household term. Everyone thinks it is an easy + quick fix to the imperfections in photos. Need to lose 10 pounds? You can Photoshop me to look skinnier, right? Remove an entire person from the image? No problem, you can do that in Photoshop. But wait. There is a problem. Photoshop is not a magical tool that will automatically do these things for you. Photoshop is an editing program that allows someone to manipulate an image in post-production and although some photographers are also very skilled in Photoshop, this is not always the case.
Contrary to popular belief, Photoshopping an image is not easy or quick. It actually takes a lot of time and skill to use Photoshop to enhance or “fix” an image correctly. So many times, I hear clients say “can’t you just Photoshop that out?” as if it were nothing at all. Honestly, I absolutely hate Photoshop. I hate it with a passion. To me, it’s a huge time-suck for me + my business. I’d rather take a few seconds to move distractions out of the photo or reposition myself to get the shot I want instead of wasting time later in front of the computer. If I notice a distracting element in my photo, I’ll move it before I shoot the image because fixing it in Photoshop takes time… precious time… and anything I can do avoid more time in front of the computer is a no-brainer for me.
I do 95% of my editing in Lightroom and it includes white balance tweaks, exposure adjustments, and other basic edits. I only use Photoshop for about 5% of my editing and the only real manipulation I do involves cloning out leashes, removing eye boogers, and getting rid of distracting elements in the image if needed. That’s about it. That’s all I really know how to do in Photoshop!
Admittedly, I’m not a Photoshop wiz… nor do I ever want to be. I love taking photos, but I don’t want to be a slave to the computer, editing images all day. If I can take care of the fix without Photoshop, I’ll do it. When I move things out of the way during a session or when I ask a client to stand a certain place, it’s all because I don’t want to have to go back and Photoshop those images later. It really is a huge pain in the butt! Of course, most of my clients have to keep their dogs on a leash when we’re shooting which is fine + totally understandable. I’ve learned how to position myself and my client so that Photoshopping the leash out of the image is as easy + seamless as possible. This has just come with experience and learning things through trial + error.
I truly believe that educating my clients about Photoshop is important. It really is not an easy answer to fixing all things. As a photographer, I want to capture real life and use Photoshop to enhance the images I take… not completely manipulate them. Photoshop is a powerful tool, for sure, but it only plays a small part in my workflow and if I can avoid using it, I do!