Processing Pictures

I am NOT a photographer.  I have never taken a class on it, I have never sold an image, and I have never owned multiple lenses for one camera.

That being said, I am tired of people claiming to be photographers.  Have you noticed this phenomenon?  Perhaps you have noticed your out-of-work friends on facebook suddenly posting their overly-processed photos and then getting some positive comments and then deciding to start a photography business.  Well, I am using my blog to complain about it.

With the advent of digital photography, we have all been given the ability to go out and shoot pictures for very little cost.  Like most things, cheaper is not usually better, so we are all bearing witness to this bastardization of a true art.  Recently, the digital photographers have gotten their hands on digital processing software that allows you take your photo and sharpen it, airbrush it, colorize it, and worst of all HDR-it.  The High Dynamic Range software in basic terms allows you take two pictures, one with a long exposure, and one with a short exposure and then lay them over top of each other to get all of the bright spots, and all of the dark spots in one photo.  This is pretty cool, but in fact it is nothing new.  Julius Shulman used the analog version of this technique when he created the famous photo of Case Study house #22 (seen here), by taking a picture of the house in the daytime and then taking a photo at night to get the bright lights of the city.  He then overlayed them to create the amazing photo that made that house a legend.  Shulman had to wait all day to capture that photo, and I am sure it took hours to actually develop and create the final product.  With a digital camera and some software, one can now create that photo in a few minutes.

I am certainly not against using technology, I love digital cameras, I even used software to make pictures look better, but please stop over processing pictures!

For example.  Here I am using an unedited picture of yours truly:
Now see what happens when I process the shit out of it:   
Suddenly I have a black eye, and it looks I am standing on another planet.

I have, and I am not kidding, seen pictures like that in people's wedding albums on facebook.  That means that there are photographers who charge people money to make them look like they are from Mars.  I have been seeing more and more of this use of digital processing though, with pinup pictures, real estate, weddings, print ads.  Maybe I am the only one who thinks this looks terrible...


Bethany said...

So true!! My sister commented the other day how trendy it is to over-process baby photos so the kid looks more like a porcelain doll than a living, breathing person.

Midcenturymadam said...

Now I have to go check all my photos and make sure I haven't over processed them. Does it count that I've removed a few dark circles and wrinkles from my face? "Retouch" is not such a terrible thing...is it?
Come on, it's cheaper than plastic surgery and way safer.

Husband said...

Well, I don't want to sound like a fuddy duddy about it. Like I said, I use processing software and they certainly help my limited photography ability. My big thing is just that people who claim to be professionals.

Welcome to DeluxeVille said...

I think as an artsy person who has a blog and enjoys taking pictures, it can be fun to "play" around with them and create "different" effects. However, it is not cool if I was taking really crappy pictures of people, badly, playing around with different effects on the crappy pictures for people and then charging them for my crappy work! But hey, if the customer is stupid enough to think the picture looks good then I guess it doesn't really matter what I think!


Welcome to DeluxeVille said...

*what the hell did I just say above??? LOL!!!

ME said...

I agree.

Dana@Mid2Mod said...

I've gone to see a few things listed on Craigslist that looked much better in the listing than in person. I'm fairly sure the owners had processed the hell out of the pictures, airbrushing out all the flaws. It really pisses me off to have my time wasted like that.

Miss Rav said...

I think they look awful as well.

Running an image through every photo filter included with photoshop is just pure amateur. I've had to retouch many images for professional use but if I presented any graphics that looked like that, I would be fired.