Software skills in digital photography

We have entered an era of digital photography, and one of the most discussed questions is if one should or should not use image processing software. The short answer is – yes, you absolutely should. Now, let’s take a closer look at the reasons behind both sides of the argument.

People who are against using the software for image enhancements are normally backing themselves up with one of the following arguments: “you should learn how to shoot, then you won’t need software” or “an image has to show the truth, what was really in front of the lens”. But in reality both of these arguments are invalid. People who use them are probably good photographers, but they are scared of software or just don’t know how to use it.

Let us take a look a few decades back, when digital photography didn’t exist. What we used to do then? We took a film, loaded it into a camera, took our shots, then we had to process the film and print photos on paper. Here we used different combinations of chemicals, different timing to make them darker or lighter. Different color filters to emphasize color spectrum. Here you go – that is exactly what image processing software is now doing for us.

Yes, you do need to learn how to compose a shot before you take it. But sometimes due to technical limitations (or even change of weather) you will not be able to get the entire color spectrum 100% right. This is when you can help yourself with the software. Because it’s an art, your spectators are not interested in the process; they are interested in the end result. No one cares how Leonardo was mixing his paint – we want to see Mona Lisa.

As to the other argument that a photo must show the truth – yes, if you are a reporter it has to. Otherwise – not at all. But even if you shoot a dynamic event you may want to lighten up the image a bit, or get rid of that nasty lens flare that popped up all of a sudden. There are many ways you can benefit from using image processing software without changing the actual image composition.

So, the conclusion is: as we live in a new era of photography, image editing software is one more essential tool that every photographer has to be familiar with. Learn how to use it and you may even save a fortune on some physical equipment too.

Please share your thoughts in comments.

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