Staging New Hampshire

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Photoshop is NOT a dirty word!

I totally agree with this post and found it through another reblog.  I thought I would share it with you in case you missed it the first time around, like I had.

A while back I was reading someone’s blog and saw these quotes in different people’s comments.

“I've never doctored a photo I'm happy to say.”
 “We don't alter photos. What you see is what you get.”
“…touching up photos in Photoshop is just wrong.”
 “Absolutely right on the doctored photos. Can't do it. No way. No how.”
“In my opinion, doctoring a photo is unethical.”
“…nor do I touchup pictures.”


I must admit I was a bit surprised by how adamant these people were. But with all due respect to people’s opinions, there's nothing inherently wrong with retouching, Photoshop, or any other image editing program. They're just tools - just like a camera is. Nothing more. Nothing less.

In fact, a lot of the so-called ‘doctoring’ that needs to be done is no different than what the camera is doing when a photo is taken. But for whatever reason, maybe a camera setting was wrong and the photo came out bad. It might have been the exposure was off, or the white balance was off, or whatever.

But one the biggest reason’s to retouch an image is because no camera (no matter how good it is) is nearly as sophisticated as the way God designed the human eye. And no camera can capture exactly what our eyes see. A professional photographer can come a lot closer, but it’s still not the same.

Below are just a few examples of situations where retouching needs be done. And not correcting photos like these could be far more misleading than if you do correct them. To me, it’s also a real disservice to your client if you don’t fix problems that are obvious.



EXAMPLE 1- Windows: One example is blown-out or overexposed windows. This typically happens from the outside light overpowering the interior light. Your eyes automatically compensate for this. Your camera doesn’t.

Here’s a quick TUTORIAL on how to fix this.


EXAMPLE 2 - Skies:  Blown-out skies are another common problem, and can sometimes happen for the same reason as blown-out windows. You set your exposure for the house, and even a slightly overcast sky can come out looking white.

Here’s a quick TUTORIAL on how to fix this.


EXAMPLE 3 – White Balance:  Photos with a yellow or orange cast is a very common issue, and it’s caused from light source with a different ‘temperature’ than what you have your camera set for. And inside and outside lights are typically not the same temperatures. Again, your eyes will automatically adjust for this.

Here’s a quick TUTORIAL on how to fix this.


EXAMPLE 4 – Exposure: A photo that’s improperly exposed is another very common problem. There are several things that can cause it, but whether it’s over-exposed or under-exposed, it’s usually pretty easy to fix.

Here’s a quick TUTORIAL how to fix this.


EXAMPLE 5 – Verticals: This one isn’t as obvious as the others. But if you’re shooting with a wide-angle lens you may often see barrel distortion and/or verticals that appear to slant in toward the bottom or top. Your eyes don’t see things this way, but your camera does.

Here’s a quick TUTORIAL how to fix this.


As I said at the start, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with retouching, Photoshop, or any other image-editing software. They’re just tools. And in my opinion, very valuable tools. Now, if those tools are used to create something misleading, that’s a completely different issue.

But if people still feel that you should never retouch any photo under any circumstances, then I ask if the ‘before’ photos in the above examples are really an accurate representation of the property? Or… maybe they’re just an accurate representation of photography skills.

I’ll say it again, Photoshop is NOT a dirty word.
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13 commentsSharon Tara • July 30 2009 09:03AM
Photoshop is NOT a dirty word!
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