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Is the graphics tablet mightier than the lens.... ?


ade_mcfade Plus
10 15.1k 216 England
21 Mar 2012 7:10PM
Just been looking at some awards linked to on another thread, and indeed at the award galleries on here, 500px, 1x and all the other billion or so galleries out there that have "awards".

The one thing that stands out, above the subject matter in many cases, is that most are "processed" pretty heavily to achieve the end result.

Is this the key to getting recognised by our peers these days - is the graphics tablet now mightier than the lens.... ?

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Coleslaw Plus
9 13.4k 28 Wales
21 Mar 2012 7:28PM
As long as the end result is great, whether it has been heavily processed or not is secondary, IMHO.
Overread Plus
6 3.9k 18 England
21 Mar 2012 7:30PM
Are you sure they are processed heavily? Sometimes the lens captures something in the right like that hardly needs altering and yet looks "digital". These days I feel just because its easily done one can start to see over-editing and digital enhancement everywhere - even when its not present.


The other flipside is that if you take a group of photographers, season them by a few decades and they'll have "seen" most shots already. To them many things, even if well shot, are going to be dull. They've seen a billion well exposed, well composed, well focused bluetits to last a lifetime. So maybe part of the added bonus is the digital manipulation (when its present). Something, different and yet still with a sense of quality.
joolsb Plus
10 27.1k 38 Switzerland
21 Mar 2012 7:47PM

Quote:As long as the end result is great, whether it has been heavily processed or not is secondary, IMHO.


Good point. However, there does seem to be an inverse correlation between amount of processing and quality. Especially in landscape images...

It seems to have become a substitute for interesting composition. Slap on a superwide, horizon on a third, rock in the corner and then process the s--- out of it seems to be the modern way.
User_Removed 5 1.4k England
21 Mar 2012 8:07PM
Who cares!
patters Plus
10 1.8k 1 United Kingdom
21 Mar 2012 8:11PM
I wondered this sooo much, I convinced Keith to send me a RAW file of one of the pics in his Gallery. The file he sent me did not look as impressive as the one in the gallery, but it actually didnt look like the same pic exactly, so I didnt ever get to the bottom of it
Nick_w Plus
7 4.1k 99 England
21 Mar 2012 9:29PM
The end result justifies the means.
joolsb Plus
10 27.1k 38 Switzerland
21 Mar 2012 9:41PM
I only wish it did, Nick...

People generally use lots of processing to:

- make a 'silk purse' out of a sow's ear
- because that's what their mates are doing
- because they've just discovered a new technique and want to apply it to absolutely everything they shoot, whether it's appropriate or not
- because turning all the knobs up to 11 is the only way to get noticed
- because they can't compose a decent picture to save their lives and hope a splash of PS 'magic' will save the day
- because the word 'restraint' just isn't in their vocabularies
- and just occasionally, very occasionally, almost too seldom to mention, because the processing actually amplifies the 'message' the image is trying to put across.
Nick_w Plus
7 4.1k 99 England
21 Mar 2012 10:05PM
But Jools, even with composite images (probably even more so) you need perfectly exposed images, you have to have a vision on how they will be used you still need to know how to compose an image - whether that's in camera, or in photoshop ( I'm not just talking putting everything on the thirds intersections).

We are all (at least most of us) guilty of overdoing things from time to time, normally when learning a new technique/genre. But when I say then end justifies the means- I mean an image you think wow I wish that was mine then I don't care how the photographer arrives at the result.(journalism/scientific images aside).
ade_mcfade Plus
10 15.1k 216 England
21 Mar 2012 10:54PM
interesting comments so far. so would you agree that to get awards on photo sites it is imperative to have very strong processing skills as well as some skill with the camera.

is hitting on a processing formula which works time and time again a sure fire way of achieving the elusive award?

if you have been 1 of the lucky people to win a photo of the year award would you say that the award was given to to your processing skills or down to your craft with a camera and lens. it's probably a combination of the 2 but which would be more significant?

could you honestly say that the intention was entirely built in the camera or was it down to your skill with the pen and tablet in post processing?
22 Mar 2012 8:20AM
processing has always been done, even on film, no matter what if it photo is rubbish then no amount of "glitter" will make the image even more attractive,
I was surprised to go to a don mccullin exhibition and look at some of his pictures, some has the post processing labels and marks on, way way more than what I expected, there must have been around 20 different labels all highlighting some different modification to acheive the perfect picture, and one of the pictures shown was one of his iconic images of the american marine suffering from shell shock in 'nam.

Basically i think im trying to say that you cant get away from post processing as its always been done, the fact you can now do it on a computer is pretty much irrelivent, imho.
I would also add that I have been lucky to attened some courses with photographers, digital artists, photographers that use photoshop, and digital artits that use photographs, I would suggest that people who do loads of tweaking on photoshop afterwards would fall into the artitst bracket and those who focus on getting it right in the camera with minimal processing would call themselves photographers.

think in a nut shell what im trying to say is,,,, photography has very rarely been just about the camera, its best to not get hung up on arguements/discussions like this.
also just a point while im thinking it lol,,,,, most cameras these days have their own mini editing and photoshop built in so most the stuff we can now do only in a camera!

Not sure if i but my point across properly but hey.
adrian_w Plus
7 3.5k 4 Scotland
22 Mar 2012 9:33AM

Quote:would you agree that to get awards on photo sites it is imperative to have very strong processing skills as well as some skill with the camera.



Undoubtedly yes.
ade_mcfade Plus
10 15.1k 216 England
22 Mar 2012 9:36AM
ok

I think everyone would agree that editing/processing has ALWAYS existed - and also that we'll never get away from it - and that the end picture is what matters.

That's a given we can all agree on, correct?


To get more specific, in the context of gaining awards, has the balance between photography/processing moved towards the processing end of the spectrum?
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
22 Mar 2012 10:03AM

Quote:


To get more specific, in the context of gaining awards, has the balance between photography/processing moved towards the processing end of the spectrum?



It depends upon how you define "balance".

I might spend 12 hours trying to get a specific shot that I have visualised. At the end of the 12 hours I might then have a single exposure. More likely I will have taken several exposures of the same subject but will then select one to use. But the point I am making is that it may have taken 12 hourse to obtain that single Raw file.

I might then spend 5 minutes processing it in Lightroom (or Photoshop or Color Efex or Silver Efex or whatever). It might be argued that the final image owed more to that 5 minutes of processing than to the 12 hours spent capturing the exposure in the first place, especially if it was a mono conversion, but - in terms of my effort - I would still claim that the balance lay with the camera work.

Others would doubtlessly disagree.
22 Mar 2012 10:09AM
no matter what, its got to be an interesting image, regardless of how much processing, but thats my simplist view

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