Save & earn with MPB; trade-in and buy pre-loved

Breadth or depth?


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
...Read More

Breadth or depth?

21 Nov 2020 6:45AM   Views : 500 Unique : 311


Iíve just finished an email to an impecunious photographer who wants to use RAW files, and canít open them in his shareware. Now, I normally use Photoshop these days, but for years I was very happy with Elements, and still sue it for some things. I also have Affinity on my computer, bought when I was on holiday and having problems.

Iíll be honest: I havenít applied myself to Affinity, so I canít provide a methodical comparison with PS Ė but to the extent that Iíve used it, it does a decent job, and the biggest problem is getting used to it because Ė however good it is Ė itís different from PS. I feel entirely the same about Lightroom, which comes free with my PS subscription. As long as PS is working, why would I want anything else? (Caveat: for the sort of editing that I do!)

And this brings me to a crucial point about our hobby and how we approach it. We can be dilettantes, doing bits of this and that, but never getting particularly good at any of them. We can play with shifting pictures between two or three different programs to polish this or that, because some YouTube guru says that the only way to do this or that is to buy another program. Or we can narrow our sights and only get new stuff when weíre fairly sure that it will make a positive contribution.


So Ė for instance Ė I am currently waiting for a special offer on the Imagenomic skin softening plugin. Iíve used up my free trial, and I like it. On the other hand, I have the two Anthropics programs for face and body work, bough 18 months or so back, and I really donít like them. I have tried, but they are slow, they are cumbersome, and they donít produce the sort of effect Iím looking for: as far as I can see, they lack the subtlety of effect that Imagenomic offers me. However, if I ever have a commission to make flattering images for money, theyíll be working!

There are some people who love having a broad overview, and knowing how to do a decent amount in every program going. Similarly, there are women and men who use multiple camera systems, either for different purposes, or simply for fun: most people run one system, possibly with a spare body and a compact or bridge camera as backup. The latter approach is sensible unless you want to spend a lot, or have very specific needs.

You can ask yourself the same question about the genres that you work in: you donít have to shoot sports if you donít really like it. I have a friend who is not content if he doesnít have at least one current project, and imposes a lot of stress on himself doing things he feels he ought to do. Wisdom and happiness may be to do with deciding that you wonít bother with something that youíve tried and donít like. So go easy on yourselfÖ Itís the weekend, so go and enjoy your hobby. Try something new if you like Ė but donít feel that you have to take it to the limit!

The illustrations are a case in point: I have no desire to become a wildlife photographer, so these are the best I could do when a walk along the canal with a new lens led to a five-minute encounter with one of hte local herons.


Recent blogs by dudler

Focus scales

If youíve been taking pictures since before autofocus arrived, youíll be very familiar with focus scales Ė they are one of the primary controls on an old-school camera, and just one more of the things that you really needed to get right. With autof...

Posted: 27 Dec 2022 7:01AM

Porcelain processing

People commented on the look in my last post and it seems like a good idea to share the secrets for Christmas. I learned the technique several years ago: a modelís boyfriend told me about it, and a website that described it in detail: I tried it, l...

Posted: 23 Dec 2022 10:47AM

You develop your own films donít you?

If you have your own darkroom, or if you use film cameras regularly, there are always a few people who mention the attic. As in ĎGrandpaís cameras are in the attic. I donít even know if they have film in them!í This leads me to ask if I can have a l...

Posted: 16 Aug 2022 11:17AM

Choose your pond

Thereís an old saying about being a big fish and a little pond. Do you want to be the most important person in a small organisation, or are you content being a relatively small cog in a big machine? Itís the same in photography. With relatively mo...

Posted: 3 Jun 2022 2:25PM

Graduated filters

This is for Hannah, and anyone else who has come across the casual way that a lot of togs talk about one or two types of filter that landscaper photographers use a lot: graduated filters and neutral density filters. A graduated filter is one that i...

Posted: 25 Apr 2022 12:18PM


saltireblue Avatar
saltireblue Plus
13 14.5k 88 Norway
21 Nov 2020 2:55PM
I use one camera, have no alternatives nor even a back-up body. I have never felt the need to have multiple cameras (apart from shooting live gigs, then I hire a second body identical to my own, so that I don't have to keep changing lenses) as I feel that I have enough on my hands learning to master - not just use and understand the menus - but master getting the best out of both the camera, lenses and not least myself.
I would also have problems trying to remember two different menu systems and how each camera works...Blush

As for processing software, I can say the same. I have found one piece of software that does everything I want to a satisfying level of acceptance, and if there is another programme out there that supposedly does one or two things 'better' then so be it, but I cannot be bothered having to switch back and forwards and I very much doubt whether I will be happier with the results. Any small, perceived improvements do not make up for the extra time used. The less time I can spend processing, the better.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
21 Nov 2020 3:38PM
If only all of us could be as logical and methodical, Malc...
saltireblue Avatar
saltireblue Plus
13 14.5k 88 Norway
21 Nov 2020 3:45PM
Hehe! I think it's more a case of can't be bothered and the easy life, more than your suggestion, John.Wink
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
21 Nov 2020 3:50PM
Stuff leaps out at me in camera shops, Malc. Wrestles me to the floor and demands a new home.
whatriveristhis Avatar
22 Nov 2020 8:04AM
My attitude is much the same as Malc's, with one big difference... for me the processing is usually the main event, and I'll happily spend a long time over it. "Getting it right in camera" doesn't much interest me, though I try to avoid blowing highlights, and I treat the in-camera original as only a rough first draft.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
22 Nov 2020 11:05AM
So no longing for the unattainable there, Alan...

What you do is pretty much unique: many of the usual rules are irrelevant...
whatriveristhis Avatar
22 Nov 2020 11:39AM
"Flying by the seat of my pants" is my usual modus operandi, John.
I was looking back over some old, and not so old, images of mine, and was mildly surprised to find a quite frequent adherence to "The Rule Of Thirds." Unintentional, I assure you, but it's whether it looks right that matters, and if that means using "Pamela's Favourite" then that's fine by me.
It isn't a rule anyway, that's a misnomer, it's just an example of "best practice," a compositional device/solution that works in the greatest number of cases. But in my opinion, consciously applying it from the off as a template, as some appear to, is not the best way to make good photographs.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
22 Nov 2020 12:34PM
Entirely agreed, Alan. Thirds often look right, or near Thirds, or near Golden Ratio. Or whatever others want to use as the starting point. But 'right' is its own justification, and I think most of us know it when we see it, with or without a 'Rule'.

It's a good guide, but a bad guidemistress, if I can put it that way.

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.