The World of PRE-touching Your Images

In a world in which there are literally hundreds of thousands of Lightroom and Photoshop classes, video tutorials, live FB sessions, and more featuring techniques for making the photographic works look better and better, there is one thing I hope that photographers are careful not to overlook. Getting it as close as possible to your desired final result in the camera.  Simple, right?

An example of a recent workshop image direct from camera. I might spend time in post-production on smoothing the hair but color and exposure are exactly as expected and require no work.

I know, I know, I'm just another in no doubt a string of photographer/instructors telling you to get it right in the camera and to forget Photoshop. On the contrary, I happen to love the things possible in Photoshop and Lightroom, particularly from a creative and enhancement perspective. However, the point that I am hoping to make is that we should be careful not to use post-production to continually fix our problems or mistakes. We need to make fewer and fewer of them. 

Consider the image in which there is an exposure issue. Of course with today's high res RAW files we can correct enormous changes in exposure with controls available in post-production. But the habit of doing so and the time invested are two of the main reasons to make the correction at the time of capture. For each image you open in Photoshop to edit, you'll double or triple the time IF you have to continually make global adjustments for the exposure or color balance.  

RAW files in Lightroom to illustrate the consistency of color and exposure.

There are photographers who tend to tell me I am wasting my time using a light meter for my exposures in the studio when we can edit and adjust everything. They could be right if it wasn't for the fact that I have no more time in my life. I cannot spend the evenings fixing and repairing what I've spent the days shooting. 

Outdoor portrait (unedited) using a large white reflector as background. Again, all elements at time of capture result in an image that can go to print directly from the camera. 

In future blog posts we'll spend much more in-depth time on exposures, particularly intricate exposures and color balance issues, specifically in mixed lighting situations. But suffice to say there has to be a certain amount of control we exhibit over the things we can and should control at the time the image is formed.  I can tell you that from a time stand-point, your family will appreciate it...