I spent some time browsing online at all the latest cameras and software and I have to say that there is some really great stuff out there.
Take a look at the latest version of Photoshop CC, 2015.5. I thought to liquify was great but now the new release has Face-Aware Liquify which gives the Liquify filter advanced face-aware functionality that automatically identifies eyes, noses, mouths and other facial features. Now it’s easier to adjust these specific areas.
Making masks is greatly improved with the Select and Mask workspace. And the functionality of the cropping tool is greatly enhanced with the Content-Aware Crop.
One of my favorite new features is a benign little feature called Match Font. In the past, I’ve spent a lot of time searching for a certain font for my projects. Photoshop CC takes the guesswork out of identifying fonts with something called intelligent image analysis. Take any image with a font that you like and select the area around the text you want to analyze. Now, select Type>Match Font. What you’ll get is a dialog box showing close matches on your system and also suggestions of fonts that can by downloaded from the Adobe Type Kit. It’s not perfect but it’s certainly a great new feature.
Being a Canon shooter, I read, with interest, about rumors on the upcoming Canon 5D Mark IV. A 30MP sensor, great video enhancements, and some other ergonomic changes. Reports are that it will be announced August 25 so we should know soon if the rumors are true.
Another cool product that is really gaining momentum is Profit’s Off Camera Flash system. Specifically, this is the Profoto B1 and B2 systems. Wow. Battery operated studio power for location shooting. And, they have incredible TTL capability. You can set up one of these lights - or multiples in groups - on location and the system will calculate an incredibly accurate exposure using TTL. Once you like the exposure, switch the controller that is sitting on your camera’s hot shoe to manual and the system will remember the last exposure. Now you can shoot to your hearts content with consistent exposure frame to frame.
Now, all these things we’ve talked about here are just tools. Do you need them? Well, that depends. Why do you want the latest tool?
If you think that your tools are keeping you from becoming a great photographer then I would dare say that you’ve missed the mark and don’t need the latest and greatest.
Owning this camera or lens or that software is not the answer to getting spectacular images. If you think so, then you’re sadly mistaken. A great photographer doesn’t blame the tools they are given. Great photographers work to sharpen their skills on the tools that they have. A camera several generations past it’s prime can create stunning images in the hands of a proficient photographer.
The latest and greatest tools introduce features and functions that give proficient photographers improvements in workflow efficiency and image quality. For the professional, this translates into profits. And, in some cases, it gives you the ability to create images never before possible.
You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow. Successful professional photographers understand this. But, more importantly, they understand the importance of developing a high level of proficiency with all the tools they use.
Bill Gates said, “If you give people tools, and they use their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much, beyond what you might have expected.”
So, let’s ask that question again. Do you need that newest and latest tool? Maybe so. But only if you understand that it’s not the tool that creates the image. What’s important is your skills at using your tools. If you have not cultivated a proficiency with the equipment you already have, it’s best if you pass on adding more to your camera bag. Instead, invest in the time to learn and practice.