• Tom Lee

Photography vs Photoshop

There seems to be a current trend in photography circles, to hunt out the latest plug-in or wonder-fix for #Photoshop. There are a plethora of one click fixes available, many being shoved down our throats via #Facebook - (other social media feeds are available!).

The advertisers would have you believe that their product is something you can’t do without, is better than anything else out there, or a ‘game changer’…… and it will only cost you £$£$ - or the entire collection for just $$$ (formerly $$$$$$$). It’s a con that everybody seems to be playing.


As a group of #artistic individuals we seem to have lost sight of the fact that #photography is something you do #creatively with a camera either in a studio or on location, not on a computer! This is the realm of post-production and if you need to rely on someone else’s ‘paid for wonder fix’, to make acceptable images from your creations, then I’m afraid there’s not much hope for you.


Don’t get me wrong, plug-ins have their place and can be pretty useful (I have been known to use them myself), but I wouldn’t dream of using something I didn’t understand! Can you remember the joy of #learning how to use your camera? You didn’t rely on someone else to change the settings, look through the viewfinder to compose and finally press the shutter, did you? You learned how to do it for yourself, #understood what you were doing and were able to replicate the result time after time.


Post production should be thought of in a similar fashion. Don’t let someone else do it for you, learn how to use Photoshop, Lightroom or other #applications from the ground up. All these fancy plug-ins are just costing you money. Whilst they may save you some time they will take your soul.


How many of you wedding photographers are finding it hard to get work these days? Plug-ins, software, instant apps and one click effects are for the masses and not the #artist. The public can no longer discern the difference between what they can do on their phone and what some #professionals are providing. Become Michelangelo not Homer Simpson.

Plan your work, it doesn't always work out the way you wanted, but it's a voyage of creative discovery. Make sketches (lots of them) to pre-visualise. You will learn from mistakes - not your #successes, and certainly not from a plug-in that does everything for you!


The images created for my ‘Illusions of Reality’ exhibition, are first and foremost, #photographs. Effects and layering was done entirely in Photoshop from the ground up – not a third party filter in sight. Printing is being done by an #artisan of print reproduction using 16bit image files to maintain #quality. Come and see for yourself at Continental Cars on Princess Margaret Street, Malta between 28th April and 25th May.

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