“It looks Photo-shopped!”

Richard Charpentier Arizona Photographer, Photography, RLC Design Leave a Comment

The other day speaking with one of my Class of 2013 Senior Reps I was told that her friends didn’t believe several of the photos I’d done of her weren’t put through Photoshop.  No matter how much she told her friends this image or that image was straight out of the camera, they just wouldn’t believe it.

This image is shot with natural light, no off camera strobes. I know Katie likes the “washed out” look (its in now), and I used the sun to back light her hair.

I’ve heard it from other clients while on location too.  “That looks like you’ve already used Photoshop.”  When I show a client what the images are looking like on the back of the camera and hear that I know I’ve hit a home run.

A single Alien Bee 800 camera left. Taken right at sunset, but I decided to drop the exposure to make it all about the bride.

So, if it’s not “shopped”, what is it?  Well, it’s about the light, controlling the light, and getting it where you want it.  Foreground and background light can be so different.  And if you’re using off camera lighting you open up so many possibilities for yourself.  The coolest part?  This has nothing to do with shooting digital.  This is how film photographers have done it forever!

Once again, a single Alien Bee 800 along the Granite Creek path. And once again, I really dropped the exposure for the background and had to put some more power into the Bee.

Long time readers will know, I have nothing against Photoshop.  Actually I love the program.  And Adobe Photoshop Lightroom as well.  They’re just part of my toolkit for photography.  And there is nothing wrong with editing.  But there’s also nothing wrong with getting it right in the camera too!

Take a guess. Yup, single Alien Bee 800 again with a 24×36 Lastolite Softbox.

Long time readers will also know something else about me.  For the longest time I did not do any portrait work.  Why?  Simple.  I wasn’t there yet.  I have spent years learning about off camera lighting, setting up for portrait work, and practicing portraiture.  And we all know last year I started offering portraits.  I wanted them to be as amazing as the landscape work I’ve done for years, and that meant an investment of time before I started asking clients to invest their dollars!

We retained the shadows from the sun hitting a rock and tree leaves. The dark stuff on the rock is shadow, not lichens. Single Alien Bee with the 24×36 Lastolite once more.

So, when somebody says my images right out of the camera look like Photoshop I take that as a compliment.  But when they keep disbelieving it I can do nothing other than show them the file on my Lightroom setup, and point out the CR2 is the raw file.

Ah well, so long as what we produce is stunning does it really matter how you get there?  🙂

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