Alan Tucker gave this workshop on 3rd May 2011 using Adobe Photoshop CS3. Alan started out by saying that, as Alan Gore, our previous speaker on Photoshop had said, that this could only be “How I use Photoshop”.
Members at the evening expressed an interest in having a copy of Alan's workflow slides.
What did photographers do before Photoshop?
The creative interpretation starts at the taking stage with choices of subject, composition, filters, equipment, film and exposure. It continues through the processing stage with variations
in the development of the film, choices of printing paper, extensive dodging and burning under the enlarger, print development and sometimes toning.
The middle section of the slide above has now been replaced by Photoshop. But as you can see Photoshop is just one stage in the creative treatment of the image. Two new problems arise at the first stage now.
- Digital cameras enable people to snap away without spending much time thinking about what they are doing or why.
- The results all look the same. Gone is the character of the varied choices photographers could once make. Old Leicas had soft lenses and their users often enhanced this by using fine grained film developed in two-bath developers. Early Nikon users relished their bitingly sharp and contrasty lenses. Press photographers and serious amateurs used the Rolleiflex to get better quality. Corporate photographers used 5x4 inch film and could make enormous blowups with beautifully graduated shadows and highlights.
We now have more choice at the output stage and can put photos online. But we need to be asking ourselves tough questions about what we are trying to achieve.
- What is it you wish to say?
- Who is your audience?
- How will you reach them?
- Would it be best if you shot a series of photos?
- If you are trying to influence public opinion, should the photos be accompanied by text?
These questions, of course, lead back to the first stage, and the decisions the photographer makes before taking the picture.
Photoshop is an expressive tool:
Photoshop Workflow, Alan's way of working:
Image saving, filing, metadata and backup: