Use the Tools

What would you say if you went to the DMV to get your drivers license and they asked you to display your horse and buggy driving techniques? Let’s say you interview for an IT job with a major company and during the interview they wanted to critique your ability with punch card computer programming. What would you say to that?

My guess is you would laugh all the way out the door.

Why then do photographers often feel that it is necessary to live with outdated technologies or old ways of doing things? Is it because we have always done it that way and we feel uncomfortable moving on to easier methods? Do we need justification for all the time and money we spent learning the old ways?

I started into photography prior to the digital revolution. I spent time in the traditional wet darkroom (hours and hours). I then moved onto slide film and sent the work off to be processed. Then along came the scanners and hours in early Photoshop removing dust. Don’t forget the tone curve and how important that was.

Do you know how much all of this helped me become a better photographer? None, zero, zip, nada. I become a better photographer by shooting more. Not with outdated Photoshop or wet darkroom techniques.

There are filter effects in Nik Software that I could recreate using Photoshop but it would take hours. The Lightroom 4 sliders can also do some amazing things in just moments. Knowing the old methods served their purpose when we did not have the new tools we do now.

Really, all I am saying is stop trying to justify old methods that are out dated. Take the time you would spend on photography forums defending your techniques and apply that to learning the newer ways and embracing the advancing technologies. Better yet, spend that time taking photos. That will make you a better photographer.

Every image that you see in this post has had some Lightroom 4, Photoshop, and Nik Software adjustments.  Total time per image?  Less than 5 min.  If you can't afford Photoshop or Nik Software then look for Lightroom 4 presets.  They are affordable and powerful tools.  One of the best out there that I use comes from Gavin Seim.  You can find his effects at