• Daniel Wretham

Photoshop - The 7 Deadly Sins

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Photoshop, perhaps the most innovative creation in the photography world for a vast number of years ?

Used correctly it can be an amazing weapon in your arsenal, but are you making these 7 terrible mistakes that will ruin your image ?

Now I'd like to start by saying this is all my own opinion, doubtless others will have other ones and mine are purely based on my own findings, my own mistakes & and seeing those made by others.

It is also very much exclusively based on the landscape photography element rather than any other type of photography where these sins may well actually be plus points.

I use Photoshop every day for my job in graphic design and I'd like to think I know my way round it pretty well, I also use it for my photography. Now before the purists recoil in horror about the use of Photoshop I would like to explain something.

I never use Photoshop to alter the image, to add items etc... the picture you see is the picture that was taken with some very minor adjustments in curves, levels, sharpening and saturation IF needed.

Why does it need it I hear you ask ? Well, for those who know their cameras and how RAW works I apologise for going over old ground but for those that don't I will explain.

Modern cameras these days can shoot in a format called RAW as well as the standard formats such as JPEG, etc. The reason photographers largely choose (And quite rightly so) to shoot in RAW is because it gives you a massive benefit in the amount of information that the format records, it is also not compressed like a JPEG thus giving you far superior pictures.

For example a JPEG file will contain 256 levels of brightness whereas a RAW file will contain somewhere between 4,096 to 16,384 levels, Now you can see the major benefits of using it and why you should all be shooting in RAW. Detail is easier to pull out of this file because it contains every last bit of information that has hit your cameras sensor.

If you happen to shoot in JPEG then don't be fooled into thinking that your unedited shot right out of the camera hasn't been adjusted, because it has.

The camera will use its own algorithms to apply contrast, sharpening & saturation etc to your image, but it will apply them globally to your image and then on top of that it will compress it giving you a sub par image, of course you may well think it looks great when you see it but the fact is, it could be so much better.

Photoshop/Lightroom simply lets you apply the same things your camera does to your image but far more selectively, Some areas will benefit from adjustment of saturation whereas another area might not so these programs let you do just that, your camera applies the selected level to the whole image.

Post processing has been going on for years and years even with film cameras where the skills of dodging & burning brought out contrast to selective areas of an image.

Of course Photoshop/Lightroom can be used to manipulate and image but thats not what were all hopefully doing right ?

So on to the topic in question, why can this wondrous program which is a pandoras box of delights to make your image the best it can be also be the same thing that can destroy it.

Photoshop Shadow & Highlight adjustment

1. Shadow & Highlight Adjustment