Remaining faithful to your subject in Photoshop

by R J Poole April. 11, 2017 2068 views

Lismore NSW 2013

Self-portrait with camera


Photoshop is one of the most complex and powerful creative tools ever invented. Like all creative tools, it requires talent, imagination, knowledge and a lot of practice to use the program well.

No two people use Photoshop in precisely the same manner. This is because there are as many different ways to edit a photographic image in Photoshop as there are users.

You can simply click on an auto adjustment, or you can manipulate the original image beyond recognition. If you are like me, you can also replicate the methods used in the film-based darkroom of old. 

This approach involves composing your subject in camera and remaining faithful to the original capture during editing. The colours and tonal range of the resulting capture are ‘massaged’ in Photoshop in essentially the same manner as filters, paper grades and dodging and burning under the enlarger were used in the darkroom.

Like Photoshop, darkroom techniques also require talent, knowledge and practice.

The end product is identical in form to what appeared in front of the camera, with only slight alterations to tone and colour. 

For more information or feedback, please don’t hesitate to ask questions.


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There are 8 comments , add yours!
Jill Bahm 3 years, 7 months ago

Great observation about applying darkroom skills to lightroom application. I think you're right - I think having learned how to develop film definitely influences the way I edit digitally. Very interesting!

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
Josh Odonnell 3 years, 7 months ago

I love how your hair contrasts with the other colors so well. Very cool! Also, great article. I remember learning how to develop film in high school and loved the process. LR and PS are really convenient though :)

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
R J Poole Replied to Josh Odonnell 3 years, 7 months ago

Thank you Josh - I think having a background in chemical photography is very useful and provides a depth of understanding that cannot be gain by any other means. Having said that, I thankful to move on with digital photography and Photoshop because of the level of control they offer.

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
Akhmad Riduan 3 years, 7 months ago

crazi camera

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
R J Poole Replied to Akhmad Riduan 3 years, 7 months ago

Lol - Crazy indeed Akhmad - the Leica is very large and heavy and doesn't have any of the functionality of Japanese cameras. If it didn't take a beautiful shot, I'd throw it out the window!

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
Akhmad Riduan Replied to R J Poole 3 years, 7 months ago

despite heavy but the resulting image is extraordinary

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
Akhmad Riduan Replied to R J Poole 3 years, 7 months ago

I really wanted to have this camera but it seems unlikely, because it is very expensive

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
R J Poole Replied to Akhmad Riduan 3 years, 7 months ago

Tell me about it!

3 years, 7 months ago Edited
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