Sometimes it is About the Equipment
3 January, 2018
I've been taking a break recently from shooting. It is a necessary creative pause for me and something, I hope, that will help me see things with fresh eyes when I resume. We are gearing up to spend time in Arizona, Utah, Oregon and Washington among other states next year so there will be plenty of new photographic opportunities.
In the meantime, never one to sit around wallowing, I've found a new calling producing video tutorials on YouTube about how to use ON1 Photo RAW 2018, my preferred photo editing software. I've always enjoyed teaching, and creating these little vignettes is fun and satisfying. Most rewarding is comments from new users saying that the tutorials have helped them break down barriers to learning and using the software.
It seems like a bigger chore than ever these days to get your photos off the camera, catalog them and then edit them in software that can be overwhelming with all its options. Consider that many people are happy with the snaps they make with their smart phones. In a few seconds, they can share their masterpieces on social media. So why bother with traditional photo editing on a computer?
Like anything else, if you put the time into it, the experience will be richer and the connection with your own work will be stronger. If you capture something on your phone and then post it right away, chances are it'll be completely forgettable. You might look at it again in a year and have a vague memory of where you were.
Having an actual camera, for me at least, gives the process of photography more weight and/or importance. What I shoot is intentional, deliberate and something I plan (even if it's only loosely) in advance. I'm not interested in capturing what I'm seeing, I would rather make a picture. I'm not interested in capturing the likeness of a place or thing. I want to capture the essence of how I experience it. I want to suggest the full range of emotions I had or the mood I felt.
Of course, the camera is only a dumb machine. It doesn't make pictures beautiful or make its own creative decisions. That's all up to the photographer. And while having a good camera can certainly put me on the path of my creative vision, it's only fully realized in post production.
With ON1 Photo RAW 2018, I can easily catalog my photos, minimizing the time I spend on administrative tasks. The modules in the software are logically laid out, like a mind meld with my imagination. I can choose the image I want to work on in Browse (the inspiration), prepare it for my creative process in Develop and then let my imagination run wild in Effects.
All software has its limitations and there are some who feel ON1 Photo RAW still needs a lot of work. I, on the other hand, feel like the only limitations are my own imagination. Thus far, the software has not let me down and, on many occasions, it has helped steer me in creative directions I would never have considered.
So it's definitely worth the time to learn how to use a good photo editing program. While software is not going to make a great photograph, sometimes it can be a conduit to a more personal connection with your work.
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