February 27, 2009
Dear Abby, I’d like to get into digital photography, but…
I’d like to get into digital photography, but I’m afraid.
Afraid because there seems to be so much to learn about Photoshop! Profiles, curves, masks, adjustment layers, RIP’s, and etc. I’ve been reading the manual for 4 hours a day for a month now and I still feel like I know very little.
Please help! Signed “Reluctant in Rochester.”
I feel your pain! Technology can be overwhelming and the size of the manuals today, Oy Vay!
But there’s good news, you don’t have to read the manual before you start using Photoshop and you certainly do not need to use all of it’s features to produce wonderful images.
My close friend and FANTASTIC photographer Cole Thompson (smile) says that he generally only uses the contrast tool, and dodging and burning. He uses the same techniques in Photoshop that he used in the darkroom, it’s a very simple and effective approach.
In fact, a few years back Popular Photography did an article on him entitled The Photoshop Heretic. They said of him: “Cole Thompson breaks every rule in the book, but he makes digital black-and-white prints that will take your breath away. Just don’t try this a at home.” (I think they were just kidding about not trying this at home though)
An approach Cole favors is to just jump in and try something, and once you get stuck, then look up the answer. He says that he only uses about 2% of Photoshop’s features anyway, so don’t be intimidated by all of them!
Go ahead, give it a try, it’s not as complicated as you think!
Signed, Abby Thompson