February 27, 2009

Dear Abby, I’d like to get into digital photography, but…

Dear Abby;

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.”


Dear Reluctant;

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


Click Here to Read the Photoshop Heretic

5 thoughts on “Dear Abby, I’d like to get into digital photography, but…

  1. Yay! I can comment! I was just in the middle of e-mailing you, planning on talking about my love/fear relationship with Photoshop! I actually did some dodging for the first time this morn. Tried to lighten the water in my photo of lilly pads. It was HARD trying to “paint” using a mouse! It will def. take some getting used to-I took it a little far, enjoying the trippy swirly effects I made!
    In my own personal and limited experience with Photoshop, I’ve basically taken advantage of downloading free actions, online tutorials and applying them to some photos-quick and easy- as well as using the index of my Photoshop for Dummies to pin point a particular thing to do. But as far as understanding the tech rhyme or reason to what I’m doing ? Layers? Panels? Paths? OH,MY!!!
    I need to take a class…..

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