December 27, 2013
Wow, How Did You Do That? (or why technique is not the key to a great image)
When I show people my “before and after” images, their reaction tends to be: Wow, how did you do that?
This also tends to be my first reaction when I see an image that I love. Recently a friend showed me his latest creation that was both beautiful and unique, and I wanted to ask him: Benoit, how did you do that?
But I didn’t ask him.
Because the miracle of the image was not the technique he used, but the imagination that created the image. Anyone can learn a technique, but not everyone will learn to find and follow their vision.
If I had asked and he had told me his technique…then what? Copy what he had already imagined and created? There is no joy in copying and yet I see technique after technique become the fad of the season and be copied to death.
I also see many who operate under the false belief that technique must be mastered before Vision can be executed. I emphatically reject that theory!
I believe that a great image starts with Vision and then you work hard to develop the required technique. Remember the old saying “necessity is the mother of invention?” It’s true! Once you have a vision of what you want, then you’ll be energized and driven, and you’ll learn whatever is needed to create the image.
However when I see people focusing on technique first, I find they usually never get around to putting that same energy into finding their Vision, and as a result their work is technically perfect and masterfully imitative. Technique alone misses the mark.
So instead of focusing on Photoshop and its hundreds of features or following the latest fad technique, put most of your time and energy into your Vision. I promise you that this approach will yield better images and much more satisfying results.
Technique is not the key to a great image. Vision is.