Are Photo Skills Being Replaced?

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: December 3, 2012

Category: General

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for stopping by.

Hope you had a good weekend.

To kick the week off I’ve a magazine article I wanted to let you know about but also I wanted to ask your opinion on something.

Advanced Photoshop Magazine
In the latest issue of Advanced Photoshop Magazine I , along with a group of other Photographers, Retouchers and people connected with the industry, was asked to write my thoughts/feelings on article under the heading ‘Are Photo Skills Being Replaced?’

As you’d expect, it’s a topic that’s always guaranteed to generate a discussion and so it’s great to read what some of the other folks wrote too.

Now I also posted about this over on my Facebook page this past weekend saying how I generally feel about it and how I don’t believe photo skills are being replaced.

Here’s what I wrote…

So what about you? Do you think Photo Skills are being replaced?

I came into this industry through the digital door; it was starting out with Photoshop that led me to becoming a Photographer. I wasn’t one of those folks who’s Grandad gave them their first camera. I’ve only ever known digital and had the where there’s Photography there’s Photoshop mindset.

We all have our opinions and that’s great because without them things could get pretty boring but I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a sweeping statement:

“When all is said and done, we all believe that to get the very best ‘final’ image we have to begin with the best ‘start’ image that we can.”

What do you think?

As always if you have any questions or comments then please feel free to make use of the comments section below; it’s great to hear other people’s opinons on this (never ending) topic 🙂

Have a great Monday and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow,

ps> You can also check out some of the responses to this over on my Facebook page [Link]

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  1. Allen Ross Thomas

    Indeed. I wholeheartedly agree that skills are replaced by relationships, brand, and convenience. Pro photogs pander to their clients. No balls. No guts. No Glory. Mediocrity wins in preaching in social media to those who “want to be a pro photographer” but have zero talent and never will (for clarity, not you Glynn). I feel (anyone is free to disagree) that I am top 10 active and consistent music photographer. I have spent over 50,000 dollars the last 7 years in time and equipment and commitment to the craft. I have lost friends, loves of my life, and family. Good news is I have earned exactly $0.00 shooting live music.


  2. Richard Bremer

    After reading your piece on the subject and thinking about the market, I’d have to agree with “are skills being replaced”. I think people value skills up to a mediocre skill level. After that, they are satisfied. Then comes in Photoshop, and they see what it can do with an image. Remove all creases and blemishes, smooth the skin. Once they know that, people go overboard with trying to perfect their image.

    I think people do not realise that using light and a good MUA can do 90% of the work for them. I also think that the wonder of editting a photo makes people not care about what you can do before you press the shutter button. They see it as fun and interesting.

    That said, I think PS can be used both ways. Using it to correct an image and using it to artisticly finish an image. And once people get tired of correcting an image, they will look for ways to make their photography better, so less correction is needed. Then the circle is complete.

    So, my conclusion would be: yes, good photography is being replaced by PS, but only in the short run. As soon as people get tired of retouching bad images, they find out how to make better images, and photography skills increase in the long run. Adding PS is just another step on the learning curve to becoming a good photographer.

  3. Lee Ramsden

    See i disagree,

    Maybe people become lazy but it shows in their work.
    We all see so many naff “pro” photographers whos work is boring, badly lit and then add a photoshop action to it, the trend at the mo is for a vintage look.
    No photoshopping will ever make the image decent.
    The better the image you start with, the better the final result will be.
    You cant polish a turd lol

  4. DaveT

    In the same way that camera technology has developed in the digital age, so has the development process.

    We need both sets of skills – the ability to take a good photograph; knowing how to operate the camera, frame a good composition and obtain a good exposure are fundamentally important. From there, we need to know, when and how, to further develop the image to obtain the final image in whatever form that happens to be.

    The skill of taking a photograph and developing the image has always been part of the same process. One goes hand in hand with the other. Sometimes one set of skills is more developed than the other, a skilled image retoucher need not be a good photographer, and the reverse is also true.

    If we want to be well rounded and have the ability to get a great image without handing any of the work to someone else, we need to work at being competent at both sets of skill.

  5. Petra

    I have recently wrote on my blog a similar post, it was a comparison of makeup for people and photoshop for photographs. It seems that people tend to see them in the same manner.

    I don’t think photo skills are being replaced, because if you evolve both your post processing and photo skills, you will end up with extraordinary work because you will be able to fully develop your idea. Every photo in this world has been manipulated, it is only that the digital era made it more approachable 🙂

    Good day to you all!


  6. Mark Tizard

    Yes. This world is wanting everything to be quicker and more cost effective with everything from convenience food,phone technology to photography. Ps skills allow us to remedy our lack of forethought when taking a picture so our camera skills can be somewhat lazy. The real question is does that make the picture worse or better! I believe better but some purist would say no.
    Most every image we see today have had some Ps applied it and if not probably it would not make publication.
    Just to finish, being a hairdresser I know if i had still been doing shampoo and sets now instead of cut and blowdrys I would be out of business years ago, you have to move with the times. Who knows perhaps what we are doing in Ps at the moment will be a thing of the past and we will be saying we have lost the art of Photoshop.

  7. derek roe

    Having worked as a hairstylist for years on fashion shoots BEFORE Photoshop,(& shooting pics) there was always post (& pre) manipulation. Darkroom retouching started with Ansel Adams & progressed from there. As to photo manipulation, the same argument could be said for MakeUp artists. who smooth skin, cover blemishes etc.
    It’s all part of the image creation process.




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