Half the fun of photography is experimentation. Whether it's camera settings, lighting, locations, or editing, part of the creative process is the experimenting. I use quite a few programs to edit not the least of which is photoshop, ms paint, and photostitch. With those three programs I can do the bulk of my editing. I had someone ask me once "why can't you just go with the image as it is. If you are good enough, the image shouldn't need any editing."   I agree that you do need to be good enough to hit your mark at a large percentage, but if you can improve on an image .....why not edit?

Editing can be as simple as cropping to remove uneeded background or balance a composition. This has been done as long as photography has existed. So has experimenting with lighting and contrast. In film it is achieved through chemistry and lens adjustment. At the turn of the century colorizing was experimented with through chromolithography. It was a way of turning black and white negatives into color prints. I own a couple of these chromolithos and there is nothing quite like them.

So manipulation of the image is one that goes back a long way. Hell, cave dwellers did it. Today with digital photography and editing almost anything can be done with an image. I mentioned in an earlier blog that I think the difference between an amateur and a pro is that the pro knows what he (she) wants the final image to look like before they even take the shot. An amateur just takes a lot of shots and sorts through them to see if any look good. I still believe that, but even an amateur can make a lousy image look good with the right editing. You just need a good image to begin with.

Which brings me to my next point. I have folks needing image editing, but don't have a good image to begin with. Usually it's a blurry image or a low resolution image from a small format camera such as found on a cell phone. As much as I would love to help out, I can't. I would have to deconstruct and reconstruct the image a few pixels at a time, and the end result wouldn't look acceptable even then. Scanned photos sent through e-mails won't work either. There is software that will improve the overall clarity of such an image, but not to the point of being able to display it.

So editing software is handy and almost necessary to good photography. I use it to do the simple tasks like cropping, color adjustment, and lighting. I also use it to remove something from an image like phone lines, people, just about anything that detracts from an otherwise perfect photo. I use it to smooth areas, cover blemishes and  accentuate a highlight. I have used it to produce a water effect, or other "artful" appearances. The bottom line is that if producing an excellent image is your goal, become familiar with editing software.


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