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Monday, 19 September 2011


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I suspect you mind find your CS-CS5 upgrade to be a downgrade. There really aren't any features I can't live without that were introduced in those 4 versions and it's twice as slow at least.

Re upgrade from Photoshop CS: I can believe it. I'm still using it myself. By the way, does Adobe offer a discounted upgrade to the latest version, or did you have to pay full price?

When it comes to learning Photoshop, I can't recommend Charlie Cramer's fabulous digital printing course highly enough. This will teach you all you really need to know about Photoshop without getting you bogged down in software minutiae that are irrelevant to photography.

It is not that I suck at PhotoShop -- it is that I don't expect it to be so much *work*. I have been working on a project for several years in fits and starts, and retouching damaged photos is never as easy as the books say. I got *really* close, but when I showed the final result to my wife she said: "What is that awful splotchiness there?" Sigh, back to the drawing board.

I wished I sucked at Photoshop- I've succumbed to sucking at Elements.

An alternate recommendation for those, like myself, that suck at Photoshop.


You say you have better-than-average judgment, just worse-than-average skills. I think I have the opposite. I sit there and can't work out whether a particular change improves a picture or makes it worse.

Cool, thanks.


You're welcome!

That's the amazing part about Photoshop, you can accomplish the same task many different ways! I love to watch PS demos from "the pros", but rarely does it sink in.

I've always enjoyed watching Russell Brown's tutorials, he's very entertaining and he is FREE! But how often have I put his stuff to real use? Not often!

I'm sure I'll be about the 50th person to post this, but surely, Mike, you're familiar with this series?

This one hits home. Yes I've messed with PS since PS3 and yes I have my tricks but also still suck. Not bad mind you and have learned how to profile my R2400 but I have a hard time taking the whole thing as serious since getting involved with B&W film and darkroom work. Just me, just sayin". Done.

If the digital image was exposed/recorded
correctly first time around there would be no requirement for anything Adobe or any
other photo manipulations software.

Like film photograph the subect and go with the results. Don't change 'em!

Am still a film person simply because i find the variants of many photo manipulative programs to be way to complicated for my enfeebled brain.

Must be getting old but so what? As long as my slides are accepted by others and my primt images are viable, why should
anybody tell me different?

Zalman is correct, though I'd add "or Lightroom". Or even substitute it.

I am not a shooter. But I do many shows with both pixel-pushers and shooters, and the logic of working nondestructively for as long as possible is unassailable. Especially since working in ACR or Lightroom is essentially overhead-free, no matter how much you torture your pixels.

But I am interested in the views of a photographer about what Photoshop can do over ACR/Lightroom (as opposed to a retoucher or other postprocess artist). I hope you'll make additional posts on this subject.

Or contact me and we'll do a show on it :)

"messing about" with it, as our U.K. friends might put it—I tend to imagine what I want to do and then muck around until I figure out how to get it done.

Answering as a U.K. friend, that's more or less how I do everything!

As a photographer - especially with your style Mike - use lightroom and be set for 90+% of the time, and use PS if and only if you have some tricky problem left (like spotting a really dirty neg-scan for example).

Someone on Google+ recommended Gavin Hoey's Photoshop tutorials on YouTube.

Here is one on how to get a fractured image effect that is excellent:

Fractured Image

(There are a lot of good photographers on G+ and I recommend it.)

Re: Zalman Stern's recommendation:

I would love to do more work in Camera Raw, but unfortunately ACR doesn't allow me to work by way of adjustment layers, which I depend on.

Adjustment layers are just too valuable to give up: they let me paint adjustments in and out in a very fine way, and they let me undo and redo all my work forever.

Mike - re: Lynda.com - so I am guessing you are going to try and learn all you can in the 30 day free membership you get with the new CS5, right ? Enjoy - it is a great resource.

Another vote for "You Suck at Photoshop" ... ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_X5uR7VC4M )

This is a very funny series, that is basically a guy trying to teach you PS whilst his marriage is breaking down and whilst he is playing World of Warcraft or something like that. Very, very funny indeed, and also has some good advice about how to go about some stuff.


Like you, I started using Photoshop in '94. As I tell my students, because I'm a journalist, my Photoshop experience is a mile wide and an inch deep. I learn way more about it from the students than they learn from me. But hey, I'm there to teach them photography.

I'll second (or third) the advice to use Camera Raw (or Lightroom) for most of your photo editing. I teach my Photoshop course mainly as a graphic design course rather than an extension to or adjunct of photography. Furthermore, if you find you can't get the vast majority of your photos 95-99% right in Lightroom or Camera Raw, you probably need to work on your photography skills rather than your Photoshop skills (unless you're deliberately doing some weird manipulations for artistic effect).

My heuristic is this

"Do I need to mask this adjustment in some non-trivial way?"

If no: do it in lightroom.

If yes: Put it off for a while and then do it in Photoshop if I still think I need to mask it.

Over time, the number of adjustments that I decide I need to mask will go to zero.

Masked adjustment layers are really the only thing Photoshop does that no other tool does quite as well. But Lightroom has limited masking now ... so who knows.

No, I bought CS5, but thanks to a kind reader I got an "insider" deal on it and paid very little...a perq of my job.


What Murray Lord above ("Lord above" - hehe, yes, I laugh at my own unintentional jokes) said: you're far better off with judgment than skills.

Judgment has eluded me, and it can't be wished into being. Skills you can always learn.

Dear Bryce,

If I have a perfectly exposed frame of film or digital file, it makes my life easier... but I can count on the fingers of both hands the number of such photos that have "printed themselves," to use the common phrase.

In so many ways, the film/sensor/camera does not see the way I (or any other human being) does.

There's a whole school of photography based around simply accepting what the medium hands you, epitomized by Kodachrome users who projected their slides. It's a small subset of all photographic approaches and aestehetics.

If it makes you happy, great, but prescribing it to anyone else is more likely to be a fail than not.

pax / Ctein

Bryce, if your work satisfies yourself and any clients / customers that you need to satisfy, then you're clearly doing it right.

I do join with Ctein in saying that what you describe is by no means the only right way to do things.

In the film era, most of my color was projected slides -- but that was because I mostly didn't do my own color darkroom work, and the brightness range you get from a slide in a good dark room was excellent, and the size was much bigger than I could print (or afford to buy prints). One of the reasons I kept doing so much B&W was the control I got while printing in the darkroom.

I'd rather succeed at photography and suck at Photoshop than vice versa (of course, that's no guarantee of achievement).

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