Overton Photographic Club

Free yourself of software bias
and get results

When referencing the post-processing of photographs, the world seems to have taken to using ‘photoshopping’ or ‘photoshopped’ as blanket terms, regardless of the actual software used – if any. What a fantastic coup for the Photoshop marketing team at Adobe!

In our own club this season, talk of post-processing invariably centred around Lightroom. Another technology from the Adobe stable – lucky them, once more!

But, as one of the most expensive options on the market, Adobe software is not for everyone. And while it’s easy to get caught up in to thinking you must go down the Adobe route, there are a  wide range of options out there.

A tool to an end

It’s important to recognise that post-production software is simply a tool to an end. And there are many tools out there!

Case in point, within our membership alone, we have members who use Skylum’s Luminar, Google’s Snapseed, Serif’s Affinity Photo as well as Adobe’s Lightroom, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. 

And others are happy enough with the free software available from their camera brand or very capable open-source options, such as Gimp.

All of these tools can do a great job, if you know your fundamentals.

Rules and techniques above brand

As an all-inclusive club, it’s appropriate for us to be agnostic when it comes to brands, whether that be camera brands, paper brands, software… anything!

To become better at post-production, we should move our focus off the brand and on to the fundamental elements of editing.

Understanding the rules and techniques of editing means you can apply what you know regardless of the software you use. Most, if not all, post-production software is going to have a histogram, or a crop tool, curves or a saturation slider etc.

Talking about editing in these terms mean we have an understanding of what we are actually doing to our images – we have learnt something solid. It also means that everyone in the room is included in the conversation and no one is excluded from the opportunity to learn.

Really understand

When we are all together, let’s move away from the ‘X software tutorial’ and focus instead on histograms, white balance and curves, shadows, highlights and contrast, hue, saturation and brightness, cropping and visual balance…

Let’s understand what we need to do to a picture by learning how to look at it first and thinking what needs to be done to get to that final image you might have in your head.

As well as getting us to a place where we are talking in a universal language, this will also put us in a place of greater freedom, confidence and creativity.

Further resources for Members

If you are a Member, you can find lots of software tutorials in the ‘Useful Links: Handy tutorial, forums and info’ section of the Members Area.

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