Posts Tagged ‘cs5’

Guy Gowan

This is one of the questions asked to Guy Gowan photoshop guru and contribute-er  to Photography Monthly were this full article was published


I would feel quite aggrieved if that were true. What I try to teach is the art or skill of manipulating images with Photoshop. I am probably the world’s biggest fan of Photoshop; because my biggest waking nightmare is to have someone look at my image and say, “Here, what do you think? Does that look like it has been Photoshopped?’ Fifty per cent of the images published today have quite clearly been badly Photoshopped. Many of the worst offenders can be seen at photographic awards shows. Oh my God, my first judging experience was utterly horrific, the proportion of images that were badly messed around with in Photoshop created an optical illusion that left you thinking, “I don’t know what’s wrong with that image but it looks totally fake.” The excessive use of skin softening, the excessive brightening of eyes, whitening of teeth, shrinking of people’s waistlines and other things are horrific, utterly horrific. It’s easy to say you can tell that images have been worked on in Photoshop. The skill is to know how to use Photoshop so an image doesn’t look like it has been worked on. The trick is creating an image which you know is better than it ever could have been on camera and still be 100% true to the natural range, gamma or light in the subject matter, giving a totally natural feel to the image, which is the skill of the retoucher. Obviously I would say that, being a ‘retoucher’ or ‘digital imaging person’, but there are more variables to consider – there is more theory involved, in terms of understanding dynamic ranges of printing presses; how the paper reacts differently to the dynamic range, which changes the palette of colours that I can use to represent that image. It just goes on and on. There is a large amount of anecdotal data you have to know to be able to make good choices when you are in Photoshop and create a good working practice which is theoretically based. You can’t wang – just picking up a slide and wanging it until your eyes are happy. Happiness is not in the wang bar. There is not one wang bar that I would use in its entirety without a mask or an alpha channel to have a more natural effect. It is true it’s becoming easier to spot a Photoshopped image these days, because there is less skill in the industry now. I believe that with good working practices, skill sets and theoretical understanding, photographers can create images without making it obvious they’ve been retouched and this is what I teach across the world.

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