Over Contrast/Saturation Is Creating Average Photographers


With the availability of cameras to almost everyone, and the availability of amazingly powerful processing software, there are more photographers out there than ever. The market is flooded with different photographs of almost every type imaginable, with everything from point and shoots and cellphones to multi-thousands of dollar DSLR’s.

With this mass flooding of budding new photographers, and all of the photo sites out there like Flickr, 500px, pBase, Panoramio, etc, the desire to make a shot stand out of the crowd is becoming increasingly difficult to do.

A somewhat new trend is to over saturate and over contrast photographs. Just spend some time on 500px and you’ll see what I mean. BTW, I’m not implying that ALL photos on 500px are processed poorly, but you’ll see some good examples there.

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While I do admit it does make the photos stand out much more, I believe that it’s actually taking away from the “art” of photography.

Photo by Scott Nelson
Photo by Scott Nelson

It’s very easy to take a so-so photo, crank up the saturation and/or contrast, and have a photo that looks much better. To me this can create an issue. I feel that photographers should put time into learning the fundamentals of photography: subject, balance, framing, and composition. These things help make a photo great.  Focusing on the post processing too much is to the detriment to the new photographer who is hoping to become a great photographer.

Don’t get me wrong; I also feel that post processing is very important, and is an entire art all unto itself.  I even struggle from time to time on this. This is one of the reasons I primarily shoot in RAW. It forces me to address post processing. But I don’t want to get into the trap of cranking the sliders all over the place to make a shot JUMP. I want to learn how to compose my shots, then learn how to alter the photo settings to make it more appealing to my eyes.

Unless you’re a savant, learning how to do anything well takes time, work, experimenting, seeing what works and what doesn’t, making mistakes, and trying again. It takes time, and sometimes a long time. I don’t consider myself a “great” photographer, but I do enjoy taking photos.  I also enjoy learning something new, which makes me a better photographer(I hope).

I feel that is is very important to hone your craft, learn the basics of photography, learn your equipment, and most importantly, understand how to paint with light, not with “Photoshop.”

Last Updated on November 27, 2018.


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