Why Doesn’t My Picture Look Like That?

I want you to know something. To really listen here and to absorb what I’m telling you. Most of the time, the reason your picture doesn’t look “like that” is because the “that” is a result of post processing.

Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes it’s a lack of training, experience, or equipment. But, almost every time someone has said those words to me, it has been directly related to an HDR shot, or a photo that has been manipulated.

When we talk about post processing, it can get pretty heated. Do you or don’t you? How much can you alter an image and still call it a photo? Is it cheating? Shouldn’t it be perfect right out of the camera?

And at the same time we’re having that conversation, there are millions of people snapping pics with their phones, and happily applying an Instagram filter before uploading it and sending it out to the world. Funny enough, that’s what so many people are comparing their photography to…Instagram filtered cell phone shots.

The effect of post-processing on photography might seem like a new thing but it’s as old as photography itself. What used to take place in a darkroom is now being done on a computer, tablet or phone. What used to take hours of work by an experienced photo editor can now often be simulated with one click of a button. It’s astounding!

So. How do you make your photo look “like that”? You learn to post-process. There are a lot of different software options but the two industry leaders continue to be (for now) Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. The next question is usually, “which one do I need?” and that simply comes down to what you’re trying to do.

If you are looking for software that helps you catalog your photos, sharpen them, touch them up, crop and straighten and size them, Lightroom is your best bet.

If you are looking to remove backgrounds, swap faces, merge photos, or apply textures, Photoshop is the tool you want to work with.

We teach both of these programs (as well as Illustrator and InDesign). If you need help with your photo processing software, check our calendar for the next available training date!