You no longer need photography skills to be a good photographer
When you combine modern, even entry-level photographic equipment with today’s post-production software, it’s never been easier for people to get high-quality images. The days when time, elements and light match perfectly are essentially over.
While the list is pretty comprehensive, I want to offer three main reasons why many of the skills that photographers once kept close, and sometimes under wraps, have become essentially obsolete.
The first is the gearing. Advances in photo equipment over the past two decades have taken the results and image qualities of amateur and professional photographers to levels that were perhaps once unimaginable. With regard to many bodies today, you have things like:
- Stabilization of body image
- Nearly global frame autofocus coverage
- Incredibly accurate autofocus and animal and human eye tracking
- Burst rate up to 30 fps
- 8K video shooting
- Over 60 megapixel sensors
The list could go on, but you get the drift. Modern camera bodies are equipped with so many phenomenal features. I use the Canon EOS R5 and am still amazed over a year after receiving it by how good it is compared to my previous cameras.
And that’s before you even get to the lenses. In today’s market, we have the native lenses that blend seamlessly with the cameras from our manufacturers, and we also have plenty of third-party options, led by Sigma and Tamron. In short, the quality of today’s equipment at relatively affordable prices means that even the most inexperienced beginner can be sure that they will get high quality photos every time they take out their equipment to shoot. regardless of the brand or lens combination. .
The simple fact is that the capabilities of today’s equipment make photography so easy. Ask yourself, why is it so hard for people to make a living selling prints these days? This is because cameras and lenses, including cell phones, are of such high quality and do so much work that if people want to print something, they often don’t need to get hold of them. impressions elsewhere because their images are perfectly sufficient for their needs. .
But there is more than hardware. Beyond the exceptional job your camera equipment does for you to get the quality images you desire, when you add in the post production options available, I would almost go so far as to say that anyone can get high quality images that it can print with confidence. and posted on a wall or sent to websites or magazines for publication.
It’s a big statement, I know. And I also know that many of you will not agree with me at all. So, I want to use an example to show you what I mean. My premise is that when you combine the equipment of today with the software of today, good photography has almost become infallible.
The first part is to pull much wider than necessary. In the photo below, I took a photo that’s far too wide for this article to introduce a point that makes modern photography so easy: the cropping options. Due to the sensor resolutions in many modern cameras, if you shoot wide enough and capture more scene than you think you need, you can pretty much crop into any composition your heart desires and still have it. more than enough to work with for printing.
I took the image below with my Canon EOS R5, knowing on the one hand that the autofocus would do its job and also that I could crop very tightly and still have plenty to work on thanks to the 45 megapixel sensor of R5.
When I got home, I played around with a few different compositions and placed the subject in different parts of the frame, until I found something that satisfied me. I intended to show enough of the wave behind the surfer to suggest he could have gone the other way, and also to show enough black vest, as I work a lot with this particular brand of wetsuits. Mostly, you can see the leeway I had and the space I had to work with. However, as you can see above, the cropping so tight only left me with 4.4 megapixels to work with. No problem. As most of us know, due to recent developments in AI, this is no longer a problem. I simply right-clicked on the new crop, selected Enhance, and within seconds I had a new 17-megapixel image to work on – more than enough to print large or send for publication in brochures.
In this example, I used Adobe’s native Super Resolution feature, but you can also use other software, such as Topaz Gigapixel or any other software available on the market. The point to remember is that as long as you’re shooting wide enough to get more scene in the frame than you need, you can use the crop feature to get just about any type of composition you like. , then increase the resolution and the number of megapixels later without losing any quality.
And if you need to print on a specific size paper, Photoshop’s crop tool offers many of these templates as well.
When you crop so tightly, one issue that you might not immediately notice is noise or smoothness in your image. Such imperfections tend to be exacerbated with extremely close harvests. Again, thanks to modern technological advancements, there is no problem in dealing with such inconveniences.
Let’s start with the noise first. As you can see in the image below, there is enough noise there that it needs special attention. I am using Topaz DeNoise AI or Dfine2 from Nik Collection. Photoshop and Lightroom also have their noise reduction features.
Once I have the image in Topaz DeNoise, I can do side-by-side or adjustment-to-adjustment comparisons and play around with the different options to compose what I like.
The most important part to keep in mind here is that this is all done with the click of a few buttons and takes just over a minute. As you can see below, the result is very good.
After that, I like to make some minor changes to the color, always keeping in mind not to reintroduce noise or digital artifacts. With modern software, there are so many options that make your workflow blazingly fast. There is something for everyone and I feel that with the options available, you don’t have to do everything yourself from scratch.
Even in Photoshop, there are plenty of one-click actions to start your edits. Just click Ctrl + F (Windows) to bring up the Discover dialog, and off you go.
I like to work with tones, so that’s where I start. Again, this is a one click thing for me that takes no effort. Once I have the dark to light tones in front of me, I can quickly decide what I want to work on.
In two clicks I was able to get the color and light much closer to what I wanted.
Then, using the Content-Aware tool, I was able to delete the two Internet users in less than 30 seconds. You can also choose from various other options like the Patch tool.
Finally, I wanted to accentuate the image a bit. To do this, you can use as many different methods. In Photoshop, you can use native sharpening features or use a high pass filter. I like to use Topaz Sharpen AI, but Sharpener Pro 3 (Output Sharpener) from Nik Collection is also a really good option that I use often.
Like the Topaz DeNoise plugin, the Topaz Sharpen software allows you to put different settings side by side for comparison. You can change the settings for each until you choose something you like. Then of course you can hide or hide different parts of the frame in Photoshop.
The final image I chose for this article is below. To reiterate, I wanted two main things from this shot: to show enough of the unbroken wave behind the surfer to suggest riding the wave this way was also possible and to show the surfer wearing the new vest from this company’s catalog. diving suits.
The bottom line is that I can do all of this with just one exposure and an editing time of around 10 minutes.
In conclusion, the modern equipment, the cropping choices for a pleasing composition, and the vast software options and features currently available mean that photography these days is becoming almost foolproof. Understandably, there may be a few scenarios where the user’s keen sense trumps everything, but these situations go away with each iteration of camera housings and editing tools.
Of course, I don’t think that’s a good thing, but it is, and we can’t pretend that it’s not easier than ever to get great photos for newbies. photographers. What are your thoughts?