Hi, I’m Brianna Doby and welcome to my blog. Please take a spin around the blog to find samples of my work, tips on how to make your photography session a success, and some general musings about my craft.

« The light in Golden is....golden! | Main | Babies Everywhere! »

It's easy enough to "photoshop" that out...

Sometimes, when I tell people that I am a photographer, they make a joke about Photoshop.  As in:

"Oh, you must be really good at Photoshopping people!  Can you make me look like Karlie Kloss?"

Well, no.  And no.

I am perfectly adept at Photoshop, yes.  I am exceedingly competent.  But, I don't use Photoshop in a way that you could use the word "Photoshop" as a verb.

Maybe I'm just a curmedgeon like my beloved father,

Not my dad's actual license plate, but this captures his general demeanor.

but I don't like to use Photoshop to change reality.


I know that's pretty rich coming from a digital photographer.  I see so many over-processed images that are beautiful and artistic and amazing but NOT REAL.  And that's art, too!  But I'm a portraitist.  I believe in your smile, in your imperfect and beautiful smile and your teeth that aren't necessarily the color of glaciers and your hair that could use a cut and your shirt that needed a much more vigorous ironing and maybe, just maybe, some nails that could stand a filing.

That's real.  (And dear lord, do I need a haircut right now, so no judgement at all from me.)

Do I use Photoshop to enhance, correct mistakes (meaning *my* mistakes), crop (I seldom crop, honestly--maybe 1/800 pictures), play with contrast, and take care of that spinach you ate right before our session?


Do I use Photoshop to make you anything other than, well, you?  Do I fundamentally alter the surroundings of the shoot, as in pretending we were someplace else or doing something other than we were?


Look, in the way back, photos were just as meticulously manipulated as they are today.  It just took different tools and a whole lot of time in a darkroom.  I'm no purist.  Nor am I naive!  Retouching is not new--it's an old artform.  And highly processed photos can be truly wonderful.  But there is truth to the beauty I see, and I don't like processing to obscure that.  Here's a good example:

At a well-known developer in town, I was chatting with a salesperson about this image.  I talked about how much I love it.  And that well-meaning, smart person said: why don't you take that branch out and make it better?

[cue the crickets]



It's there because it was there.  And it tells me a story.  That little one was more guarded, more reluctant in front of my camera.  We were in a gorgeous field of aspens in a beautiful state park.  When I got too close with my big camera (we've talked about this before), he was stiff, unsure.

But that beautiful puppy and those few grasses and branches between us made that little one relax.  He felt safer, calmer.  It's a metaphor, you see, for the experience he and I shared.  He was free with me, but only when slightly guarded by nature, or by his beloved dog.  And that's the beautiful part of the truth in our moment together.  Not everyone can embrace my camera.  Sometimes, I have to step back and get an imperfect picture, because the only kind of beauty I see has smudges, leaves in between, or even some blurry lines.

And I won't let Photoshop take that away from me, or from you.



PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (2)

I really really love this post. What a great shot, and there's no way losing that branch would make it "better."

Also, baby toes!

August 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate L.

Thanks, Kate! Glad you liked the post. And baby toes FTW, am I right?? :)

September 25, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrianna Doby

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>