By Mike Johnson, Lead Digital Photography & Photoshop Instructor, DMA @ UC San Diego
Iain Macmillan had ten minutes one August morning in 1969 to take the iconic cover shot of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. Out of half a dozen frames, number five became the cover. He used film and he didn’t have Photoshop. What would that image have looked like if he’d had today’s digital tools? Probably not much different.
Today, a creative mind armed with a digital camera and Photoshop are capable of creating virtually any image imaginable. But will others believe it? One of the greatest challenges for the photographer in post-production is to exercise restraint on the computer. As a judge of several photo competitions, the easiest images for me to pass over have been those that were over-processed in Photoshop. Likewise, there is no substitute for a good eye. Synthesizing a natural-appearing image from disparate elements is impossible without understanding the fundamental principles of photography and the behavior of light.
Two images of the famous crosswalk taken in April of this year; which one is real and which one was ‘Shopped? Click each for an enlargement.
In July of 2006 I spent two weeks at the Digital Media Academy immersing myself in the world of digital photography and Photoshop. Since Photoshop was not the most intuitive software to me, I was glad for the hands on training to get a handle on the basic and more advanced editing tools that it provides. The instructor knew his stuff! He was able to show us how to achieve the same result using at least three different methods and explain which method he thought was best which helped me grasp just how much Photoshop had to offer. It felt like drinking from a fire hose at times! However by the end of the week, everything would start to come together and it was amazing to see how much I had learned in such a short time.
The courses were a great combination of out in the field shooting and in the classroom learning Photoshop. I learned some valuable photography skills that helped me take better photos from the start and in the end saves me tons of time since getting the shot right the first time takes less time then trying to correct problems in Photoshop. The small class size made it easy to get personal time with the instructor to ask my questions and learn what I was specifically looking to learn in these courses.
After two weeks I had gone from never using Photoshop to using Photoshop to edit all of my photos. DMA’s courses allowed me to gain the skills and confidence to launch my photography business shortly thereafter. Without the DMA course I never would have gotten my business off the ground and running so quickly. Since the summer of 2006 my photography business has taken off thanks to DMA! It’s the best investment of time and money that I’ve put into my business and I recommend these courses for any aspiring photography who is looking to lauch or take their photography business to the next level.