Why I don’t use Photoshop

I don’t know how to use Photoshop anymore, but that is okay- I don’t really feel much of a need for it. Back when I did have it, I only used it for three things: making signs, making business cards, and creating a watermark that I could put on my images.

Most of the fancy post production tricks don’t fit my style of photography- removing unwanted objects from the images, adding that special gleam of light to an animals eye, adding other elements that weren’t there… It just doesn’t fit. I have nothing against Photoshop, but it’s not part of my world view or my photographic view.

I consider myself a documentary photographer. That is, I am documenting the world around me. Be it an animal, a landscape, an event, or a person- I will try to give my most honest interpretation of what I see through the lens, nothing added, nothing taken away. I might pull a few blades of grass that will interfere with my image, but I do that before the shutter clicks.

I do perform some minor manipulation on my computer, but I don’t see the need for fancy software. I may adjust the brightness or my exposure when I get home, if the image was a little light or dark. I may shift the white balance to correct the color more closely to what I saw, but I don’t try to add saturation to the images or shift the color into unreal realms. If I am giving my audience a picture of the natural world, I want it to be close to a real and natural state as possible with a photograph.

I likely do less than what many photographers of old did in the darkroom, but I still perform some processing that can be equated to the wonders created in those chemical dens. It doesn’t mean I am more or less of a photographer than those who Photoshop, it just means I am less of a Photoshoper.

I have no problem with people getting creative with their pictures, creating new images, new fantasies, but I consider manipulated images to be in a different genre. They are not documenting the world around them, even if they are giving a new version of the world. Photoshop is proper in its place, as my pictures are in theirs.

Happy shooting,


About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website- www.galenleeds.net
This entry was posted in documentary, ethics, photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why I don’t use Photoshop

  1. Thomas Wood says:

    I recently started a website called deathofphotoshop.com

    It is a website for any type of unedited photographs. I am looking for photographers to feature on the site and think you would be perfect. Let me know what you think. You can reach me at deathofphotoshop@gmail.com

    I would love it if you would make a posting on your group or let photographers know about it. Photographers retain the rights to their photographers and can include an email in their bio section in case somebody wants to get in contact with them to purchase their work.

  2. Nick Twinney says:

    Interesting, and probably fits your documentary style

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