I don’t know how to use Photoshop anymore, and I’m pretty happy that way, since 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 the view, but I do that before the shutter clicks, and I will not manipulate or pose the scene in other ways.
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. If I am showing the realities of nature, I believe it is best to stay real. If you are submitting images to a nature magazine, it is likely that they feel the same.