Monday, September 6, 2010

Shooting the crop... Zack Arias

I always encourage shooting the crop. It means shooting with more intent and getting the shot right (or closer) out-of-the-box rather than fixing stuff later in Photoshop. That said, I'm also a big fixer of stuff in Photoshop so I'm a walking contradiction :) In all seriousness I encourage photographers to see the image in their head first, then attempt to create the shot in the viewfinder before the actuation. Mistakes happen and sometimes you see something on the 24" screen that you didn't through the viewfinder. Photoshop provides us options later...

I was reading through blogs and stuff and came across Zack Arias once again. As I read through his white background tutorials, I discovered that he recommends sho
oting a tighter crop and then Photoshopping in a larger background later.

Zack's rationale is sound and valid. When you shoot for the crop against a white background, you're throwing away megapixels to pure white. If the background is solid and not contributing to your content then you could really "recompose" in Photoshop. I've talked a little about this
here, when I needed more negative space. The difference is that I couldn't compose the frame correctly the first time around due to limitations with the actual background and not that I was attempting to save megapixels from being wasted.

So I stand at a crossroads when reading Zack's post and I'm torn between supporting his argument of not wasting megapixels and developing a good habit of shooting the crop.

I think the "not wasting megapixels" argument works in very limited situations, namely against a solid and evenly lit background. This means black, grey, white and usually against seamless paper. It's limiting and unless you really need those megapixels, I would actually NOT recommend "recomposing" in Photoshop. I feel this develops bad habits and creates situations where you encourage poor composition in hopes of "fixing" things later. Then again, it's one thing if you can't shoot the crop because of poor composition, it's another thing if you can shoot the crop but you decide not to for strategic purposes and it's another totally different thing if you're physically limited from shooting the crop you want and then rebuilding later in Photoshop. I suppose each of these situations has a somewhat independent set of causes and effects.

I'll think about it some more and perhaps even try it myself, but I use too many gradients in the background for this to be particularly useful. I don't shoot against a blown-white background much...

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