Airbrushing in Photography

Taking a photography course has been one of the most educational and entertaining experiences I have been through, and I am always interested in ideas that come from arguments. Although when someone becomes offended by opinions I voice and the choice of words I use; I do feel a small amount of remorse and sympathy. That is until you prove my point correct, then along with some of my respect, that remorse and sympathy I felt have disappeared altogether.

A discussion in a recent class was based around whether or not airbrushing and heavy editing should be in portrait photography, that being a fairly vague selection seeing as portraits are used from home decor to professional advertisements, many opinions can be formed. In my personal opinion unless you are doing portraits for a fashion magazine where you want more emphasis on the product than the model you should never adopt an airbrushing technique within a digital space. My classmate did not agree with this, they felt that airbrushing can be done right and when it is done right the image will look real, a fair point my classmates confidence gave me reason to suspect that they knew what they were arguing as well as could do believable airbrushing.  So about a week after this class I saw a post from this classmate where she had done someones photos and did her editing, on first look I asked myself who did such a great 3d render only to find that this was indeed a photograph; and that plastic look that I had complained airbrushing causes, and my classmate said they do not produce.

Airbrushing in real life and digital airbrushing are not on equal playing fields, the detail you can get in real life is much higher than in the digital work this is because of certain techniques that Photoshop has yet to add. So is it possible to digitally create a realistic photograph of a person that doesn’t exist, yes it is quite possible but all current processes to create such images use skin texture from real people while the facial features and other ascetics are digitally created or sculpted facial textures are imported from real photographs.

This is what began to bother me about my classmates high-strung attitude, her photograph which is meant to capture the likeness of a person and not feel fake or plastic was less realistic than a 3d render. Think about that for a second an image taken in real time of a real person, fails in comparison of realism to a 3d render created digitally of a person that has never actually existed in the natural world, only solidifying my original argument.

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Portrait

A 3d render created by CGArtist David Moratilla

Before-and-After-Airbrushing

Form your own opinions, Do you think that airbrushing cannot be done at a boutique level so that photos look 100% realistic or not?

Images borrowed from
http://www.about-face.org/disclaimer-for-airbrushed-models-an-effective-solution/

http://www.davidmoratilla.com/

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Breaking the Barrier of Name Brands

Day one Self portrait

Day one Self portrait

In society name brands have become a sign of status and success, not only do we have this need to show off what we have but we also have the tendency to judge others from what they have. This holds true in many aspects of our society but also in the world of photography.Twenty years ago digital photography was still in its infancy, and the last of the highly rated Pentax, Minolta, and Holga 35mm film cameras used by the average professional were slowly dying out, and not until thirteen years ago Digital cameras were limited to the quality of most cellphones with nothing more than 1.5 megapixels in a camera that looked like a Nikon 35mm but cost between $6,000 and $30,000 for professionals. Whilst today you can get a camera with 16 megapixels between $500 and $1,500. If you think about it that has been a very little amount of time that this technology has grown, but what made Canon and Nikon the industry standard? It would probably be attributed to the collaboration between Kodak and the two, Kodak being one of the first companies to integrate a digital sensor with a 35mm camera.

So with this boom in innovation from three of the top companies helping to make better quality cameras cheaper and faster we gained this social branding that we see in so many other places; to a point where other photographers look down on each other for the camera they prefer to shoot with, and clients and consumers of a photographers service build an impression in their mind that only photographers with a Canon or Nikon camera can shoot high quality pictures. Could this stereotype be true though, does the brand of your camera make you a better photographer.  To an extent yes though it is not just in the equipment that makes a photographer great better made products do assist but with technology growing at an exponential rate as it has been for years the emergence of competition to these two industry standards also comes with examples from Sony and Fuji-film, and since the acquisition of Pentax form Hoyo by  Ricoh Imaging. These companies have risen to produce high quality cameras that rival Canon and Nikon in both functionality and price.

With these advances at our fingertips, as a photographer I advise others to take a look carefully at the technology you are choosing to use, and in a day and age where you can rent a camera and lens for a weekend for a measly $50, test and test and test to find a camera that will perform the best in your own hands, because at the end of the day a portfolio showing your work will speak more than the camera you hold in your hands.