Stop it people. (Don’t stop listening to Martini Hour, there are so precious few left. But do stop doing these things that you don’t need to do in Photoshop.) Whether it be laziness, or convention, or excitement over tools or techniques to the point of employing them past all earthly reason, this week’s show comprises a list of bad habits that Deke and I have collected in our travels (and Deke admits to having occasionally collected based on personal experience). Inspired by this blog post of things photographers can stop shooting already (sunsets, homeless dudes, . . .) we delightfully discuss our candidates for the things you are free stop doing in Photoshop. With our blessings. Not to mention, our insistence.
Here is our list of “don’t do"s:
- Do not add heavy-handed precious-memory vignettes no matter how easy it is these days. Let’s face it, vignettes are the drop shadows of the new millennium. Unless you are shooting dinosaurs, then vignette away.
- Do not upsample. You’re inventing meaningless pixels out of whole cloth. Stop it. Stop it now.
- Stop working in sRGB. When you’re creating and editing your image. Work in Adobe RGB and then convert to sRGB if appropriate for output.
- Stop avoiding drop shadows because other people tell you they suck. Use your best judgment and don’t listen to hard-and-fast rules. Even our hard-and-fast rules. (Stop listening to me!)
- When retouching, go for the blemishes (transitory) but not the wrinkles (earned). Or at least, take is easy on wrinkles. Wrinkles are beautiful.
- Don’t impose your aesthetic ideal on people. Unnatural is not good. Make sure their mothers can recognize them. Cautionary note to boys who may be augmenting their girlfriends in particular.
- Avoid the Filter Gallery effects. We’ve seen them all. Otherwise, your work looks canned and just like everyone else who knows how to set the sliders on those effects between random limits such as 2 and 7.
- Stop with the Lens Flare. We don’t believe you. Unless, of course, you’re creating a logo for your audio-only martini-swilling podcast. Or you’re actually shooting in outer space.
- Don’t over-sharpen. There’s a point where “pop” turns into downright “crispiness.” (Deke admits to his own fair share of abuse on this one.)
- Do not make your product-shot backgrounds unnaturally white. Sure, it’s easier to mask, but you’ll never get all the way there. And you’re just bound to cause some damage in the process. Especially those of you interested in selling a stock photograph or two. You’re better off trusting the end user.
- Stop using the Magic Wand. (If you need to know why, listen to this previous episode.) Especially for continuous tone. Try Color Range instead.
- Don’t think you’re fooling people. Don’t lie with Photoshop. Better to give a wink and let your viewers be in on the fantasy.
- Don’t use the Feather command when you’re too tired to make a legitimate selection. Blurry is not better. It’s just myopic.
- And ultimately, do not, under any circumstance, listen to us! Well, not if what we’re saying conflicts with your own artistic vision. Because there are no nevers. Just mostly nevers.
Where else can you have your lounge-dwelling friends honestly tell you your bad habits and why you should abandon them? Here’s the regular-quality audio file. You can stream, or for best results, right-click and choose Download or Save. Here’s the high-res version; you’ll want to download rather than stream. And don’t forget our usual plea to subscribe via iTunes.
And don’t miss our challenge at the end, if you can prove to us that you can create an amazing image by breaking all our rules, show us! There may be a collector’s edition stainless steel martini glass in it for you. Cheers!