‘Over-shopped’

Over-shopped– 1. The practice of a photo editor proclaiming photographer status by means of utilizing editing software on less than optimal photos in the attempt to pass them off as art.  2. Not knowing when less is more and overdoing the editing of a photo to the point of absurdity.

With the rapid improvements of digital camera technology and editing software, virtually anyone can become a photographer photo editor if desired.  There is a clear distinction between a photographer and a photo editor: 

Photographer

  • The majority of their time is spent taking photographs
  • Photographs can stand on their own without editing
  • Editing is based on small enhancements
  • Individual is knowledgeable about composition, angles, lighting, camera functions, etc…

Photo Editor

  • The majority of their time is spent editing photographs
  • Editing is the main focus of the photograph to make it ‘good’
  • Individual heavily relies on editing software rather than technique
  • Usually commercially/consumer driven

It is easy and fun to get sucked into becoming a ‘photo editor version photographer’ without realizing it.  I’ll admit that I unknowingly started to lean that way when making the switch from my 35mm to my digital camera, increasing when I began photographing people and doing paid sessions.  On top of that, there are some amazing photo editing softwares out there with fun tools and effects that can be addictive.  Once my eyes were opened to this phenomenon and that it was happening to me, I became appauled.  I started driving back to the basics and challenged myself to produce photos that required little to no editing.  In any areas that aren’t up to par, I have been studying to improve the skillset.  

Through the years I have networked with many photographers; both experienced and newly emerging.  I find that it is typical of the newer photographers to gravitate to the photo editor classification of over-shopping their photos.  It seems as if their plan is to take as many photos as possible and then edit the ones they got lucky on after the fact.  Reluctantly, I have begun distancing myself from those individuals because I have come to recognize their photos for what they are.  To most people, especially those unfamiliar with editing software, the photos may appear fine.  But when I look at their photos, I don’t see crisp, clean, breathtaking images that focus on composition.  Instead, I am distracted by the over-shopped, blurred backgrounds, intensified colors, and scripty logos that mute the message of the photograph.  These all suggest magazine advertisements, not photography. 

I continue to look for inspiring photographers whose photographs are unique and amazing that require little editing.  (Ex/ Julia Bailey, Brooke Delatte).  Luckily, there are still some good ones out there but it seems it is because they have been in the industry for years.  It saddens me to think that the art/skill of Ansel Adams type photography is being left behind in the 1900s.      

 

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