If you’re a woman, chances are good you’ve been Photoshopping yourself since you were at least 12 years old. Every single one of us has stood in front of the mirror at some point since adolescence and liberally applied the concealer. And you can’t tell me you haven’t been on a date and done the oh-so-discreet spinach-in-the-teeth check in the reflection of the butter knife. The desire to enhance has been around since the discovery of mirrors, which pretty much means our Neolithic ancestors would have given up their best set of blunt tools to have a fully retouched, color corrected and perfectly exposed family portrait hanging above the fire pit. If only they’d had Adobe Photoshop, I’m sure there would have been a lot less tribal violence and political upheaval.
We all know the suite of Adobe products made for photographers is the gold standard in the industry. You know you’re the top dog when your product name is used as both a proper noun and a verb in everyday vernacular (Client: “You can Photoshop my arms to look like Jennifer Aniston’s, right? Me: “Oh, totally. She’ll look like Roseanne Barr compared to you.”). In fact, it’s possible the entire post-production process has become an art forum unto itself. There are countless blogs dedicated the subject. Some of my favorites:
- National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). This website is so chock-full of good stuff, it will be a whole blog post unto itself – stay tuned!
- Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips – Really good, quick tutorials on everyday types of editing issues.
- Totally Rad – You guessed it. Totally rad stuff on this site.
I’m sure I don’t have to sell you on how great Photoshop and Lightroom are, but take a look at some of my before and afters from the past week and see for yourself.
And don’t feel like you have to skim money off the top of the grocery budget the next few weeks to afford Photoshop and Lightroom either. Adobe offers a “lite” version of Photoshop called Photoshop Elements which has many of the key features of the whole hog for a fraction of the price.
One last thing. This probably goes without saying, but there is no amount of magic in any Adobe product that can substitute for getting it right, in camera, the first time. But if you’re like me, sometimes you need a little post-processing help to fully realize the vision you have in your head. Ain’t no shame in that, people.
And the bonus – if you learn how to Photoshop Jennifer Aniston’s arms onto your own, you’ll have one awesome looking Christmas card.