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Digital Darkroom

Posted 05-10-2008 at 08:58 PM by Ari

I know I said I would keep posting here, and I haven't forgotten.
So a couple photography related posts for the few people that read the blogs section.


Digital Darkroom

I have expressed dismay before about how digital is treated by the general public, how 'I did it in photoshop' has some bad connotations, including the idea that the effect is easy or the person is a bad photographer and how all of this isn't new to the world of photography.

There is a phrase that appears on many photography sites and in books and I am going to be pushing for its adoption in general language (even I rarely use it). Digital Darkroom. Because the truth of the matter is, for the most part I didn't "Do it in photoshop."

When processing an image the flow goes about like this,
•Choose Raw converter.
Raw converters aren't created equal and can produce different outputs, thus picking which one is best for the image can have an impact on the final image. IN my case this is normally either Digital Photo Professional (Canon) or Lightroom/ACR (Adobe)

•Adjust in Raw converter
Main processing is normally done in the converter and the processing

•Photoshop
For the fine detailed corrections, complex editing, etc. In some cases photoshop just acts as a base for a set of third-party plugins. This step can, and sometimes is, skipped altogether.

•Print
Choice of printing makes a big differences, is it going to be sent off to a place that uses a lightjet (exposing light sensitive paper with the digital file), or printed on a home inkjet. In which case what kind and even what drivers? When making black and white prints I use Quadtone RIP a third party driver with my Epson to make neutral or toned prints. The prints from Epson's driver and Quadtone are significantly different. It even comes down to paper choice, such as Matte or Glossy and what quality.

A simplified set of things that are considered.

In the end we really are working with a digital darkroom and I think because it lacks the mystique of a photographer retreating into a darkened room, playing with some unknown chemicals and coming out with a quality prints it isn't treated with the respect it deserves. On my computer sits the equivalent of a house full of darkroom chemicals and equipment.
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