I just celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary, and I did what many do on an anniversary. I went through some of our wedding and honeymoon photos. Reliving the days all those years ago. Being a photographer, I decided to revisit the memories from the trip, plus go back and re-edit our honeymoon photos. Much has changed in how I work with images during the past ten years, and I wanted to see if I could improve those photos.
We had taken a cruise to Mexico, and it was fun revisiting those memories, not just of the trip itself but also of the software and cameras I was using ten years ago. That got me thinking even further into the past, of my more than twenty-year journey through the digital landscape as a professional photographer.
My introduction to digital imaging goes back to December of 1999, when I got my first digital camera. I had been using computers since 1993, but in those early days, it was for things like bookkeeping, brochure design, contact management, word processing, surfing the internet, and email. Digital imaging, for the most part, was not yet in the realm of use for professional photographers working in the portrait and wedding market. It was being used in the photojournalism arena where speed or getting the images to press was paramount, and the quality of the images, printed in newsprint, didn’t need to be top-notch. But for us studio owners, it was not something that made sense.
But by late 1999, the quality of digital cameras had got to a point where I was ready to dive in. I began with an Olympus digital camera called a C2020, an advanced (for the time) 2mega pixel point and shot camera. In the beginning, I used the software that came with that camera. I don’t even remember what that was or how it worked because shortly after getting the camera, I bought a program called Photo Impact made by a company called ULead.
Even at that time, Adobe’s photoshop was the premier software for photo manipulation, but I stubbornly resisted it because of its cost, $600+ was more than I wanted to pay and I found that Photo Impact did what I wanted and needed in the business. It was a robust program that even today does some things better and easier the Photoshop, but by the end of the 2000s ULead had been bought by Corel, and they soon dropped Photo Impact in favor of their own photo program, Paint Shop Pro. I used Photo Impact for several years after that, but by 2013, it was a dead horse. It was time to begin using Photoshop.
But I have not entirely stopped using Photo Impact. There is one thing that I have found that it does better than any other photo program that I have been able to find. This is the way Photo Impact handles individual images within the main window of the program. Most photo editing software allows you to view one image at a time, some allow you to open more than one but only allow you to switch back and forth between, not allowing you to see both on the same screen. Photoshop will allow it, but it takes several more steps to get there. Photo Impact opens each image in its own little window within the main window, allowing you to see several photos at the same time, thus I can show business portraits two or three at a time so customers can compare one photo next to another.
But, (there is so often a but) Photo Impact will not run well on windows 10. So I have it running on an old laptop that runs Windows XP, (not on the internet of course) and it runs very well on that old machine. Old software on an old machine. That’s what I am talking about.
I find Photoshop very intuitive by this time, able to do things easily but of course, I just scratch the surface of what it can do. It has been said that there are ten ways to do just about anything in Photoshop and you find the technique that fits you and stay with it. If I need to find out how to do something new, I can always google it, find a YouTube video and find out how to do it in just a few minutes. And I always seem to find new things.
Photographers today interact with their images in so many ways, and with so much that can be done. When I think back to the days of film, of working in the darkroom and the limited number of things you could do to a print, it seams acratic now. But I do miss printing my own work, and the work of my clients. Soo, I will be introducing high quality professional ink jet printing to the office.
One thing I love about photography, you are always learning new things. A new peace of software, a new technique. High end Ink Just prints is one of those new areas that is getting me excited. More about that in future blog posts.