One question I get when I show my photos in art shows is, “Do you use PhotoShop on your photos?” The answer is yes, of course. Let me explain why.
Many times I have attended outdoor craft shows and observed the work of photographers. They brag that they don’t use PhotoShop to alter their photos. You can tell. Being polite, I refrain from telling them what I think. These are same photographers who complain that they can’t get into the juried art shows and usually blame the judges. It’s not the judges. It’s the fact that their photos are uninteresting. Without the photographer’s input into the finished photo, it becomes a snapshot. Using techniques available to the photographer, and the photographer’s creative use of these techniques are why they are artists and not snapshot photographers.
When you observe something that creates enough interest that you want to share that scene with others, or just record it for your own enjoyment, you are experiencing it with all your senses at that moment. You smell fragrance of the foliage or flowers. You hear the birds, the surf or the wind through the trees. All these elements combine to create the desire to record the experience. These external influences contribute to your selection of the subject you want to photograph, whether you know it or not. When you capture the image, the camera cannot record the smells, feelings and sounds. It is up to you, as the artist photographer, to translate for the viewer the experiences that lead to your selection of this particular subject. This is accomplished when your audience sees the finished photo and has the same awe that you had when you selected that subject.
The camera on its own cannot recreate your experience. The camera is a tool, it cannot smell the flowers, feel the breeze or hear the surf. It is up to the artists to manipulate the image to relay the emotion that lead you to hit the shutter release.
It is up to you to decide, whether you are going to short change your viewer or create works and allow them to experience the beauty that you encountered in nature.