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You’re gonna need light for that

morning coffee

If there’s one question I get when I am asked to photograph an individual or more than one person it’s, can you photoshop that? To which I politely smile, somewhat grind my teeth a little and say, no.

I recently took photos of a newly engaged couple, at night mind you, who I had politely warned that nightfall without much light around means there is a lot of darkness. For photography, this means it is difficult to take pictures.

I couldn’t exactly use a flash because it was a surprise engagement and I didn’t want to be super obvious. If you know anything about photography, then you understand this is quite the conundrum. (I ended up bringing a handheld soft light with me similar to this.)

I warned them again that it was far too dark where we were, but they insisted and then the question I abhor the most came right out,

Can’t you just fix it with photoshop?

How, pray tell, would one think I could add light to a photograph when it was not originally there? Do people think Photoshop sprinkles magic photo fairy dust on pictures and makes them look fabulous? If that were the case, why isn’t everyone out there buying Photoshop, snapping pictures with their smartphones and using Photoshop’s magic fairy dust to make out of this world pictures?

Oh yeah, because that’s not how it works.

The majority of photographers do the following:

  1. They take their pictures in RAW, not JPG.
  2. They edit their photos and do their workflow in Lightroom, NOT Photoshop.
  3. If they want to add layers or do something additional to their photograph(s), then they use Photoshop.

Personally, I do not use Photoshop. I only use Lightroom. No I cannot add missing light from a photo. No I cannot make you look thinner. No I cannot do anything with the photo that I do not see through my viewfinder.

If you’re still wondering how a camera works (both film and digital), please go to this.

If you don’t have much light or any, it’s going to be difficult to take a picture. Take my word for it, or go ahead and try for yourself!

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. They ask this because television and movies make it seem like everything can be done photographically with nothing. That tiny little 0.25 MP low res security camera image of a crime scene can be blown up and depixellated to the point where you can see the serial number of a pistol reflected in a perp’s sunglasses although s/he was 100 feet away. Thank you, CSI.

    December 15, 2015
    • Marie #

      UGH, right??? So annoying.

      December 16, 2015
  2. Just got to turn around to these people and ask them why in the first place did they hire an expert to do their photography when they clearly know so much about the topic. Let the people who know what they’re doing get on with it and heed their advice when they tell you shooting in the dark is not a great idea.

    December 16, 2015
    • Marie #

      Haha! I really need to. Or just wear a tshirt that says “I don’t Photoshop.” 😉

      December 16, 2015
      • Do that. Says the person who just Photoshopped someone’s open eyes onto a shot where they had their eyes closed. Well, it was for a friend!

        December 16, 2015
        • Marie #

          Ahahahahaha!!! 😀

          December 16, 2015
  3. I still can’t get over this. “We want our proposal to be at night. But maybe you can like photoshop in a sunset? Or maybe change the background to hawaii! can you do that?”

    December 18, 2015
  4. I don’t Photoshop either! But definitely tweak colors and light in Lightroom. You can only recover so much light, and the result is terrible. I want a camera body upgrade so bad :).

    December 30, 2015
    • Marie #

      Oooo what camera body do you want??

      December 31, 2015
      • One that has higher ISO capabilities. Crop or full sensor, not sure.

        December 31, 2015
        • Marie #


          January 4, 2016

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