I had a conversation with a friend the other day who recently vacationed in India and took some amazing images while there.  She was saying that she loves taking photos but doesn’t like editing and therefore tries to edit “in camera” and that she hasn’t bothered to learn Lightroom.

I could totally relate to her on this as, even tho I’ve used Photoshop for YEARS, I had never shot in RAW or used Lightroom (or even Camera Raw) till a year or two ago.  Even though I related I did tell her right away that she needed to learn asap as her images would gain so much from even some basic PS & LR love.

I have been thinking about this a lot since.
I now believe that if you are not using RAW, Photoshop AND Lightroom (or Camera Raw) or software like it……..YOU ARE NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER. BOOM.

Let me explain further.

I shot film and worked as a lab tech for years and I know for a fact that no “Photographer” dropped in their film to just any lab and said “just chuck these through the machines for me”.
Hell no!
They were very precious about the exact lab to start with. Then they would often just get the negatives developed. Then they would look at the negs and choose the exact frames to have printed in a small form factor. Then they would come back, look at the small prints and ask for adjustments to be made. They would only then have decent sized prints made. And that was best case scenario! I have personally printed 11x14s 3, 4 and even 5 times till they were happy….and they paid for every reprint (unless I stuffed it up somehow)!

Now, I know digital photography is not film photography but I think the essence of being a Photographer, ie: someone who makes photographic images, is basically the same.

What I’m trying to say is this: if you are not editing your digital images you are only doing the first part of being a photographer. The reason Lightroom is called Lightroom as a play on Darkroom and for those who don’t know, a Darkroom is where you develop your film and print your images.

The Darkroom is ESSENTIAL to film photography (or its mechanised equivalent that was found in a photo shop) and Lightroom and/or Photoshop are an essential part of digital photography.

While I am writing this I am wondering how far away Photoshop Photo Shops can be?!

If you are reading this and you don’t shoot RAW and don’t use some sort of photographic editing software please please please do yourself and your images a MASSIVE favor and start.

I can say this with 100% confidence: You will not regret it.

Below are some Before and Afters of images I shot recently on my Canon G12 and edited in Camera Raw and Photoshop.