Behind The Scenes | "Photoshop is NOT a Four Letter Word" | Article and 2 Photos by Stephen Fisher


When most people think of Photoshop (the noun), they think it’s some magic program that allows you “photoshop” (the verb) a bad photo into a National Geographic cover shot. That’s not even close to being the case.

Adobe Photoshop is just one of several software programs that replace the traditional darkroom. Instead of taking rolls of film into those little smelly rooms with red lights, digital photographers use their computers to do exactly the same thing.

Digital cameras use media cards instead of film. A photographer takes photographs and the images are stored on the media card. Back home, the photographer will remove the media card from the camera and download them to a computer. Some photographers will just use a cable from the camera to the computer and directly download the files.

This is a file taken right off the media card before processing. You can think of these files as negatives. They’re usually flat looking with much contrast or definition.

This is the same file after being “developed” on the computer. 

A photographer goes through the very same steps as they used to do in a darkroom. Exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, and cropping can all be done in the comfort of your chair.


OK…so some people really overdo the “photoshop” (the verb) thing. Replacing heads and bodies, adding and removing things, and other activities have really given Photoshop (the noun) a bad name. Sure it’s fun, but…

I get asked ALL of the time at shows if I “photoshopped” (the verb) a photograph. And they usually don’t ask in a complimentary way. I usually try to explain it exactly like I’ve done in this article. “Photoshopping” (the verb) an image won’t make it in focus or improve really bad exposure. It’s just the way digital photographers develop their photographs.

I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about processing/developing your digital files. Leave a comment and I’ll try to get right back to you.


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Stephen Fisher and his wife Sharon have lived in Rockport for almost 5 years. Stephen Is a full time nature photographer with gallery representations here in Rockport and in Corpus Christi. Their favorite question is “What took us so long to get here to Rockport?”

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