Attempting to learn Photoshop

Everybody knows about Adobe's Photoshop. Any photographer that now wants Adobe's Lightroom software pretty much has to have Photoshop bundled with it. What if I were to tell you that I just opened up Photoshop for the first time just a couple of weeks ago? So, for the past two years I've been paying for Photoshop, and now I decide to use it...

It's an unfortunate additional cost to pay for software that I just haven't been using. There's simply to package to have Lightroom [Classic] by itself. Now, now, don't be pointing at the boxed version, that thing's out of date and won't be updated ever again (Adobe killed it).

Photoshop is an incredibly powerful tool, however, I have found my needs fulfilled by Lightroom's editing suite. I try my best to get the image in camera so that nothing major needs to be fixed in post; and Lightroom does these edits wonderfully. So when is it that I need Photoshop? Well, for now I've been practicing composites.

These images aren't major winners but, they're something for now.

Hot Air Balloon Over Frozen Forest

This composite is made up of two images. Below is the original image.


This original was taken during the Snowdown Festival in Durango, Colorado. Not much snow here... Plus, the home yard down doesn't exactly lend itself for good imagery. When I was driving on up to Durango, my hope was to get pictures of the hot air balloons against a dreamy snow-covered landscape. And, well, since there wasn't any snow I figured that this would be a good time to try making a composite.

I sourced the snowy forest image from Unsplash. I know that there's some controversy over that website, however, it's an easy place for me to get a royalty free image for my practicing purposes. And, yes, yes, I see that the forest picture's perspective, and lighting, is a bit off for the shot. I'm not going to find the perfect forest picture to only not be able to use it without paying for it (I ain't paying for practicing).

For this I used Photoshop's quick selection tool to isolate the balloon. The quick selection tool was having a hard time including the little green bit on the lower left corner. It took me a while to finally correct it since none of the automatic tools wanted to pick it up.

All-in-all, I'm fairly satisfied with the image. It's certainly not something I would sell but, it gives a good visualization of what I wanted to get and didn't.

Sky Lanterns, and merging multiple pictures

This composite was made the with the three images below it. This was a simple usage of layer masking to get the desired lanterns in the photo. The third image was focused at infinity so the lanterns "further up" were more in focus. I just used a Gaussian blur to create the effect that they weren't in focus. Easy!

In conclusion...

The two photos I made here weren't exactly difficult to make by any means. By viewing tutorials, and whatnot online, it's not that Photoshop is difficult to use (they keep making it easier to use every version). The difficult part is being able to visualize what I want. Using Photoshop feels like a very different thing to me. It's no longer just capturing an photo on the camera, it's making an image using the photo(s).

I really do admire the artists that can use Photoshop well. Some salty photographers call them cheaters for not getting it in camera. From what I see though, the camera isn't enough to achieve their vision. For now my imagination may be too limited to fully utilize Photoshop. I hope that I can use Photoshop in creative ways to improve my photography though.