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Photoshop vs. Lensbaby

by | Jun 2, 2015

Friends, photographers and photoshopers, lend me your vision. I come not to bury Photoshop, nor to praise it.

This battle between software and hardware has raged for 25 years ever since Photoshop was first unleashed upon us unsuspecting photographers. While I admire the many wonderful things Photoshop can do, especially in the hands of a talented designer, it is my opinion, not the ‘be all’ and ‘end all’ of post production photography.

When talking to Photoshop enthusiasts there seems to be a common delusion that Photoshop is the answer to everything.  I’m often reminded of the quote, “If your only tool is a hammer, you see all your problems as nails”.  To me, Photoshop is a very versatile and often useful technical tool. I have both Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS5, both of which I use often, but I find them also useful in as much as they play host to many useful plugins such as the modules from NIK Software and Auto FX Mystical Suite.

When it comes to photography, there are days when I will take my 300mm f2.8 L, along with a 1.4x or a 2x, mounted on my Canon 1D mk III and go for a walk along a woodland trail. There is nothing in Photoshop that can emulate the effects created by this camera/lens combination, nor the experience of being out with mother nature. On other occasions I will put my 11-18mm Tamron on my Canon 5D mk II and wander around downtown. There is nothing in Photoshop that can emulate the intimate relationship with a subject afforded by this camera/lens combination. I will sometimes take my Fuji X-T1 for a walkabout and with the aid of the flip screen take no picture higher than 12” off the ground. There is nothing in Photoshop that can emulate the effects created by this low vantage point. Once in a while I will mount my Sweet 35 Lensbaby/ComposerPRO on my Canon T5i and go out and play, and while the Photoshop advocates may claim to be able to emulate the Lensbaby effects they cannot reproduce the magic of surprise. To para-phrase Forrest Gump – “A Lensbaby is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”, and there isn’t any feature in Photoshop that can emulate a box of chocolates.

Have fun and if in doubt – photograph it.