Photo by Scott Bourne - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

When Photoshop 6 lands it’s going to have even more cool tools than before and some of them will help you create the same effects you might get with a tilt/shift lens or a Lensbaby or a super fast lens. There are also several plugins that will do the same thing – I think that’s cool. But I don’t think it’s a substitute for doing it in camera.

Now mind you, I am no in-camera prude. I’m one of those guys who thinks if it starts life in a camera (however it ends up) it’s cool with me. But I also try my best (despite that position) to get it right in the camera. I don’t see those positions being contrary to each other.

One thing I’m certain of is this. For me anyway, it’s easier to compose and think of the shot in the camera than in post. I learned this when I was playing with Lensbaby glass – and then again when shooting with f/1.2 glass and then again when shooting with panoramic cameras rather than just cropping in a pano. I could just “SEE” better as a photographer when it was right there in front of me. New ways of composing pictures presented themselves that I wouldn’t think of in post.

I’ve tried to duplicate in post those things I saw in camera and had some reasonable success. But the problem is that when you’re in the field, you are better suited to find or (SEE) the shot using those tools than you are in post. At least that’s how it is for me.

So if you’re thinking you don’t need that tilt – shift lens because you can blur the background in post – you may be right, but you also may be cheating yourself out of an opportunity to get something better in the field.

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