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Photoshop can't replace good photography

George Constanza’s confidence in Photoshop was the beginning of his downfall in this classic Seinfeld episode.

Q: I know the photo I sent our designers isn’t great, but can’t they just Photoshop it?

A.Photoshop is an impressive and useful tool, but it cannot be used in place of good photography. Designers can use Photoshop to do things such as lightening a dark image or making someone’s skin look clearer. They cannot use Photoshop to change a person’s clothing or hairstyle. And it would look unnatural to add someone to a group photo who was not originally there.

For proof, recall the episode of Seinfeld in which George Costanza asks the camera shop guy to remove him from a group photo. Unfortunately, he removes George’s boss instead. George then tries to get a new photo of his boss with the exact same lighting and camera angle as in the original photo. This proves so difficult that George is left with no choice but to substitute a drawing of his boss.

While that is funny in a sitcom, it won’t get any laughs from your real-world boss. Get a good quality photo taken to begin with and you won’t have to worry. Photoshop is capable of minor enhancements – not magic!

Things Photoshop cannot fix:

Shot framing. If someone’s arm is cropped out of the photo, Photoshop can’t add it back in. When taking photos, zoom out a bit to leave space around your subject. Photoshop can always zoom in on an image, but it can’t zoom out.

Out of focus. If the subject is fuzzy or blurry, Photoshop cannot bring it into crisp focus. If you want to blur out an area, Photoshop can do that. But if something must be clear, make sure it is in focus when the photo is taken.

Lack of imagination. If you want a well thought out, carefully planned and engaging photo, hire a professional photographer. Photoshop filters and “artsy” cropping cannot create the same interest and effect that a skilled photographer can.