Will we ever be able to be great at Photography??? / by Leroy Mikell

3 light set and grey backdrop.  You can see a background light creating a gradient a Key light creating a paramount light fall and a fill light simply filling in the shadows.

You may not know I am a masters candidate at a little school in Syracuse New York.  My issue one that I took the time to open discussion about last lecture was the will of the photographer to get things right on set way before opening editing software.  I use editing software because I don't want any problems from big corporations.  But I think we all know what programs I am referring to.

To set up the situation I was asking a question about getting a deeper black background while in the studio.  The instructor proceeded to show me how to achieve it in a few short steps in Pho... I mean the editing software...  and remarked your exposure was dead on!  I was officially confused because dead on accuracy requires no kind of Kentucky Windage.  

The answer I received is indicative of the photo industry right now.  While I did have all the information on my histogram in the right place and I metered the scene the way I was taught it still could have been better and I wanted to know how.  I inquired if I should drop the power on the lights illuminating my backdrop or if I should change a setting on my camera as a way to fix the issue.  Again you did everything correctly... Again I am confused because I just watched you "fix it" in the software.  This went on for a few more minutes until I got the answer I wanted to hear.  "I think you should always shoot tethered to a computer when in the studio" he says.  

This answer pleased me because I realized I could do everything in my power to get it perfect on my histogram and then a simple spot check on a monitor would allow me to fine tune further.  I think this is something the professionals know and put into practice religiously.  

The moral of my story is there is no amount of tuition that will make me a great photographer.  I need to do the work it takes to become the best.  No amount of retouching will make your technique better.  I am not against software and magic but I am against the lifeline it is providing to those unwilling to work on their work.