My Analogue Life: Please Don’t Fix It In Post


If we don’t talk about it, maybe it doesn’t really exist. But we all know it does, so perhaps it’s better to get it out in the open, to be grown-ups about it, to share. I’ll go first and admit to occasional cropping and removing annoying dust particles from scans. And I’ll tell you that my biggest pet-peeve is the term “digital cross-processing” because it’s such a blatant oxymoron. But I’ll also say that my life is so much easier thanks to the Adobe Creative Suite software.

It’s a love-hate thing. I love Dreamweaver for making websites and InDesign for doing page layout. And that little clone stamp in Photoshop is genius for removing those pesky specs of dust that appear on my scans no matter what I do to avoid them. Post-production is a sticky subject in the analogue photography world and everyone operates according to an individual code of ethics.

Most of us would rather be shooting than sitting in front of a computer screen trying to recreate the effects that our plastic cameras give us naturally. There is software that mimics Polaroid and Holga images. There are lenses to use with fancy digital SLRs that produce fake toy camera shots. And then there’s the hyper-stylized HDR, which is so often abused and ugly that I don’t want to discuss it at all. People spend countless hours and dollars attempting to get their digital images to look like film and it makes me wonder why these digital junkies don’t just pick up a cheap film camera and a handful of film. But it also makes me question why any analogue shooter would ever want to go rogue and digitally doctor their analogue photographs.

But it happens. Maybe it’s too easy and once a person starts making a little tweak here and another there, it snowballs into all-out Photoshop madness. I sometimes mess around with the colour and contrast levels on shots, but I’ve never been able to get it to look better than what I captured on film and end up not saving the changes. But I recognize the slippery slope and understand how simple it would be to slide all the way down.

The relationship between the analogue and digital photography world is tentative, tenuous and sometimes outright hostile. Many of us use digital cameras and phone cameras “on the side,” to take those practical I-need-it-right-now photos, but it’s what we do — or don’t do — with our film prints and negatives that counts. So let’s each do our part to keep the realities of analogue photography real.

What’s your do-not-cross line when it comes to digital post-production? Share your shots and stories with me!

Pamela Klaffke is a former newspaper and magazine journalist who now works as a novelist and photographer. Her column appears weekly in the Analogue Lifestyle section of Lomography Magazine.

written by pamelaklaffke on 2010-09-29 #lifestyle #parrot #holga-cfn #fuji-astia-100 #pamela-klaffke


  1. plainjane
    plainjane ·

    another amazine feature!
    well put pam

  2. stouf
    stouf ·

    A necessary reflexion indeed ! Thanks Pamela ! We are all playing with digitalized analogue photos. So we're stuck with 'what the scanner thinks is right'. For instance, when you scan negative film, there's an algorithm applied by the scanner to invert your photo, and things can go wrong there... In fact I always notice that my scans of slides are less fluctuating than my negatives. About this matter, and how to use it at your advantage:…

  3. cubilas
    cubilas ·

    I guess it already starts when you let your lab scan your negatives or do it yourself... How can you say it produces the same results as when you would print it in an analog lab. And the scans of the same film might differ between scanners and labs, same with prints (analog/digital).

    Sometimes I use Photoshop to fool around with colours, curves and, like you said, kick out ugly spots and dust particles. Occasionally a mask. Especially with crossed film it's difficult to say what's right or wrong, there's just no such thing. Be it a scanner, a printer or an enlarger, there are endless of possibilities and outcomes. I use Photoshop as I would use a darkroom. Nothing's really changed, instead of light and something to mask you use a mouse and software. It's an 'artistic' process. But feel free to disagree, I'm neither right nor wrong.

  4. a_lion
    a_lion ·

    I personally enjoy analogue photography because it is a release from perfectionism- I set the scene, I take a photograph, and I see what comes out of the other end, and it is what it is!
    With digital manipulation, the scope is endless, and there will always be an element of 'could I do something to make it look better'? for a control-freak, this is very stressful!
    Analogue and LoFi is more about incidentals, happy coincidences, and suprises. It's the difference between writing an exact Christmas list, and getting what you want, or waiting for those suprise, and sometimes awesome/awful presents!

  5. basho
    basho ·

    I was going to comment, but "a_lion" has really said it all. I couldn't add anything. Great post btw...

  6. tiro8
    tiro8 ·

    great column! i agree with @a_lion that it's nice to be set free of the endless digital manipulation cycle.
    in cambodia, where i currently live, i face an added dilemma when i have my shots scanned at a local lab. the labs here aren't professional and my scans always look manipulated (as well as dusty and finger-printed) even when i request no manipulation.
    for an example, look at some of the shots in my recent locations article (…).
    so do i throw them into photoshop and try to return them to how i'm guessing an accurate scan would look? so far, i've decided not to, i'm just going to go with the flow of the local labs and live with what they provide; it's part of the adventure. but ironically, i'll bet non-manipulation purists hate my photos for it.

  7. rav_bunneh
    rav_bunneh ·

    For the images I post here on Lomography there is very little that I'll do. But I'm happy to share how I edit to get my analog images digital. Obviously step one is to scan the photos. Then the most I'll do is adjust colors and levels if the scan doesn't match the actual polaroid. Besides that I may use the heal tool if a speck is really bugging me, if not I leave it.

  8. pamelaklaffke
    pamelaklaffke ·

    plainjane: thanks — i'm glad you like the column!
    stouf: you're right about all of us being at the mercy of our labs & scanners. i find that i get a much more accurate scan if i scan a print rather than the neg, especially with cross-processed images. (and thanks for the link!)
    cublias: it is indeed a personal decision as to what you will and will not do digitally to your photographs. i personally prefer the challenge of in-camera or alternative processing effects to anything photoshop can do. i guess it also depends on how a person defines "analogue." if an image is heavily manipulated i'd say it has more in common with a digital photograph rather than an strictly analogue one.
    a_lion: ditto as to what basho said. much of the appeal for me as well with film photography is the surprises and imperfections it yields.
    tiro8: that sucks about your lab/scanning situation. like i wrote above in reference to stouf's comment, i find that a lot of the time i get the best scans when i do it from a print that was developed directly from the negative. it's a more time-consuming and expensive process, but i manage to avoid the weird over-correction you get from a lot of lab scans.
    rav_bunneh: i think that a lot of us are striving for what you are: to make the scanned image actually match the photograph itself. my one weakness is definitely specks of dust, though. they just drive me crazy!

  9. eringreif
    eringreif ·

    I generally edit the crap out of my digital photos but I don't do anything with my analog photos other than cropping. I might adjust the colors or something if I felt the need to, but that's about as far as I'll go.

  10. leandro14
    leandro14 ·

    Like Cubilas said above, I'm more in the camp that if you can do the same thing you would do in the darkroom in photoshop, then thats ok. For those who have never been in a darkroom, there are lots of choices/options when it comes to your prints. That's not even counting your film/processing options. Its just happens to be easier in photoshop. Its never, shoot this, processed, print once and your done. Its a process no matter what. I think you have to compensate for the scanner, which means a little level adjust, color balance and removing dust and a little sharpen. That doesn't even take into account if you get prints made whether from your printer or a lab. To do absolutely nothing is an option of course and you're relying on the lab or the scanner to decide for you an that might be the process that works for some. For me, its a balance of control and letting go.

  11. vikingprincess
    vikingprincess ·

    I think it's an interesting question. I guess the difference between a darkroom and photoshop (etc) is that (almost) everyone has a computer and photo editing software... even in the hey-day of analogue, people still relied on shops to develop their film, so it was never in their control.

    For me, I am willing to do whatever it takes to make the photo look good in my eyes. I find that most photos, either lofi digital or analogue, look over exposed to me, so I play with the colour balance and the contrast etc, until I'm happy with the shot. As often as not I end up leaving the image without saving any changes, but I don't know that's good enough, until I've tried photo editing.

    Basically, I don't think I've drawn that line though... that being said, I HATE the apps that instantaneously turn a digital into a lomo-like shot... they just seem like cheating.

  12. paramir
    paramir ·

    thank you Pamela for raising this subject, wich, as you said, is probably buzzing somewhere in all of our heads...
    the subject just came to front-stage for just now, as I just got myself a scanner finally. To be honest, I have my doubts if it was such a good idea at the moment... :) well, it will save me a lot of money, that's for sure, but having the lab scanning my film sort of realeases me moraly from this subject of manipulations... but it also made me realise that there is nothing like "as it really is" in the film scanning world, which basically means that I am facing the manipulation issue weather I like it or not. and I wonder if there ever was something like that, in the darkroom. after reading a book about the subject I understood that a good darkroom workflow includes color corrections and masking, burning and dodging... basically just the same as Photoshop offers us these days, just not as easy. I want to have to do as little as possible digital manipulation on my photos, but there is no way around it, so it seems. I am still looking for some reading material on scanning workflows with my Epson V500, and hope to find my way to get satisfactory images with as little as possible fiddling around...

  13. biergoggles
    biergoggles ·

    Great article. My general rule of thumb is one that was ingrained in me from film school - get it right the first time so you don't have to do heavy editing, which I apply to my digital work too. It may seem in contrast to Lomography's rule #6, 8 & 9 but the way I approach is from the very basics, outdoor-slow speed film?, indoor-do I need a flash?, focus at least in the correct range? After that (as mention by other commenters) I ask myself "what would I do in the darkroom?" which usually leads me to 3 things; exposure "correct", does it need contrast, and do I need to tweak the color. Most of those things are usually very minor and then I leave as is.

  14. tallyho
    tallyho ·

    Great and much-needed article, Pamela! a_lion, I totally agree with you. Paramir, I will probably be taking the scanner plunge sooner or later. It sounds like a challenge - maybe you should write an article about your experience with it!
    As for myself, I have cropped one image. That's it! I spend enough time in front of a computer - at work or at home - that I'm excited to have the chance to think things out and try to get things right while I'm behind the camera (or make interesting "mistakes"). If I didn't get the exposure right, if I underestimated the power of the flash and the distance, if the film didn't advance perfectly, so be it. I'm more likely to get it right - or at least closer to right (assuming there is a "right") - next time. What can I say? I like a challenge!
    But like lo-fi music, this is also somewhat a function of working with limited resources: an old laptop and no Photoshop. Am I working this way because of the tools (or lack thereof) I'm using or because I like the aesthetic? Both.

  15. dialekte
    dialekte ·

    agree with cubilas, i also use photoshop like a darkroom on negatives...

  16. discodrew
    discodrew ·

    This is a nod to a_lion. I also like the release from perfection that Lomography gives me. I found that I was taking 'perfect' and sterile digital photographs and tweeking everything about them on photoshop. A good picture used to be crystal clear, well croped and with the right light etc etc but wasn't creative. I lost my eye for taking a good picture too as I always knew that if it wasn't quite right I could fix it later. Now I work harder at taking pictures and find it a lot more rewarding.

  17. nicolas_noir
    nicolas_noir ·

    In the last few months I've started scanning in my own negatives and have found I get much more satisfying results than I got with prints. The scanning work flow is to use Silver Fast, mark the frame, preform scratch and dust removal, auto levels and scan as transparancy. I then use Photoshop to invert the image and if I feel that contrast, etc, is off I adjust the colour levels slighty. I'll straighten and crop, but I don't go over the top with filters, etc. Like others, I use Photoshop as I would a darkroom. I try and produce a digital image that best reflects the negative, but it seems a bit pointless having the benefit of a scanner to still get lab prints to compare to, but equally it's hard to know what the negative "should" look like! All photography is lying really though!

  18. pamelaklaffke
    pamelaklaffke ·

    eringreif: it sounds like you've found a good balance between your analogue and digital work, which is cool.
    leandro14 & dialekte: i totally get the rationale of using photoshop for whatever you could do in a darkroom. it's not for me, personally, as i'd rather spend as little time as possible sitting in front of a computer playing around with my pictures (but that's just me :) ).
    vikingprincess: you're right about the fact that the process has always been out of our control to some degree. and like you, i'm not into those apps at all. it has never made sense to me to generate digital images that "fake" being analogue.
    paramir: in my experience, scanners are all different, but i've had the best results when there's the option to "turn off" any corrections or effects. and i'm with you on doing as little as possible to my images.
    biergoggles: i'm like you with the "get it right the first time" philosophy. i do love the accidents, but when i have a shoot planned, i give a lot of consideration to what camera/accessories/film/lighting i'm going to use.
    tallyho: the challenge is the thing with me, too. i know tons of people who have the same kind of passion for using photoshop, but like i mention in the column — i'd rather be shooting than sitting in front of a computer. (and wow — only one cropped image — that's really impressive. i still can't resist the occasional use of the crop tool!).
    discodrew: "release from perfection" is a great way of putting it! and i've found that taking analogue photographs definitely keeps my "eye" fresh, too.
    nicolas_noir: thanks for the info about Silver Fast — i'll check it out. i still like having prints of many of my shots, tough — even if it has become quite an archive. i think it's also a tactile thing with me. i like something to exist beyond the computer screen. i'm a bit of freak that way!

  19. grus74
    grus74 ·

    Don't know how long I've had my LC-A but it's at least over nine years since I have photos from new years eve 00/01 taken with it in front of me right now. I've taken hundreds and hundreds of photos with it through the years and except for a very few "happy misstakes" I've never been able to get the fabled vignetting that's one of the trademarks of the "Lomo-style". This has always made me wonder how everybody else seems to be able to get them all the time? Digitaly? Honestly? Yes, I do belive so in many cases. Good or bad? I don't care. No rules!

  20. fivedayforecast
    fivedayforecast ·

    Think truly I controll myself from doing anything outside of the actual scanning process. I have a pretty basics scanner that has the six color keys and density parameters. I really only use those if the photo is really far off and I think I can salvage those shots. As for dust scratches! I think now that I've started scanning and developing my own work, I see them so much that I've almost become immune to those pesky scratches. And now that I've got my LC-A by my side, I've been shooting so many pictures that I havent had the time to even think about editing them!

    Although with that said, if I'm professionally presenting my photos in a gallery or resurant, I'll remove dust marks mostly because they are much more visible in a large format. When I print out my 14x14 holga shots, I usually allow myself to clean up a dust spot here or there tha would usually go unnoticed.

  21. eva_eva
    eva_eva ·

    so true!!

  22. kdstevens
    kdstevens ·

    Great article and something that really should be exposed to the light of day. I'm an old film and chemicals photographer who turned to digital and, recently, back to film. But with a difference: all of my film is scanned and any "darkroom" work is done in Photoshop. As many have commented the scanner is interpreting the image--there really isn't a "real" image. But guess what? It's the same with the wet darkroom. Different color filter packs, different contrast paper, different exposure times, different chemistry, different agitation techniques, different brands of paper, not to mention dodging, burning, unsharp masks, etc. And don't even mention the hours spent with a spotting brush eliminating dust spots. And then there's toning and special effects like solarization. So the rule I live by is that anything I would normally do in the wet darkroom is fair for the digital. MY workflow starts with Levels where I correct the Whitepoint and Blackpoint from those my scanner provided. Then I usually apply Auto Color, I almost always remove dust and scratches using the Healing Brush or sometimes the Clone Tool, and, because all of this degrades the digital file, I apply a little of Unsharp Mask. So this is where my line is and I am perfectly comfortable with it. It wasn't always so and, embarrassingly, some of my early work with Lomography coincided with my exploring PS and some of its plug-ins and I, quite frankly, went over the line and some of the images are still shown at my home:

  23. coldkennels
    coldkennels ·

    I think most of us are in the same boat: We either scan from lab-produced prints and leave it as that (which is how all my first rolls were handled) or scan the negs and adjust colour balance manually. I was resistant to any kind of colour editing at first, but when I first started scanning cross-processed negs, I really realized just how much labs automatically colour balance. If you scan from lab prints, or get lab scans with your developing, a LOT of colour balancing and exposure control has already occurred to get what they think is the 'best' possible shot. It was x-pro shots that first showed this to me; my lab prints were coming back muted and odd. I never got the wild colours I was expecting. Home scans, meanwhile, were overly saturated with one particular colour. It seems to me that the 'best' x-pro shots actually sit between the two; rather than go with what the scanner thinks is best, whether in the lab or at home, a bit of colour correction has to happen somewhere. Elitechrome is the worst for this, in my opinion; left to its own devices, it makes EVERYTHING blue. But if you add a bit of yellow tint in iPhoto, suddenly you end up with a much more approachable shot - which isn't much different from what a (good) lab tech would do before he produced your print.

    Just because you don't see it happening, doesn't mean it isn't there.

  24. coldkennels
    coldkennels ·

    As an example, here's an album I knocked together:…

    There's 5 different photos, all on Elitechrome, each one presented with a ''pure'' (i.e. straight from the scanner/lab) version, and a ''corrected'' version. It's worth noting that the ones from the lab prints (the two fisheyes and the Diana Mini) were much, much bluer pre-edit than the Smena homescanned shots, and I've not taken anything like as much time to balance them. But have a look through, and see which you actually prefer.

  25. pamelaklaffke
    pamelaklaffke ·

    grus74: in regards to the vignetting, i've definitely found that it depends on the camera. i have several holga cfns, for instance, and some vignette and some don't. if i really want that effect with a camera that doesn't do it naturally, i just use a flash in daylight or a well-lit interior with low-speed, high-saturation film. i don't know if a lot of people are digitally vignetting their images or not, but it's never occurred to me until now that they would since i've had so many cameras that just do it.
    fivedayforecast: i agree that removing dust, etc., is crucial for shows or selling prints, and think it's great that you've chosen to really limit any post you do beyond scanning.
    eva_eva: thanks!
    kdstevens: i think it's natural to want to experiment with new software if only to see what it can and cannot do. and the step-by-step info about your process is really interesting. i'm always curious as to what and how other people do things. (and i absolutely love your redscale image:!
    coldkennels: i know exactly what you mean about the overpowering blues you can get when cross-processing elitechrome (especially the really low-speed stuff). i always get my lab to turn the colour-correction off entirely when processing my film and/or prints and the difference is striking. still, we all have to rely on labs and scans to some extent and i everyone is dealing with a different situation, particularly if they aren't lucky enough to have a pro lab in their area. and i have to say that the album you put together is really awesome — everyone should check it out. it gives a great visual to go along with everything being discussed here. thanks so much for doing that — i'm sure it will also help a lot of people out who are new to the analogue xpro world understand just what the heck we're going on about!

  26. emilios
    emilios ·

    Personally I dont know how to use photoshop. The closest I have ever been to editing something was with Microsoft Paint but that was like a decade ago. Dont know if its because of dyslexia but i just refused to learn. However, this stand has subconsciously made me asking my lab to never, edit or remove dust or particles from my negatives. Its just the way the picture came out and thats it. Maybe its because i never had an exhibition nor sold any of them, but i do understand why people do it.
    Even now that I started scanning my own negatives, i just leave them the way they are. Maybe its the charm of the picture. Or the fact that when I use a 50-60 year old camera, I just want to have the "analogous" result. Bottom line is that theres no better medium than film to capture what your eyes and feelings see. And it should stay as it is.

  27. nacarilegea
    nacarilegea ·

    I find this discussion really interesting. As @emilios, I am not very good at photoshop and I get sick with all the controls, layers ... It is true also that on my old laptop, which has lost half of its RAM memory... you can get desperate to edit a single image!
    So, usually I just leave pics as they come from the lab, also because the scanned versions are close to the printed ones.
    For the old rolls I am scanning recently I also use Silver Fast (as someone above) with no color corrections but usually allowing the sw to invert the image as you can select the film it was used. Then I use Irfanview (which is a fast and simple sw) to adjust the gamma correction, rotate the image if necessary and convert it to jpg. However, it is true that for xpro is not that easy, and I had a kind of nightmare with an expired and xpro film (the one of my avatar) the prints were all yellowish-orange, but the scanner gave almost no contrast and I tried hard to arrive to the same colours of the printed copies with different sw. As I didn't manage to match them I edited each image until I felt I liked the pic and that's all!
    Anyway, I think it's not because of morals that I don't edit too much my photos, it has more to do with lazyness, lack of time or that I don't feel I need it. I do believe there is nothing to blame about heavily photoshopped photos; at the end there are lots of tools analogical and digital you can use, each one should select the ones that fit his/her better and allows being more creative!

  28. pietrone
    pietrone ·

    If i want digital photo i use a digital camera, i don't use digital anymore because i found digital a little boring (usefull but boring and i do the the click click move only for hobby and not for work). Personally i don't do digital editing on my scans (even if i know that the scanner does some editing...); i only remove dust speks becuse they don't belong to the negative (i hope...) and i hate them. Great article!!!!!!!! and great contributions from the lomo people out there

  29. mikahsupageek
    mikahsupageek ·

    great article pam, nice to see everynes opinion on the matter. On my end, yeah I've met these questions when I came accross with the difference between scanning the negs or slides directly with a backlighting scanner and scanning the photos printed straight from the lab. I finnaly ended up telling myself that the difference between the lab prints and the scan of my slides isn't that big, so I just decided to stick to the scanning with my scanner on it's default preset, but I'd like to thank stouf for his tip on how to balance out the backlighting better =)

  30. pamelaklaffke
    pamelaklaffke ·

    emilios: sometimes, i wish i hadn't learned photoshop, but in my former life as a newspaper/magazine writer & editor, i didn't have much of a choice. i think it's great that your convictions are so strong about leaving things as-is and your point that "there's no better medium than film to capture what your eyes and feelings see" than with film is so true!
    nacarilegea: cross-processed negs can indeed be tricky. i once had them scanned at my lab and everything was cast in a heavy pink tone even though that's not what the actual negs looked like (sort of like your "yellow-orange" experience, i imagine. and great point about everyone choosing to use or not use the tools that make them most creative!
    pietrone: you're not alone in finding digital boring these days — it's a sentiment i hear a lot, which is kind of great because it means more people are discovering the lomo/analogue world and getting really excited about it.
    mikahsupegeek: thanks — i'm glad you like the column! i've found, too, that slides and prints don't usually result in drastically different scans. when i worked in media we used slide scanners exclusively for years and got better results than flatbed neg scans: a night-and-day difference, in fact!

  31. emma_voodoo
    emma_voodoo ·

    To say that we don't want anything to do with the digital world, is false.
    Every image on this site, (and on the internet for that matter) is only a digital copy. The internet isn't tangible, so I don't understand why we complain so much about digital photographs being intangible. I feel sometimes that Lomography endorses scanners and other digital technologies more than real analogue lovers do. It doesn't feel like "True analogue soul." Personally I like to hold a camera in my hands, not a computer.
    As Kdstevens pointed out, both darkroom and scanning techniques are subjective. So I'm not saying that scanning your negatives is cheating the analogue way of doing things completely. If its real, its not always going to be perfect. Thats why some photographs are better than others. Not every photograph we take and share with the world has to be our complete best. Once we realize this, then photoshop doesn't seem to be a necessity anymore. (But Like you said in the article, Clone-stamp is my friend)

  32. kdstevens
    kdstevens ·

    One last thought: your scanning software is extremely important. I was one of the beta testers for the Spinner 360 and was having real problems scanning with exposed sprocket holes until somebody turned me on to VueScan from It cuts through a lot of crap and allows you to select an area in the scan that should be read as neutral. So I usually click on an area on the image of the film holder or in a sprocket hole, areas I know should be pure white or pure black, and everything just falls into place. Do that on the first image in the roll you are scanning, then lock Image Color, then lock Film Base Color and scan the rest of the roll. You can download a trial version as I recall. Forgive me if this seems too much like spam but I am forever grateful to the guy who turned me on to this.

  33. ricah_018
    ricah_018 ·

    i took up toy camera photography because of how carefree it can get. for me, the pictures don't need to be perfect. actually, there is no technical definition for a perfect picture here. the picture, for me, is created the single moment the shutter clicks, no worries about post-processing or anything else. i don't have a scanner, a darkroom, and i have removed photoshop from my laptop, so that leaves me much less to think about, and that's what i think is great about this. it sets me a lot of limitations, true, but i am one to believe that creativity can also come from having to work around your limitations.

  34. ipdegirl
    ipdegirl ·

    I don't have the time or patience to do much more than edit out the dust or adjust the lighting. My rule is if I couldn't do it in the darkroom than I won't do it in post-production. I don't own PS either. I use the simple editor that's in iPhoto.

  35. tallyho
    tallyho ·

    @coldkernels: your set was a very useful reference!
    @ricah_108: well said! Limitations force you to think creatively. I think that gets to the heart of what lo-fi photography is all about!

  36. sakanami
    sakanami ·

    Somehow, I'd like to believe that minimal editing is alright even after scanning the negatives. The creative process doesn't just end with shooting from your film camera. Like Photoshop, the darkroom works the same as we can do endless possibilities in developing and processing our photographs. I myself do occasionally take out dust particles and fix the contrast to get the correct color contrast and whites in Photoshop (since my scanner gets dusty all the time and produces low contrast scans - whites becoming gray, etc) but of course being a lazy person that I am, as much as I can, I don't edit them anymore.

    There's nothing wrong with fixing minor scruples, and we shouldn't shun the digital world altogether. Film and digital photography should always go hand in hand as there are some things that each can and can't do.

    As for editing, it's just overdone post processing defeats the purpose of why you're shooting with film in the first place. Better if you actually don't touch it after being scanned, but even if you do, it shouldn't be condemned. :)

  37. leandro14
    leandro14 ·

    pamelaklaffke - thats just it, its not about spending all this time in photoshop and playing. Its doing what would be needed, no layers or filters or anything like that. I'm talking 15+ minutes to adjust for levels, color, clean dust and sharpen. Thats it. I don't like spending a lot of time in photoshop either. The picture taking moment is the part that I feel is where you are free to do whatever and let go and experience the moment, but its getting that image back and then into cyberspace that requires doing the image justice for how it felt at the time of capture. Film holds a lot of information, and if you ever get something scanned with a really true high end scanner, you really don't have to adjust much. Then again, even with a newer decent scanner, you don't have to adjust much (especially if the exposure is good).

  38. grus74
    grus74 ·

    I belive it's stuff like this that makes post processing such a debated topic:…

    Anyone of us has a snapshot with the same "quality" as the original lying around. Just Photoshop the hell out of it and go and win some photo competition. Makes me kind of sad that whenever I see a good photo nowadays I just wave it away with a "yeah, whatever, I got Photoshop too".

    But that's creating too. And why shouldn't you be able to create in that way? The new/disqualified picture in the link above is a good picture and I like it. But still I feel cheated. I think it all boils down to the fact that in this day and age when everything can be copied, downloaded and modified to whatever you want in the matter of seconds the notion of something being "original" or "untouched" or "authentic" is almost like a holy grail and that starts controversys.

  39. pamelaklaffke
    pamelaklaffke ·

    emma_voodoo: great post — it really sums up the debate! no matter what technologies come our way, each person is going to have their own interpretation as to what to they feel comfortable doing in post and what they don't.
    kdstevens: thanks for the additional tips! i have a spinner 360 on its way to me and it's super-helpful to have some idea how to handle it in post.
    ricah_018: i agree with your point about limitations enhancing creativity. some people are most creative when the parameters are limitless, but i'm definitely one of those people who thrives under the challenge of a set of rules, whether they be personally imposed or some kind of professional guidelines for a specific assignment or what-have-you.
    ipdegirl: i don't think i've ever used my iphoto software, but maybe i'll give it a try next time around instead of my usual photoshop cropping/dust-removal routine!
    tallyho: you're right on both counts!
    sakanami: you're made some excellent points! i don't think anyone is being condemned. i think it's more of an agree-to-disagree situation in regards to the different opinions and practices discussed here. but personally, i believe that any over-the-top post-processing does defeat the purpose of shooting analogue, just as you said.
    leandro14: it's great that you're not spending a lot of time in photoshop (that wasn't so clear in your first post). there are many people that do and enjoy it, but like i said in response to emma_voodoo, everyone has their own sort-of "code" as to what they will or will not do in post. and as you put it in your initial comment, for you it's a "balance of control and letting go." well put.

  40. pamelaklaffke
    pamelaklaffke ·

    grus74: thanks for the link! very interesting. in competition situations like that, we rely so much on the honor system. when there are 'no photoshop' rules layed out, there are always going to be people who break them. it's more serious of course when it's a photojournalism contest, since beyond the contest rules, there is an overlying code of ethics news journalists and photojournalists are expected to follow in regards to what's "real." like you, i think the disqualified photograph is good, but it didn't belong in that particular competition. people can get creative in post if that's their thing, for sure, but i guess like many lomography members, i'm striving more for that elusive holy grail you mention!

  41. photolane
    photolane ·

    I use Paint Pro "clone" to rid my scans of imperfections from the scan itself. I do admit I have used the "time machine" to turn some of my prints into "crossed process" but only if it adds to the colors already present in the pic. Thats the most I have done. I refrain myself from "fixing" anything most of the time since what I love about using my plastic cameras is not using all the "rules" of photography and getting a "what you see is what you get" sort of outcome. I could never use a "diana lens" on my Canon EOS! That to me feels like blasphemy! It doesn't seem pure.

  42. almar
    almar ·

    I usually stick to cropping/levelling and removing redeye. When I scan negatives myself then also dust removal if necessary. I LOVE people who cross process their film and then 'auto white balance' the shit out of the photos... I don't think they get the general lomo-idea :)

  43. marshall4480
    marshall4480 ·

    Perfect imperfections. Here are a few links that I think you guys will like on two photographers/Artists.

    Tichy loved the imperfections and flaws. Tichy was a photographer that used home-made cameras in many of his photos. He thought that the more flawed and distorted the photo the better.
    Gehard Richter turned a lot of his photos into paintings. Distorting many of them because he wanted us to realize that when trying to recreate reality that it would never be perfect.

  44. ftaforever
    ftaforever ·

    Sadly, I think it took me about 5 hours just to figure out how to crop and rotate images in photoshop. I think being proficient at PS is an art form in and of itself but it isn't analog and it doesn't really keep in the spirit of what we do here. I'll never knock anybody for expressing themselves though. As long as someone isn't trying to fake the funk with PhotoShop, I say good on you. @ Photolane: You hit the nail right on the head:)

  45. fash_on
    fash_on ·

    About 2 years ago I got fed up with scanning since it seemed to be the same as doing Photoshop on the negatives/slides. Now I take most of my films (35mm anyway) to the mini-lab and get a CD of jpegs with the negatives. For me this is more truly analog, like the old days, than self-scanning. I sometimes do a slight crop if I think the pic needs it, but rarely and usually only about 10%. If I find some dust in my mini-lab scans I do usually remove it. Always, I'm working on capturing a photo at the time of pressing the shutter, I too prefer in-camera techniques over any post-production. Photoshop when done well (check out is more illustration than photography, but the lines are blurred because analog art photographers can produce very painterly images by use of toy cams and film techniques (see here: Unfortunately a lot of digital people assume these are the result of Photoshop and try to emulate them.

  46. frilly
    frilly ·

    To be honest I'm really suprised at the amount of people who say they use photoshop. Isn't it the point of using toy cameras to get the imperfections and the not knowing what they'll turn out like? For me PERSONALLY i dont see the point in trying the recreate all of the lovely "happy accidents" that you get by using a programme like PS. Sitting infront of a computer screen messing about with colour balance, contrast etc... takes away from what Lomo is. From me taking the photo, to the way in which the lab develop it is all part of the analog experience and i love it!!!

More Interesting Articles