Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

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Is Using Photoshop To Post-Process Photos Cheating?

Trifon Anguelov Photography - Octopus Is a photographer using Photoshop to create composite images or alter digital images cheating the viewers?

This is the question which comes so many times on photography related forums and blogs, topic of so many Facebook discussions and debates. I have been hearing this question so many times while talking to photographers and decided that this deserves a dedicated blog entry.

So let’s first start by explaining what the argument seems to be all about. A photographer captures a digital image, then downloads the picture into his/her computer and starts a digital post-processing in Photoshop. This might include replacing the background of the image, adding additional light sources which were not in the original image, removing subjects or objects from the image, adding objects into the image from another image, combining exposures, etc. All form of digital editing used by nowadays photographers.

On one side of the debate there are the so called “purists”: photographers who believe in pure documentary style of photography and that the main purpose of a photographer is to capture the reality unaltered and unmodified. No changes to the digital images after being captured whatsoever. On the other side of the debates are the “artists”: photographers who don’t like to be constrained from what the reality has to offer and like to add their own vision and touch to each image. They believe that reality is fine by itself but the role of the photographer is to use the reality and communicate the photographer’s vision by altering the digital images.

Each side has their logic behind their choices of course. The photojournalists are trained to capture the events as they unfold, set the stage and wait for the moments to happen, communicate the truth about the moment and emotions as they really happened. While the artists are creative minds, which are bored to death to see the same images of the same subjects or objects over and over and need to express themselves, not just capture the reality.
For me, I am more of the mix from both. Capture genuine moments and emotions and use all tools available to enhance the image and bring the viewers attention to the focal point if the image. A picture needs to have a story with both interesting subjects or objects but also with refined post processing to make an impression.

Why I think so. Simple. Ask yourself: Is adding special effects to movie cheating? Don’t we all enjoy the movies with special effects exactly because they invoke certain feelings by enhancing the main story?
Is painting the walls of our homes cheating, or dressing in different clothes every day cheating? We were definitely not born with clothes or our the walls of our homes didn’t come painted with the colors we like. Are women dressing their hair and putting make up cheating? The examples, go on and on.

The point is that photographs need to be genuine and not fake. The photographs are intended to documenting the reality and it is what the photographer should do but in the same time a photographer need to be able to inspire the viewers, provoke their feelings and generate ideas. Adding digital effects or altering digital images is not a sin but a creative process in which the photographer creates their own masterpieces from what seems to be everyday reality. It’s what differentiate one photographer from another photographer. It’s what makes one picture to look different and communicate different ideas from another.

Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Drop me a line in the comments section and if you like this post, share it with your friends so they can also benefit from information.

Written by Trifon Anguelov

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere Wedding and Events Photographer, Mountain View, CA
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The Attention Is The New Currency or How Every Photographer Can Get Attention Nowadays

Clock Photography by Trifon AnguelovNot in the distant feature it used to be that one had to be employed into a large media company to create content, publish it and reach millions of viewers around the world. Images were created by photographers employed by large media companies and their craft was so exclusive and hard to get into that it was a privilege to be an assistant in a dark room and learn from a professional photographer. Apprentices had to be patient and very persistent if they wanted to learn the insights of making photographs.

But no longer this is the case. With the advancements in digital imaging and affordability of digital cameras, nowadays more than ever everyone can be a creator and publisher of digital images. As well everyone can get attention with a digital camera and the world of social media. No longer one has to be an apprentice to learn the craft of photography or post processing. Online video courses, e-books, blogs, forums are offering instant knowledge for the hungry and creative minds around the Globe. Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and many other social networks offer instant sharing of digital images.

Everyone can be a creator and publisher with a push of a button. Everyone can express his ideas and creative vision at any time of the day as long as he learns how to use smartphone or point & shoot camera and has internet access.

Communicating with images also offers lots of freedom. Some ideas are hard to explain and communicate. Visual is the king today. Grab a digital camera and capture the world around you, post it and let people see you. Care for dogs dressed in pink outfits? Well there are just enough people online looking for such pictures and they can give you the attention and appreciation for your eye and images almost instantaneous.

In the World of instant gratification, communicating with images offers instant feedback and appreciation. No matter if you had a bad day at work or receive bad news. Simply snap an amazing picture, upload and get likes which will make you feel better and appreciated. The feeling that someone in the digital world, values your efforts and finds your images interesting enough to comment or like them, is like instant happiness happening every second in some any lives.

So if you feel down or had a bad day, grab a smartphone or P&S camera, find an interesting subject, snap a picture and share it online. The chances that someone would find it interesting and would appreciate your effort is very high. Everyone can be a creator, receive an attention and feel appreciated nowadays.

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.


Trifon Anguelov

Portrait and Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA, 94040

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The Artistic and Commecrial Sides of Photography

IMG_20140124_161352There was an interesting discussion we were having last week with fellow photographers. A fellow photographer posted a wedding image he took last year for his clients and was surprised to find out that one of his artistic images did not get picked and prints ordered from his clients.

So a long discussion started. Many provided reasonable guesses on why the image was not picked but I felt there is more than just selection decision which was on the bottom of this discussion. It was the whole inherited conflict every photographer faces: Satisfy its internal artistic vision or take time to understand client’s needs and deliver images which appeal to each client?

After all how good is an image to a client when is not something he or she likes and feel truly represents their personality and mood.

Not all clients are created or would be the same. Not all clients are artsy natures. And we cannot expect them to be of course. I have found that most of the portraits I take and clients like are about them, their personality and feelings. Clients have a certain perception or would like others to get certain perception of them (happy, thoughtful, serious, funny, silly, etc). Composition, effects and props are tiny-bit of sprinkle but unless the image matches their perception, the image is going to end up on the shelf, not being picked up or ordered.

It does NOT mean is a bad image or one should not take images which clients most likely won’t purchase or like. It does mean, that images focusing on the personality and matching client’s expectations are the one to pay the bill and make a sale. Art is not easy to sell and it doesn’t appeal to all clients neither a photographer should expect to be appealing or always understood.

In regards to the wedding image we were discussing even if the clients are artsy and get the art images, think about their parents, relatives and friends they are going to show their wedding pictures and brag about. Who would want their mom or aunt, making puzzled face and asking: “Honey, did you pay for these pictures? Because I don’t think they are good at all! Why I cannot see your face and why Nik is all blurry? Uncle Frank could have taken better pictures of you and Nik”

It’s a dilemma a photographer has to solve for itself: satisfy its creativity drive or compromise its vision and cater to the commercial aspect of the photography business. That’s the reason why some decide to do photography for fun and follow their heart. Others, take both shots: for sale and for their own creativity needs. But at the end: if photography is ones means of leaving and a photographer doesn’t meet its clients expectations, no matter how much art is produced at the and without adequate sales and client references, the professional career for some could be short lived.

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on social media (links in the top right sideblock of this blog) or check his latest photography projects on his Wedding and Portrait Photography Site

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When Photography Tools Are Not Enough

IMG_20140124_185046Erik Johansson’s “Impossible Photography” talk on TED is both inspiring and stimulating.

A photographer needs to have a vision and come up with a creative idea instead of just trying to be in the right place at the right time. And still, one can ask: What is the right place and what is the right time? Isn’t the right composition, light and camera settings for one completely unappropriated and uninteresting for others?

Is photography just a way to record moments in time and capture composition of random objects aligning in a certain way: sky, clouds, light, shadows, trees and mountains? Or capturing human emotions as they unveil in front of photographer’s camera? What about if there are ideas which cannot be realistically captured with a lens and a camera? How can they be implemented and shared so others can visualize them as well?

Erik’s talk provide some of the answers examples of his work. Creating very realistically looking composite images is not easy but when done skillfully it really opens one eyes to new possibilities. After all, when all tools are equal, the imagination and vision is what can set one apart of the pack.

To watch “Impossible Photography” talk visit TED’s site:

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on social media (links in the top right sideblock of this blog) or check his latest photography projects on his Wedding and Portrait Photography Site