We all know that there are 2 major steps in producing a great photo. The first is taking the photo and the second is editing it.
When I stated my digital photography journey, the taking of a photo was certainly a lot easier than editing it. Learning how to use your chosen software competently can take a lot of time and effort. I began by getting to grips with Adobe Lightroom and would class myself as pretty proficient with it now. Photoshop on the other hand was something that I couldn’t get to grips with. It was far too complicated.
Then I discovered Raya Pro which is a plug-in for Photoshop that Jimmy McIntyre has produced. Whilst I am still no expert, using photoshop is now firmly in my workflow and through the e-learning that Jimmy provides with his products, I am getting much more confident and competent. I have no doubt that the quality of my work has improved massively as a result.
However, I have just taken a massive step with my editing and it is one which I can't believe that I took years ago. I have no doubt that this is going to totally transform what I am capable of and make things so much easier. I am going to have more control over what I am doing. The end result should be better edited images.
So what have I done? I have replaced my mouse with a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet and pen. When I say replaced my mouse, I mean I have replaced it for everything I do, not just editing. Its a bit like trying to learn to write with my left hand at the moment. It feels really strange, but in the 24 hours that I have had the tablet it is becoming more natural. I took the advice of Nick Page and have put the mouse in a draw so I am not tempted to use it for anything. If after reading this blog, you are tempted to buy a tablet then I would urge you to do the same.
I had heard of Wacom tablets before and in many of the videos that I have watched on editing photos, I have seen the tutors using them. I have been tempted in the past to buy one, but if I am honest, I always put off by the price. Why spend £400 plus on a bit of hardware when my mouse could do the same thing. Earlier in the week, I got one of those annoying yet unavoidable adds appearing in my social media feeds, advertising tablets and I made the best editing mistake of my life by clicking on it. The advert wasn't for the tablet that I bought but it did renew my interest. So, after a quick search on Youtube ( look out for a blog coming soon on who's channel I watch on Youtube and why) the Intuos Pro Medium seemed to be that one that most of my fellow photographers were using.
A quick google search later and I discovered that both Amazon and Agros had them on offer that the moment for £249 which was £90 off the price that other retailers and Wacom themselves were offering the tablet at. A few clicks later, with my bank account a little bit emptier, I had made the purchase.
In this blog, I am not going to tell you about how great the product is, what it can do, how to set it up etc. There is a whole host of reviews and instructions online which do a much better job than I ever could.
What I do want to discuss are my initial thoughts
The two images that you can see above were taken a few days ago, after work on a glorious evening on the North York Moors. The top one was edited on the same evening using my traditional method with the mouse. The second was edited a few minutes ago before I started writing this blog and it is what has prompted me to write it. Now I am sure that some of you will prefer the top image which is absolutely fine. The point that I want to discuss though is the finer details in the image.
Look at the difference in the texture of the sky, especially towards the bottom left. The difference I think is clear to see. The dodging and burning across the whole image is also much more precise. I have been able to make really fine adjustments in targeted areas. The trees in the mid ground are crisper. The whole image in my opinion looks a lot more authentic to what I saw and its a better edit. It has been made so much easier with the pen and tablet. The pen is pressure sensitive, which gives even more control than the mouse. After having the tablet for less than 24 hours, I have to say that I am hooked, amazed and wish that I made made this purchase years ago.
I have the same feeling that I do when I buy a new camera, lens or another piece of kit. It makes you want to go out, finding compositions and get creative. I am sure that I will be out with the camera this week and I looking forward to editing the images. Mind you, the images that I took in Iceland last November will have matured now and it's time that I start editing these properly.
If this has pricked your interest the the link to Argos and Amazon is below. If you do I am sure after 24 hours then you will be as amazed at how the Intuos Pro will change your workflow, as I have been. Let me know if you do or use one already.