I never gave this image a second thought when I took it last year in Paris. The RAW file looked boring and there was nothing really happening, but a few months later I glanced at it again and thought about it in black and white. It was a completely different image—or at least it seemed so to me. I thought it might be more interesting if I blurred it a bit. Usually my philosophy about pictures is to not go overboard with Photoshop and over the past few years I developed a few rules to guide me.
- Never add anything that was not originally there
- Never change the lighting or background
- Allow any modifications which were always done with film. (ie. burning, dodging, etc.)
- Allow new modifications such as selective alterations, (blurring, contrast, shadows) because if they were possible when photographers used film, they would have already done so.
- Removal of background objects such as trees, telephone poles, reflections is permissible from time to time as long as it is minor and never noticed.
- No retouching of people’s faces is allowed—ever!
- Cropping? I used to have a problem with it but I have mellowed in my older years. Now its allowed but only subtle small crops to straighten an image of get rid of minor distractions.
Follow these simple guidelines and I can take a good photograph from time to time.