Friday, January 25, 2008

So I'm a Pixel Jockey for a living...

Basically what that means is I spend a lot of my time color editing and retouching images for the magazines that my place of work produces. Overall I LOVE my job. I get to play in Photoshop most of the time. I love Photoshop. I'm also starting to do a little photography for the company too. This is new ground for me... but I'm enjoying the journey so far.

There's a few things that I don't love, however.

The downside to this job is I end up having to deal with a lot of client provided images. While a good deal of them are just fine, especially after a few tweakings in color and a few hits of the healing brush, there are... disasters.

I don't know if it is because the account reps are clueless on what to tell the clients to give us, or if the clients are just clueless even after instruction, but I have to deal with nightmares like...

-the client just asking us to 'pull an image off the web and use it blown up to 300%'
Ok, first of all... we're dealing with a serious resolution issue here. Web images are generally 72 ppi (pixels per inch) where printed images need to run at about 300ppi to print decently. Blowing up the 72ppi image (usually a greatly compressed jpeg) and then adding in resolution to compensate = BAD IMAGE!

-badly retouched images. Call me cranky, but some people should not be allowed to have Photoshop on their computer. Ever. Blast me all you like on this, tell me I started from the beginning too. I agree and some of my early stuff is scary. But it didn't get sent to a publishing company with the expectation of it going to print. If you have aspirations to being a Photoshop junkie... that's GREAT! But please, for the love of Jon Knoll... LEARN the program!

-badly retouched images by professional photographers. Please, if you are a digital photographer, learn as much as you can about Photoshop, especially if you are sending your work to be used in a publication. I can't tell you how many times I've had to fix really bad edits done by decent photographers. Hey, look at it this way... I'm a Photoshop user learing about photography... I know photographpers can learn to use Photoshop. Or please trust me with your images to make them the best they can look if you aren't comfortable with the software. I can do it, really.

- Images taken from high end, RAW capable cameras, but sent to me as a low end jpeg. I mean, what the hell? If you have a Canon EOS 40d and you are taking pictures for me to put in your magazine...SEND ME THE RAW FILES!!!! I can make your images look so much better if I can take the editing from the very beginning. Otherwise I have to undo all the bad that you did (if I can), which takes more time.

-Pictures taken with dirty lenses. For God's Sake...CLEAN YOUR LENS!!!! Nothing like having to clean up a dirty, smudgy picture because somebody couldn't be bothered to take a bit of lens tissue and give the lens a swipe.

and on, and on...

I need a Photoshop Bat. Or I am going to grab a hard bound copy of the Photoshop Bible and start bludgeoning offenders with it while shouting 'Thou Shalt NOT Use Photoshop'!!!

And so it goes...

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