One of the first things a person seems to do when using Photoshop for the very first time is adding ever filter they think is cool. It’s a fun and random way to get the hang of Photoshop, but as time goes on typically people begin to shy away from obsessive filtering. Yet, for some reason filtering a photo has made a huge comeback, in a rather annoying way. I had covered something similar to this in my Instagram article, but it seems this epidemic has now warranted it’s own post.
Filters allow photographers to do some pretty crazy things to a Photo, usually enhancing and image or making it more fun. These automated post production processes can save time when editing an image by allowing a photographer to change an entire image with a single click. I personally use filters to create accenting layers that I use to enhance the overall image. In this regard filters are great tools, but recently it has become common place to layer on filter after filter to get a very “stylized” look.
This look is typically that of severe over contrast or saturation, or the look of 1960′s photographs and Polaroids, which typically have a washout faded look. These two styles are becoming more and more popular, to the point professionals are now using them frequently, instead of just artistically. I believe photography should retain its artistic qualities, but it is starting to get to the point these are the only images produced, replacing black and white as the “cool” image style. There are several things wrong with this.
1) Artistic is not always profitable
Somewhere this statement has just offended an “artist”, and for that I am not sorry. Art is great as an expressive medium, but not as a sense of profitability. I do not solely mean profitability in the sense of financial revenue, rather as a broad overtone to selling yourself as a photography. It’s great if you enjoy the artistic aspect of photography, but do not think that just artistic photography is going to attract people to you for work.
2) Image Degradation
When you start slapping filter after filter onto an image to achieve a certain “look” you start to loose a lot of quality of the image. Adding excessive filters can create strong artifacting in your image, but can also create elements of your image to become either to or to little predominant, effectively changing your entire image. Washing out a person can effective make them almost unnoticeable in a photo compared to the background, even if they are the main focus.
3) It looks terrible
This may be a little subjective of me, but for all intensive purposes and the fact that aside from the people who do over filter everything I have never met a person who truly loves this look, over filtering just looks bad. When you start filter images to achieve these styles you really start to eliminate the audience who actually enjoys it. Washing out or over compromising an image doesn’t make it more “memorable” or better, if anything it tends to make it look more lack luster.