Happy New Year: Looking Back on 2013
As we close out another year, it's time once again to look back and count down the top 10 Earthbound Light PhotoTips articles for the past twelve months.
#10: Should You Keep Everything You Shoot?
Memory cards and hard drives keep getting bigger and cheaper. Given this, there's really no need for most photographers to ever delete anything they shoot. But the question is, should you? Starting out our Top Ten list for 2013 is an article from this past February where I consider the merits of forcing yourself to cull out at least some images even when you don't have to. Keeping everything can make you lazy. Deleting some forces you to be more critical of your work and can actually lead to taking better images.
#9: The Vast Uncharted Reaches of Color Space
Even the best monitors and printers have their limits, and most of us work with files capable of representing a broader range of colors than we can currently make use of. Today there are serious limitations, and those limitations come directly from how each type of device reproduces color. Number nine on our list for this year is an article from April examining this seemingly odd reality. Ah, if only printers and monitors were perfect.
#8: The Best Way to Fix Over-Sharpening
Number 8 for the year 2013 is an article about sharpening. It's tempting to believe we can always fix our in-camera mistakes later in Photoshop or Lightroom, but that's just not realistic for sharpening. Even "nondestructive editing" techniques for sharpening can't help but destroy images when used to excess.
#7: Tips For Bad Photography
This somewhat tongue in cheek article from over the summer outlining tips for how to be bad at photography comes in at number seven based on my webserver logs and reader feedback. No, I'm not really advocating bad photography, but considering out to achieve it can make one realize that they may inadvertently be following some of these tips. Once you realize you've picked up a few bad habits you're in a good position to break those habits.
#6: "Expose to the Right" May Be Wrong
Many photographers have heard the advice to "expose to the right" when setting exposure for digital photography. Some of you may be struggling with putting this into practice while others may feel they have mastered the technique. But few photographers ever stoop to consider whether this is even good advice to begin with. Even if it once may have been, its usefulness is questionable with today's technical wonder cameras. Number six for the year was this recent article discussing the topic.
#5: Does "Full Frame" Really Mean Much Anymore?
Another very recent article that many readers appear to have appreciated was this article mulling over on the term "full frame." Viewed from the vantage point of today, it seems rather unfortunate that the standard of reference came to be called this but I suppose we're stuck with it now. This then was the number five article for 2013.
#4: Why Don't We Shoot Square Format and Crop Later?
Digital photography allows us to do quite a lot post capture but we're still forced to flip our cameras on their side to change format from portrait to landscape orientation. 35mm film was rectangular shaped, and digital SLR cameras are still clearly based on the form factor of 35mm SLR bodies. But if you're thinking it's time to change things, there are both pros and cons to the idea. After tallying up the ratings, this article from September discussing the topic came in at number four on the Top Ten list for the year.
#3: Performing Unnatural Acts in Photoshop
Number three for the year was an article from this past March comparing Lightroom to Photoshop. Over the years, I've taught classes on both and it's interesting to consider what it takes to learn both programs. Despite its name, Photoshop clearly wasn't built for photographers. While it remains more powerful than Lightroom (although the meaningful gap narrows with each new Lightroom release) it can be quite difficult to use properly. The obvious way to do something in Photoshop is rarely the best way. In my opinion, Photoshop is clearly showing its age. On the flip side, Lightroom was built from the ground up for photographers. Arcane topics that must be mastered to effectively use Photoshop simply don't even come up for new Lightroom users. It's an interesting comparison.
#2: Is There a Cloud Hanging Over Your Future?
I've been a user of Photoshop for quite a few years now and as such have paid Adobe handsomely for the numerous upgrades that have occurred. While I have welcomed the new features each brought, the advent of "Creative Cloud" has thrown me and plenty of you for a loop. You mean I won't even own the software anymore and would effectively just be "renting" it? Basically, yes. This article and a follow-up one the next week clearly caught reader's interest as it came in at number two for the year. In all honesty, I still don't know what the best option is. It would be nice not to have to decide, but that isn't an option. Sticking with what you have been using and not upgrading to Photoshop CC is still deciding.
#1: A Few Megapixel Mega-Myths
And with a metaphorical drum roll, I present the number one article for the year 2013. After adding everything up, your collective favorite was an article clearing up some of the many myths that have developed in this age of digital photography. The quest for megapixels has resulted in some mega-myths. Hopefully I've done my small part here to shining a light on some commonly misunderstood questions regarding megapixels.
And there you have it. The end of another year as measured by your favorite articles as tallied from web server log stats together with feedback through Facebook, Twitter and of course old fashioned email. Here's to hoping you'll join me for whatever the new year brings.
2014 here we come.