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An Extremely Controversial Photo of Siblings

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

An Extremely Controversial Photo of Siblings

When the word “controversial” pops into your head, is this image what you’d be picturing? Probably not!

I had posted this image on the MCP Facebook Page in February showcasing our newest Lightroom presets (InFusion and Illuminate).  I never expected to hear anything except, “cute kids” or “how did you do that?” or “great save.” No laws were being broken.  No kids were harmed.  It was an image that was not exposed properly.  That’s it!

MCP Lightroom Presets

Instead, I had angry photographers blame me for all kinds of “crimes,” such as:

  • Ruining the photography industry
  • Teaching people to fix images in Lightroom or Photoshop so they do not need to learn their cameras
  • Helping new photographers undercut experienced pros
  • Showing images from people who have no business being photographers

And well, the list was longer than that but you get the idea…

The back story….

This image is by a wonderful photographer, Dayna More. She is active on our Facebook Group and had shared the image there first.  She had explained that she was practicing flash photography when her daughter reached down,  picked up some sand and started eating it.  Oops!  So she turned off her flash and focused on being a mom.  When her son began consoling her daughter, she was touched and started snapping pictures again.  Guess what she forgot to change in the heat of the moment?  Her camera settings!  It’s not that she did not know how to expose.  It’s not that she is a bad photographer – in fact she is great!  She just had a lapse.  And that lapse was what allowed her to capture the moment.

If she paused and changed settings and took some test shots, and adjusted…. she would have likely missed this precious image. You cannot recreate raw emotion. She captured it, and sure the exposure was not perfect.  She and I never said it was.  But why would you trash the image when you can “save” it as shown above or create art from it as shown below?

This edit was from the same raw file as the one earlier.  Trash?  Nope – not to me.  Amazing image? Definitely!


MCP Lightroom Presets

MCP Thoughts – Tolerance and understanding…

When it comes to photographers, some are looking to become professionals in the future and others just want nice images of their kids, grand kids, pets, or the nature around them. Not every photographer that reads MCP tutorials or uses our products wants to compete with the pros.  Some just want better images.

While new photographers are learning to use their cameras, lighting, etc, should they trash every image?  No.  Why not learn software like Photoshop and Lightroom so that they can keep images as they learn and grow their camera skills?  Sure, the goal is quality images straight out of camera, it just is not the reality.  Particularly when someone is new to photography.

MCP Lightroom Presets

Broken legs and crutches… what do they have to do with photography and editing?

Imagine breaking your leg at your own wedding…  I did.  It sucked.  Afterwards, for three months (THREE!), I had a cast up to the top of my thigh.  I had trouble walking and needed crutches to get around and even after my cast came off, I needed the extra help of crutches as I worked on my walking skills.  Eventually I needed the crutches less and less. And eventually I walked on my own.

Photography is a lot like this.  When most start out, they rely on auto mode, and then the infamous portrait face or running man.  Eventually as a photographer learns more, they branch out to aperture or speed priority and onto manual. This carries over into editing too.  When you are new to photography, the “crutches” or tools can help you edit.  Sure, our actions and presets can save images that you may otherwise trash.  But they can also make it easier and faster to edit — and many tell us that the way we build our products and teach people how to use them, it has actually taught them the ins and outs of Photoshop and Lightroom.

Your call… take them or leave them.

I truly feel that I am allowing people the opportunity to enhance photos, occasionally “save” an image, and create an artistic interpretation of their imagery. There are times where even the most experienced photographers need a boost in Lightroom or Photoshop, just as the darkroom was utilized from the past. Many experienced photographers (such as Joel Grimes, Trey Radcliff  and thousands of others) use editing software to create works of art. And to me, I think it is wonderful.

Hopefully, no matter where you are at with your photography skills, we can all support and respect the work of others and embrace our differences instead of exploit them.

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™
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  1. March 13, 2014 at 10:52 pm —

    I really don’t care what the critics say, I say keep teaching, and I will keep learning, that’s why we are in a digital age, hey if some one likes the old dark room techniques that’s great, but don’t punish anyone who wants to come to the 21’st century. I like the fact that I can save a picture, or manipulate a picture on my own terms, with my own artistic view, and learn my camera at my own pace,I am not what I would call a professional photographer, but I want great pictures to scrapbook, and make fabulous and unique pictures to hang on the wall without all the hassle of finding buttons, without missing anything, then if its so so or not great, I can correct and make amazing images. Your work is amazing and please keep inspiring us.

  2. March 14, 2014 at 7:28 am —

    Yes a hugh part of photography is about using a camera, but there is not a photographer out there that will say that’s all you need. You need to also have an eye and creativity. No one says “i want to be a camera operator”, they want to be a photographer and learning how to use a camera and manipulate it to do what you want is all part of that and take years to learn. And sometimes, getting the shot is more important than the “perfect” exposure.

  3. March 14, 2014 at 8:09 am —

    Art is about a connection. A “good” photograph should connect with you. And there is no doubt that Dayna’s edits (above) create a more powerful connection. Does it really matter what other people think about her path, her skills, to creating her art?


    This is a great print for canvas. The backstory of sand-eating, priceless.

  4. March 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm —

    I agree with what Andrea says 100%
    I can not stand the argument that using tools/technology to improve the finished project makes a piece of work less valuable or the user less talented/skilled. Editing software is an extension of the camera and photographic process to achieve the desired result. That is like saying that a carpenter who uses power tools to create a beautiful piece of furniture is somehow faking it,
    I’m going to hire a photographer based on the final product. It makes no difference to me if it was straight out of the camera, or fixed to my liking in Photoshop.”

    I happen to actually love the editing process! I think I am one of the few

  5. March 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm —

    Thank you for a rational and respectful response to the criticism of others. Just goes to show some people jump the gun and form judgements without seeing the complete picture. Should be a lesson to all of us as a general life lesson. Don’t jump to conclusions before you know all the facts!

  6. March 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm —

    This is such an insightful response to the critics. I am sure that some of them have had shots they deleted which could have been edited. I learned photography in college back in the 70’s when there was only film. And we were taught how to manipulate a photo in the darkroom. I had to teach myself digital photography, which, I must say, was a bit easier reading posts from you and others. I have seen “amateurs” and “hobbyists” that have a better eye than some “pros”. Thank you again for your insights.

  7. March 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm —

    Amen Jodi!
    Most pro photographers I know use editing software, Some lightly, some a bit more. One thing I can say about most of them: they are not afraid to share tips, tricks, work-arounds, tutorials, KNOWLEDGE!

    For those that get all bent out of shape: if you are as good as you think you are, if you market yourself and run your business the way a “professional” business person should, then you should not concern yourself with what hobbyists/ amateurs, semi-pro’s, newbies or anyone else does. If you are as good as you say you are you will make money. There is enough to go around for everyone. If you aren’t maybe you should look into another profession.

  8. Stephanie
    April 22, 2015 at 11:54 am —

    I disagree with you. I am not going to lie though, I too have used software to “fix” a less than perfect image. I think everyone has done it. And we are not perfect, we mess up sometimes. HOWEVER, this being posted as an ad for what your actions/pre-sets can do is to me like saying “see, you don’t really need to take a good picture. Just buy my product and you don’t need to learn to use your camera, my product will make everything perfect! It’s sooooo EASY.”

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An Extremely Controversial Photo of Siblings