Above are four illustrations of what you can do with Luminar 4 and their sky replacement Artificial Intelligence! The question is, should you? Let’s talk about that, but first a little history. Many years ago in a galaxy far, far away, sorry about that, just couldn’t help myself. Long ago, in the early years of my career everyone in the nature field shot Kodachome 25. The goal was to shoot images that were as close to reality as possible! Then, Fujifilm introduced a new transparency film called Velvia. It produced slides that had deep rich colors that were far from accurate. While the goal of the moment was to reproduce natural colors, everyone fell in love with it and it became the “new” look. We gladly dumped Kodachrome because, well, we liked the new look, it wasn’t accurate, but the editors loved it, the rest is history.
As photographers we have to decide what we are going to make as our standard or goal with our work. If we are a photo journalists, or scienctific photographers then accuracy and realism is the standard we have to adhere to. If you are an artist trying to make a statement with your work, all bets are off, but it’s rarely that simple.
When I, and many of my friends, got into photography, the goal was to shoot accurate images, as time passed and Velvia came along, then digital, photoshop and well, you know the rest. Old horses like myself and some others I know, were thrown into a new world, one that was not what we came up with. The adjustment has been difficult. Difficult, but not impossible.
I don’t believe that doing post processing, even replacing skies is a sin, wrong or improper! Depending on how you learned this craft, it may or may not be and easy choice. As a photography instructor, it is important that I can be clear on how to deal with theses new possibilities when doing image reviews. Let me address that now. My first personal rule for all my own work and the work I review is that the photographer should simply tell what they have done if major changes to the image have taken place. For instance if the post work is levels, maybe curves, saturation and sharpening then I don’t think that needs to be mentioned. If the changes include Sky replacements, as the illustraitons above, then I think it would be approriate to mention that.
I think all photographers have the right and opportunity to do as they wish with their images. You will get no judgement from me. If an image works, it works. If you can live with your post then so can I. We do this for fun, let’s keep it that way!