Photoshop : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Well, I've finally done it. Despite being a charter member of the John Henry society and having a statue of Ned Ludd in my apartment, I've bought a confuser, ordered a copy of Photoshop and signed up for a course in how to use it.

My intention is to continue shooting on conventional film, have decent scans made, and work from there. I'm not really interested in "special effects" or composites; I'm more attracted by the ability to have some of the control over my photos that goes along with conventional darkroom work, without having to put my hands into toxic chemicals.

Can anybody make any suggestions for additional resources to learn more about the subject? Thanks.


-- Rob Rothman (, September 16, 1998


Well, there are dozens of books out there. But can you settle for the poor print quality, lack of archival permanence, etc.? Frankly, I love the low-tech aspects of photography, especially large format. As for learning about the subject, I suggest a pot of strong coffee and lots of late nights in front of the confuser. Have fun!

-- Peter Hughes (, September 18, 1998.

You'll learn more with the "Adobe PhotoShop Classroom in a Book" than anywhere else. Adobe still offers these free with registration. Add as much RAM as you can afford, a couple of 9 GB fast-wide SCSI hard drives and six months from now you'll look back on all your mistakes and be ready to delve into "PhotoShop 5 Artistry" and "Real World PhotoShop 5."

Don't pay attention to the naysayers who cry poor print quality. They just don't know how to use PhotoShop. I've been using PhotoShop professionally for eight years, but had barely scratched the suface of its capabilities until this year. I've learned more about PhotoShop in the last eight months than I did in the previous eight years.

You'll need to work on huge scans and send them to high-end printers to get excellent quality. I typically work on 100 MB files for for outputting to a 35mm film recorder. My next projects will involve 300 MB files for LightJet 5000 prints. Paying $150 to see your work on 16x20 paper will force you to learn how to use PhotoShop properly.

-- Darron Spohn (, September 20, 1998.

As the immediately preceding response suggests, cost is one of the big drawbacks of combining large format film with Photoshop. $150 per print is way beyond my budget but then I don't have a client to reimbuse me. Apart from quality of the print, I think the big problem with large format and Photoshop is the scanner. Buying your own large format scanner will run $8,000 (Nikon 4500) and up. Using a service bureau will run about $15 per scan, plus the cost of the printing. FWIW, I bought Photoshop 4.0 thinking I would use it extensively for laarge and medium format, took a course in how to use it, and now use it only for 35mm.

-- Brian Ellis (, September 27, 1998.

Rob, I bought a book last year called: Photoshop tech supportby: Ken Oyer, Sean Cavanaugh & Ted Padova. It is one of the IDG Books. Will send you the cover photo by email. It comes with a CD and lots of photoshop techniques. Really cuts the distance short !

-- Tarek El Baradie (, October 09, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ