Create What You Like

Posted: February 18, 2015 in Uncategorized
I had an anonymous comment at my blog the other day and not sure if it was male or female, but judging from the nasty content I assumed it was driven by the testosterone of a male.
Anyways this person was very upset by the fact that I post so many of my images using post processing filters, and that I encourage others to use filters to enhance their images.
Digital photography has grown into many different art forms, and I think that is a good thing.  It’s perfectly fine if you believe in creating images with the traditional look of a photograph, but now we have options going well beyond the traditional photographs if we choose to do that.
Not sure why some photographers get upset over this, as it is each photographer’s decision on how he or she wants their images to look.
I show my images with post processing that I like, and suggest that you all give it a try, but I don’t go on a rant saying you have to do it my way.  If you like traditional looking photos then do it that way.
If it bothers this person so much on how I process my images, then why is this person following me?
Seems to me if they don’t like what they see with my images, they would stop following me and follow other photographers that think like they do.
As an artistic person I will always be looking for something new and different for my photos.
I don’t go around bashing others for the styles that they choose, and there are some things I see I don’t care for.  I’m not criticizing those photographers for what they like, they didn’t created their images to make me happy.
I do see a lot of that on some photo forums.  People getting nasty because they don’t like what they see.  Not sure why those people feel they have the right to tell others how their photos should look.
Do whatever makes you happy and don’t worry about what others think.



Share through social media, click links at bottom of this article.

Website, Workshops and E-Books
Macro Photo Conference 2015 click here
Macro Courses Online Click Here
You can buy my images from a select group at
To save 15% on Topaz products click here
Like my Facebook Page
  1. windforest says:

    Right on, right on! I agree with you completely Mike and think you’re right on target by responding to that individual in the manner that you did.

    I love your work and always appreciate you taking the time to share both your before and after photos and some tips on how you achieve whatever look you’re shooting. I’ve learned a lot from you along the way on my photographic journey.

    Best regards,

    Donna Keesee


  2. Jane Martin says:

    Your last line is the important one, Mike. You keep on doing what you like and ignore the trolls, who are nasty because they can be without being attached to their comments. Anonymity is a huge gift to them. I enjoy your posts very much (not that I am going to attempt every one of them !) and thank you for them! >

  3. Teri Moyer says:

    Thanks you for this … I agree totally!

  4. Phyllis Meinke says:

    Hey Mike – I’m not sure if this is the correct way to reply – I’ve tried it before but don’t think it worked. Anyhow – I know exactly what you mean here! The photo nazis and the art nazis are everywhere! A lot of photographers don’t like the image to be touched or ‘processed’ and seem to think it’s a terrible sin. On the other hand, a lot of artists resent the fact that we begin with a photo instead of ‘creating’ from scratch. As president of our local camera club, I see a lot of this, and some exhibits won’t even allow this ‘nasty hybrid’ in the shows! My personal opinion is that I want to create a beautiful image and I don’t really care how I do it!! Why not use all the tools at your disposal? I think we can say that a new ‘art form’ is emerging – that of photographic artist – and you know what a hard time new ways of doing things have of being accepted. So I agree – create what you like! And constructive criticism is one thing, but those mean, petty remarks on other people’s work (or on Facebook) are uncalled for – and a result of the anonymity on the internet – actually I think that sort of thing reflects very poorly on the ‘doer’. So there – my strong opinion!

    • Bekah says:

      Phyllis, I totally agree with you, except about one thing. As a photographic artist myself I DO start from scratch the way any other artist does. And I think most photographers belittle their own work because the majority of people oversimplify the photographic process in this digital age. Most people think you just need a great camera and it does all the work for you and that’s just not true.

      Personally, I build my set from scratch. A foreground, background, and subject is put together like a temporary sculpture. Then, I light it and sometimes that takes more problem solving and building. Then I shoot it, and process it, and finally print it. I know for a fact that some of my images have taken me just as long, if not longer, to make than an original painting.

      Portrait photographers mold their subjects by posing them in flattering ways, and lighting them in flattering ways. Landscape photographer’s only shoot in the best light and the process of finding the perfect time and angle could take a whole year as the light changes.

      I’m sure Mike spent hours, days, maybe months or years of his life, experimenting with different filters before he found a process he really wanted to apply to his photographs.

      I’m just saying that any artist who “resents” that photographers “begin with a photo” need to re-educate themselves. Taking the photo is not the beginning, it’s the middle. And the process can be far more in depth than most people realize!

      Sorry for the lengthy post, but I’m actually writing a blog post about this very subject right now and I’m super passionate about it. You gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about it =)

    • Mike Moats says:

      Phyllis, I realize that this post won’t change the opinion of the poster of that comment I mentioned, but hope maybe someone else out there who is on the fence about all this stuff may at least think in a different way before they criticize others for what they do.

  5. Mary Chris Hines says:

    I totally agree! How you want to communicate your message with what artistic medium is your choice. Some people just bash others as part of their make-up. They must be very miserable people. Ignore them. You don’t need them. Yes, do what makes you happy. Others who love what you do will always be loyal followers!

  6. Lisa says:

    Anyone who put something they created out for the public to see is also putting themselves in the path of many sad, angry, ignorant, hateful… people. I choose to shoot in RAW and I process every picture that comes out of my camera. I go for a more often “natural” look but either way, I made the decision of how I want that picture to look. I’m not trying to fool anyone, I’m simply using my prerogative to make something that is pleasing to me. I would never go as far as to call myself an artist, even though I think photography is very much an art, but just like if I were to sit down with crayons and paper, I have the option to make anything my skills would allow me to make. And of the thousands of sites to choose to look at for learning and/or inspiration, why look at or follow one you do not like. That person did not even deserve a response from you. They obviously have other issues.

  7. dborgess says:

    We are all entitled to our perspective. I agree there is a place for all matter of creativity and artistry! And there is a place for the natural beauty. Why would someone criticize your creativity in such a manner? And anonymously…that equals cowardice Thank you for the response as you deserve to be heard. Carry on and make the world a more beautiful place.

    Thank you for leading us along the way.

  8. pathdoc70 says:

    I am with you 100% Mike. Art, like beauty, is the eye of the beholder, or in our case the photographer. We are so fortunate in this digital age of photography to have so many options for processing photos. And I say that as a 72 year old who has been photographing since age 12. Back in the days of dark rooms and trays and chemicals, what would I have given just to see what my photo looked like instantly after I took it, rather than wait until I finished shooting the roll and developed it weeks later, then printed the photos only to find I had the wrong exposure. Yikes! I am glad you replied to this assault with kinder words than I would likely have used. Even though I am not big into post processing filters etc at this point ( even though I have Nik and Topaz), I do appreciate and enjoy your artistic interpretations using them in such a way that I would want to try them. Good job. All the best, Mike O’Brien Valley Head, AL

    Sent from my iPhone 5s


  9. Linda Lavey says:

    I agree with you 100% Mike.

  10. Jeff Morett says:

    I’ll never understand why people do what they do and I try to avoid those that want to make an issue where, truly, none exists. Personally, I’m looking to find my own ‘voice’. I think to do that you need to see what others do and how they do that. The learning is never done as far as I’m concerned. I appreciate peoples input about what I post and try to be positive when I leave a comment. I appreciate the time and effort that you make on our behalf.

  11. Bekah says:

    It might seem like a small consolation, but getting haters just means that your photography is big enough to be noticed by many. I will celebrate my first hater, if I ever see that day =)

    You have a distinct style in your processing that makes your work unique and you’re kind enough to share it with everyone should they want to learn more about how to do what you do. Unfortunately, a lot of photographers are scared of what’s different, and especially what’s new in the digital world! Let it roll off your shoulder. Take it as a compliment that your work stands out enough to be hated =)

  12. Linda White Lindert says:

    Photos are now “processed” on our computers. Negatives were “processed” in a darkroom. Dodging and burning was changing the image from what it was originally. I totally love some of the new filter plugins for Photoshop. Even framing in a camera is deciding what to take and what to leave out. Every picture is an interpretation. Glad I didn’t see the comment from the negative person. I appreciate Mike that you explain how you take your pictures and show us your processes. Thanks.

  13. Gary says:

    “Do whatever makes you happy and don’t worry about what others think.” That sure works for me too! Explore,
    experiment … and have fun!

  14. lindaszabo says:

    I agree, do what makes you happy. I grew up with computers and worked in the manufacturing of personal computers during infancy. I have always enjoyed learning new software programs. When photography went digital, it was a natural progression to the one thing I enjoyed most, computers and programs. Taking a photo and turning it into art makes me happy. If others like it, that is great but if they don’t, I still always enjoy the process and creating art.

  15. Betsy says:

    I couldn’t agree more! Photography is such a personal thing and it is up to each of us to create and interpret our own vision. I’ve taken a lot of abuse for choosing to get creative with my post-processing and I make no bones about it being my choice and no one else’s. I won’t apologize for having fun with software to create some fun interpretations and I especially love Topaz Glow. Those people who choose to criticize other’s work based on their own beliefs of how and image should look are close-minded and really limiting themselves in the possibilities of creation. Your mind and imagination are your only limits. Go for it!

  16. nlh835 says:

    Art is art. If you want to use editing tools, your choice. If the individual doesn’t want to, then don’t. But, as you said, why is this individual following you?

  17. Gerri Jones says:

    I sort of remember a few weeks back someone posting a comment (don’t recall who, but it was a guy) in one of the macro pages on FB “wondering how many photos being posted were done without software” or something to that effect. Basically, I wondered myself, why the person was even asking that question. Was it because they could not tell in many cases, or because they thought many images were over done or maybe it was just a sarcastic remark. At any rate, I thought it an odd place to make that comment. First off, the FB pages are not a contest with strict rules, that say no or minimal post processing allowed…they are there for all of us to share our work, ideas, techniques and with the generous amount of time that Mike devotes administrating all of this (and sharing his professional knowledge), we all benefit. There is no charge to share our work and anyone who criticizes this, need go join many of the potd or sharing sites that do charge or take donations to keep things running. Many years ago I belonged to a site/contest that had minimal post processing rules. I posted a landscape image that I took which was done with a Hoya filter to create an Infra Red image…it was done in camera with minimal post processing as any other BW image would have had. The image was chosen for a monthly award, and all of a sudden several people complained to the site administrator…One saying “That no landscape they had ever seen looked like that!”…well the site administrator, caved in and removed my image. I voiced my opinion and eventually things changed at that site and he even began accepting HDR images. There will always be those who don’t agree and it has been my experience that it isn’t usually because they honestly don’t like the work being posted. Aside from that, I like taking my images and applying both minimal post processing or using the many tools/plug ins, etc in photoshop to create something artful….it is the process of either that is rewarding. So, thanks Mike for all that you do to inspire/challenge many of us to keep shooting.

  18. Good advice, Mike, we should all follow our own desires. I enjoy your variety. Keep up the good work!

  19. Claire Waring says:

    Hi Mike

    Thank you for your post. I quite agree with you and cannot see why people want to make nasty comments about things they don’t have to look at. I’m afraid it seems to be the way that things are going these days that, because of the anonymity of social media, people think they can say what they like and be as rude and offensive as they like. I find it very sad that they feel they need to make these comments in this way. If they don’t like something, there are polite ways of saying so but politeness seems to have gone out of the window with people like this. Personally, I like the ‘natural’ images but I find your treatment of some of the subjects very interesting and would regard the final version as an art work rather than a photograph, if that makes sense.

    I hope what you have said is taken on board by your commentator but I rather fear it won’t be. I shall continue to enjoy your posts, even if I wouldn’t do some of the things that you do. Surely there is room for all approaches in the art/photography arena?

    I joined your NANPA webinar and found it very interesting. It gave me several ideas about how I might move my photography forward. Unfortunately, I was held up and joined in late. I wish I’d been able to watch the whole presentation. Thank you. I’d love to join you at a macro boot camp but I’m afraid it’s too far to travel!

    Kind regards

    Claire Waring (UK)

  20. Diane Pattie says:

    The purist! Yes, I’ll admire their work too. If YOU want to be a purist, be a purist. But if you don’t like what others create in other ways don’t look at it, don’t complain about it, don’t buy it and don’t subscribe to their blog. I mean, why would you want to make yourself so miserable? And you should use your time to go take a purist photo instead wasting your time ranting about what others are doing with their art. This creative photography art affects you how?
    Right on Mike!

  21. Rick Berger says:

    Having gone the darkroom route for so many years as a professional I’m now so thrilled that technology has brought us to the point where we can be truly creative through the use of our computers. You’re work, Mike, is a fine example of this. The person that wrote the negative comment should stop reading your blog and viewing your work. Rather, he should spend his time producing whatever he believes to be “real” photography. Keep up the good work Mike. It inspires us.

  22. Kendell says:

    I agree with all here. This makes me wonder the age of the person who made the comment. Seriously. I think older individuals are less open to the technology world…….Being in my mid-50’s and not computer-saavy, I will shoot to do the best I can in-camera, but at the same time can not deny the advances in technology and how much further post-processing will take the images. Some of the post processing filters styles may be less appealing to older persons too.

    This is just a thought, but certainly no excuse for one person or artist to slam another.

  23. Iolani says:

    I fInd the ones that are the most critical of the use of photo programs are those who cannot learn to use the programs or find it too hard to turn a computer on. If a person enjoys bring creative with the photos he or she has taken that is their right. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I ignore these people and do as I please with my computer.

  24. Altering photos has been around forever it seems. Consider Ancil Adams, back in the day, dodging and burning his images. I’m a big fan of the way you take amazing images and the create the most amazing works of art. Thank you for being my favorite source of inspiration. Blessings – Debbie

  25. Alisa says:

    It’s really a shame when people don’t leave room for the possibility of other ways to do things. Doing something a different way in NO way detracts from the other ways. In fact, in my opinion it only adds to artistic expression. And isn’t it really neat to see the arts grow?

  26. Bill Hudson says:

    Just a little quote I like on the subject….

    “No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” – Ansel Adams –

    Bill H.

  27. Grace Grogan says:

    I agree, all photographers see and shoot things differently — we shoot what we like and process in a way that appeals to us. It is just like anything – not everyone likes the same carpets, furniture, clothing styles, etc. and not everyone likes the same photo processing techniques or subjects. that doesn’t make any one process or subject right or wrong, just different.

  28. Mike – This is art and not photojournalism. As art we can do what we want, stretch and grow.

  29. Carol rasmussen says:

    It is because of you I now enjoy my work so much more. You are a fantastic role model and an amazing giving teacher of photograph.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s