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View Poll Results: Should photo manipulation be allowed in the forum?
1. Always 10 43.48%
2. Never 1 4.35%
3. Occasionally, on a challenge basis. 12 52.17%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old Oct 31, 2008, 10:30 PM   #1
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The issue of photomanipulation has been on everybody's minds for awhile now. Some are for it, some opposed, and some riding the fence. I would like to get an idea of where people stand on the issue.

Please cast your vote . You may post comments below.

Thanks

Cal

(edit -- Let's have more participation. 10 people have commented or voted. 260 have viewed. I don't think that ten people represent the entire group. Please vote and/or comment.)

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Old Oct 31, 2008, 11:42 PM   #2
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For myself, I'm not really too much into a lot of manipulation. That may well be that I prefer to take pictures rather than spend hours jockeying around with them. I don't mind things like some brightening or minor color adjustments, but that's it for me. I enjoy seeing what talented people can do, but it's just not for me. I would personally rather see that this forum mostly stay with challenges that can be done mostly with just using your camera. I can always visit the forums that specialize in amazing photomanipulations to admire the things that can be done with photoshop and the like. Just my opinion, but I'm sticking with it! Best to all

Angie
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Old Oct 31, 2008, 11:45 PM   #3
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While I only occasionally get to post photos for the challenges these days, I do enjoy looking in on occasion still.

I have always thought of the shoot outs as ways to advance skills with the camera, using the challenges as an opportunity to explore what can be done without using post-processing, and pretty much thought that this was the raison d'etre of the forum. That said, it can be difficult to draw the line on how much PP is too much, since, for example, when I shoot RAW, the shot has to be converted from the beginning, and the choices I make as to color temperature, exposure, tint, sharpening, etc., all constitute at least minimal PP. Cloning out dust spots is generally considered acceptable. I have also been taken to task for not removing power lines in some pictures. Once this starts, how far do we take it? Should we be allowed to remove an errant human or two who intrude on our beautiful landscapes? How about 'fixing' the skin tones and complexion of our models? Maybe 'improving' the nose a bit, as the angle of the shot was not flattering, or it is just not an attractive nose? Blurring of backgrounds beyond what our lenses are capable of?

Personally, I keep as close to what I actually saw through the viewfinder as is possible, and consistent with the intent of the image. Adding elements to a photo is one place I don't go.

It will be interesting to hear other's thoughts on the subject.

brian
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Old Nov 1, 2008, 12:31 AM   #4
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This has traditionally been one of the most visited forums with a high level of participation. I think it is because the challenge has always (pre-Bynx) been on going out and shooting. That's been the fun of it for me, and I've learned a lot about getting more out of my camera and myself as a photographer. We've always allowed a certain amount of post-processing such as color balance, cropping, etc, but not the "extremes" of creating collages, removing or adding objects or using Photoshop type actions and filters.

In that way we've kept a fairly level "playing field" so as not to discourage or penalize those who don't have (or don't want to use) expensive packages. When we allowed ourselves to compromise, we saw what happened.

As I've pointed out before, there are other forums that allow, and even encourage, a lot of post-processing and extreme digital manipulation.
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Old Nov 1, 2008, 2:50 AM   #5
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I would prefer to limit post processing to white balance and exposure adjustments especially with raw images. Cropping helps reduce the image size for web forum posting, but other effects should be posted in the digital makeover forum here at Steve's or many other digital abstract art forums all over the web. An occasional photo collage challenge is a great idea for a change but in my humble opinion, this forum helps us learn to be better photographers (both technically with the camera and artistically by framing our subject matter)
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Old Nov 1, 2008, 10:33 AM   #6
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here's my humble opinion, take it for what it's worth!

the shootout isn't a contest, and it's not for points. I don't keep a record of who's done a manipulation, and who hasn't. As far as a level playing field is concerned, a software package can cost less than a new lens - when the shoe's on the other, fewer-lens-owning foot, the playing field can seem stacked the other way (e.g., a depth of field challenge when your lens is a kit lens is pretty unfun).

There is now, more than ever, more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. For my part, the stipulation against manipulation (sound like johnie cochrane here, arguing my case) hasn't really affected me one way or another, save for a couple times when i thought i might be able to make a good image but thought better of it for the purposes of the challenge. Allowing the shootout to have manipulation is not likely to make me manipulate every submission, it might get me participating a bit more, but what will most likely happen is i'll shoot as usual and if something comes to me i'll post it.

Some/most manips where stuff is added to an image wind up looking like absolute shite, and so people really shouldn't worry about manipulators gathering "undue" fans.
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Old Nov 1, 2008, 12:43 PM   #7
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Manipulation limited to correcting and enhancing the photo but not to change the original concept of the scene, would be nice. When shooting film I would very often use filters to obtain the look ordesired feel.This was done in cameraback thenbutcolor filters don't work on digital so it's done on the computer in PP. Same as with blurred backgrounds,a full frame DSLRblurring a background iseasy butif you are shooting a P&Sor a cropped (I use both typesof cameras) it's not something that canbe done in cameramost of the time, so again it's back to PP.Taking out a power from asunset orremoving a person from empty trail running through a fieldof wild (one of my favorite pictures) flowers does not change the intent or concept to the photographer's idea forthe finish picture.

I was just asked (by my wife), that if someone took a picture of a bridge and curved it a little in PP would that be acceptable?PP a P&S picturein order to get the same effect as a full frame camera using a 7-14mm (wish I had one) lens, is this not just leveling the playing field?

This is of course just my opinion on the new age digital world of photography.
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Old Nov 1, 2008, 12:59 PM   #8
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Hey Cal,
that's an interesting question! For me image manipulation is ok under one condition: it should ONLY be used to alter the image to overcome some limitations of the camera/lens/equipment used. To make clear, what I am talking about, I'll give examples. The main idea is three-fold:

- people own different equipment (also quality-wise), that should NOT be a reason to not take part in the challenge
- the camera does not see, what your eyes see - in terms of colors, dynamic range etc.
- normal photography techniques like following the rule of thirds, cut unwanted image elements etc.

#1 - cropping as a replacement for a tele-lens
Let's say the challenge is "Birds". You own a 500mm tele lens, I own a 200mm tele lens. I crop my shot to simulate the tele-lens.

#2 - sharpening/local contrast enhancement to overcome softness in wide-open shots
Same challenge... you own a tack-sharp 200/2.8 lens, stopped down to f/4, I have a 200/4 lens which is soft wide open. I use some local contrast enhancement/deconvolution etc. to bring out details.

#3 - stitching as a replacement for a wide angle lens
Let the challenge be "religious buildings" and I want to post a photo of a huge church, but have no real wide angle lens. I take some shots and stitch them together.

#4 - highlight/shadow, histogram, curves, layers (multiply, negativ multiply) to bring the image closer to what your eyes saw
As long as it looks natural, I'd even allow HDR/DRI techniques. Different filters can enhance sky/clouds, why not allow postprocessing to do the same? I can't afford every bit of photographic equipment, but a RAW image allows for such adjustments.

#5 - b&w conversion
There was always b&w and color film, so I can't see a reason why this shouldn't be allowed.

I think you got the main idea: as long as it was there and the manipulation is ONLY used to overcome technical limitations - it's fine for me.

Things I wouldn't allow (examples):
- add motion blur or any other effect to simulate movement when there was no movement (of course normal panning done with a camera is allowed!!)
- add/remove image parts, i.e. cloning more people/objects into an image, remove power poles from a landscape shot (if the power pole was there, leave it there)
- no color manipulation (if the theme was "fancy hats" and you re-color a black top-hat to look green or red... that's not ok)
- no "art" effects like smoothing skin, make your models eyes sparkle etc. - if the person has freckles and it shows... leave it that way.
- no artificial water reflections and so on.

Photography on one hand is a technical thingie, on the other hand a very creative thing. Even in the analog/35mm world by using filters, different film material, special lenses, film processing techniques there was room for "changing" things.

I think this forum is alot about trying (new) things, learn from others, improve the photographic skills, have fun and share some "good" images.

So again my rule would be that manipulation is ok, as long as the reason for the manipulation is to show the things that were there when the photographer took the image. I would let people state the techniques for manipulation they used and show the original "as is" images if more than cropping/resizing was used. (The only question is - what is a "original" image... digicams in general post-process in-camera, different RAW-converters do a different job with a RAW image, but we might be able to settle on a "reference setting")

This is not so far from what is done in Stevesforums at the moment, but rules out any artificial and artistic changes to images. If a certain effect was achieved ONLY by using the camera or common photographic tools - let people state how they did it. (i.e. zooming in/out while shooting, panning). I'd even allow some "creative" equipment like self-made filters, flash extenders/softeners etc. - as this would have been possible with analog/35mm tools, too.

Sorry for the long post, but it's a difficult thing to explain and I hope I could make clear what I mean. Please come back to me for questions if you feel uncertain about something I said.

Regards,
Th.
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Old Nov 1, 2008, 2:17 PM   #9
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Hi all,

Here's my two cents:

I agree with thkn777 and the others who think manipulation to enhance the shot and overcome shortcomings of equipment is OK.

I think that cloning out powerlines, signs, people,or other distractions that can not be avoided when the picture is taken should be allowed. As well as correction for lens distortion due to extreme wide-angle shots.

Things like changing the hue to make a summer picture a fall picture and things like that should not be allowed.



Mugmar

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Old Nov 1, 2008, 3:37 PM   #10
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Every thing you do, lens choice, shutter, aperture etc. is a means of manipulating your photo. Computer Post processing is nothing more than darkroom work without the smell.

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