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Old Aug 30, 2006, 10:35 PM   #1
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Hey all, I have recently began to adjust my images in photoshop after taking them, something making major changes. So I was wondering, do you all consider it okay to show off these images (or sell them) without stating they have been edited? Obviously if someone asked I would tell them it was edited, but say as a nature photographer, I hosted a picture like this on an online gallery, do you think thats okay?

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Old Aug 30, 2006, 10:36 PM   #2
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Old Aug 30, 2006, 11:34 PM   #3
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There is nothing wrong with editing an image to improve exposure, color, brightness, contrast, and the like. There is no need to say that the images have been edited. In fact if you shoot in JPEG mode all digital images have been edited by preset parameters in the camera. I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old Aug 31, 2006, 1:11 AM   #4
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I agree... I used to have issues with this very point as well, but nelmr is right. There is no such thing as a pure image, and there is no point in sanctifying the camera's interpretation over your own. Both are just interpretations.

I think that in the end one has to decide with oneself why he is taking the picture and by what criterion it is to be judged. Is he trying to reproduce exactly what he saw? Is he trying to make the most beautiful image that he can? Is he trying to 'capture the moment'? Is he trying to convey a message? With that in mind, both camera and editor are just means to an end.

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Old Aug 31, 2006, 6:53 AM   #5
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Manipulating images is not unique to digital photography. For those of us who remember working in a "wet" darkroom, we always used tricks like dodging and burning-in as well as contrast enhancement and cropping, all of which can be considered "manipulation" of the original image. You don't think Ansel Adams made his prints without some "fine tuning"? There is a line to be walked though between "image enhancement" and outright fakery. Revalations about photojournalistic "enhancement" of news images is only the most blatant example of this, but it's getting to the point where bogus images could be used as evidence in court, and in some cases, it would take an expert in forensic photography to thell what's real from what's Memorex.
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Old Aug 31, 2006, 8:50 AM   #6
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I agree that some manipulation is perfectly acceptable - as long as the purpose is art not reality. For instance something came out last month about a Reuters photog photoshoping his photos of the violence in Lebenon. That is crossing the line. I would similarly submit that if I'm selling a sports photo and I photoshop a ball into the frame of a baseball player that is a no-no.

So, to me the question is about: what does the viewer or buyer think they're seeing. Is it:

I'm looking at a nice piece of artwork that is pleasing to my eye


I'm looking at a moment in time a photographer miraculously captured of that reality.

If you're portraying your work as the first then I think everything you do to the image is OK. If you're portraying your work as the second, I think you can still do selective editing as long as it doesn't change the important 'reality' of the photo (e.g. me photoshoping out a portapoty in the background of a sports shot doesn't change the reality of the play at first base. But, me photoshoping a ball about to enter the first baseman's glove when no ball was there DOES change the reality and is IMO dishonest).
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Old Aug 31, 2006, 11:27 PM   #7
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JohnG, I started to disagree with you when I started to read your post. But you didn't take it where I though you were going to take it.

You didn't say that you were trying to capture reality with the camera. You talked about the image in relation to the photographer. That is how you should do it.

A camera does not see like the human eye. It is near impossible to capture an image that actually "reflects" reality. Just for starters - the human eye can see well in much lower light and with a much wider dynamic range than a camera. A camera *can't* capture reality as you see it.

And we won't even get into white balance issues, that can really throw off an image.
Or how almost every camera has an anti-aliasing filters over the sensor... you eye certainly doesn't have an anti-aliasing filter over it.

So what you should be asking yourself is this:
Are you trying to make a picture that is to your memory of reality?
Or are you trying to make the highest quality image you can (reality is often not nearly as interesting or beautify as an "enhanced" image.)

(note I say "make" not "take". Make includes post-processing.)

Because you will *always* have to edit an image to make it more like what you saw.
The reference to Ansel Adams is absolutely right. I was just reading one of his books recently and he states outright that he is willing to do lots of things. He wouldn't move mountains or blatent changing of reality. But he would happily enhance clouds to make them more dramatic (for example.)

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Old Sep 1, 2006, 8:57 AM   #8
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The digital editing is almost the same as film editing. When I was printing color film I used to burn & dodge, I used filters to enhance colors. I used a piece of cardboard with a hole in it to selectively manipulate certain areas of a print without touching other parts. Heck, We could even add things to a photograph from a completely different negative.

About the only thing that is different now is it is much easier and faster now with digital then the old film days. What used to take all day only take a little while now.

Also much less expensive to do now if you have the right equipment and programs.


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Old Sep 2, 2006, 9:20 PM   #9
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Cropping, contrast enhancements, dodging and burning, unsharp masking are all techniques which have been used by film photographers for many years, and are considered quite acceptable.

Where to draw the line is always a subject of debate, and is mostly just up to the individual. I don't remove or add objects that don't exist in the original, or change features, with very rare exceptions, which are obvious to any observer. For portraits, I do remove blemishes and soften skin texture.

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