Has that pic been Photoshop'ed?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by rmh159, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    A discussion in another thread prompted me to write this one and devote a fresh new thread to this topic.

    As photographers... when showing photos to non-photographers, do you face this question and how do you deal with it?

    I have trouble with it because while yes... I do touch almost every pic with Levels, Dodge/Burn, etc. I know they're asking that question thinking I did 99% of the work in Photoshop and created a decent image out of a crappy snapshot. So would you just lie and say "No I don't Photoshop my pics." knowing that you in fact don't use the tool as they're implying? Would you try to explain the process and mostly likely not have them understand?

    Any thoughts???
     
  2. shorty6049

    shorty6049 TPF Noob!

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    just say "no, I did that all in the darkroom" (this could be in a room on your computer with the lights off if you like...) then you wouldnt be lying... haha
     
  3. shorty6049

    shorty6049 TPF Noob!

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    another question i would like to ADD, (not replace the other with) to this is - how far is too far? What do you consider it acceptable to do in photoshop? Move people? change the sky? change the color of a building? only the basic color and brightness/contrast adjustments? whats everyone's feeling on this? This is not in a journalistic sense, but more of just general photography and printing. Artistic license i guess.
     
  4. Eric Piercey

    Eric Piercey TPF Noob!

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    I think you're putting a little too much thought into how others perceive your photography skills.

    First off, very few laypeople would even begin to know how to make a great picture look substantially better in PS, and making a crappy picture look great is an art in itself. Depth of field for example, can be manipulated in PS but to the trained eye either a) it will be recognized as artificial and if done well appreciated, or b) overlooked which is flattering to your PS skills.

    Secondly, composition can be cropped in, but there's just no substitute for a well framed shot.

    BUT WAIT. You know.. before I utter another word.. let's look at the bigger picture here:

    There's an entire continuum of appreciation for photography which ranges from seasoned pro's to those with absolutely no eye (nor care) for it., and that includes the field of digital imaging. I might ask "is that color natural or photoshopped??!" The implication being, "that color is amazing," and to me it's no different from asking what the aperture was or what lense it was shot with. Then, there are those who think that one can "photoshop" anything. I get clients saying to me, "just photoshop it," all the time when something isn't right, or in many cases before the pictures have been taken! This presuposes that no matter what happens they're going to be delivered the "perfect shot." These are the people you're worried about if I'm correct. These are the one's you fear are thinking.. "well yeah he just photoshopped that awesome shot, anyone can photoshop a great photo." These are the folks who think that one can sit down and chef up entire galleries of photos from the imagination. You know what? These people I wouldn't worry about one bit, unless of course they're your clients. If this is the case, I'd be very wary of them as they can make your life a nightmare. You'll work 3x as hard to please them, and make half the money and never feel appreciated.

    Then there's the rest of the spectrum.


    Bottom line.. please yourself first. Set your own standards. If someone asks if something is photoshopped it's up to you to determine if they're in that bottom rung of folks who think photoshop is somehow the holy grail of photography, and from there how you deal with them. If you're pleased with your work it shouldn't matter.

    Maybe you'll take the time to educate them a little. Maybe you'll walk away.
     
  5. JohnMF

    JohnMF TPF Noob!

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    i think in a photojournalistic sense it is important to represent the truth.

    as for anything, i personally prefare any photoshop work to be done properly and look as natural as possible, even if the image youre depicting is not as it would look in nature itself. I find if a photo has been badly edited in photoshop it becomes very distracting and i instinctively dismiss the entire image.

    as for how far is too far, i think too far is too far... does that make sense? :S
     
  6. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    Wooooh that's deep. Haha jk... yeah that makes sense.

    I agree as well that the work is done for my own pleasure and the opinions of others only go so far but the reality is that it is somewhat deflating when you get that ONE awesome shot and someone quickly dismissing it as being a magical computer editing trick.
     
  7. Eric Piercey

    Eric Piercey TPF Noob!

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    As for the second question, "how far is too far," when it becomes a distraction, or makes a photo too cleche, barring of course where the goal is journalistic accuracy such as evidence photography or documentary photos. Let's face it, this is the digitial age. There is no darkroom for most of us, and if there were we'd being burning and dodging and tweaking our photos as far as the equipment would allow us to. Photo's are no less impressive to me when they've been adjusted well in PS. We're talking pure aesthetics here and it's entirely subjective, although you will always find niche audiences for "pure" forms of just about anything.

    As JohnMF said, if they've been enhanced too much it puts me off too. There's nothing worse than tackiness in art of any kind. It's like the person who doesn't dress well but tries really hard, it's awkward and unpleasant. Or like a Honda civic with a giant wing it just doesn't fly.

    Are pixels on a screen lacking in integrity compared to chemicals on film? Is this apples and oranges? They're both photos, right? Ok, how about a piece of "inkjet photo paper" with inkjet ink as opposed to lab print as opposed to a hand developed photo. All photos? Is it the amount of "work" and "sweat" and "devotion" behind the image or the image itself that defines it's quality? It all depends on how much of a snob one wishes to be. I can understand why someone with 30 years of photography and dark room experience might have been initially bitter that "kids these days" could slap on a few filters in PS and get a look.. but the true artists probably got over it pretty quick. Sure the bar is higher because there's way way more people doing photography and pounding out way way more photos using powerful editing software and having the internet to show their work--> yeah wow, quite a bit higher, but that just makes it more of a challenge if one wants to stand out. To the artist, good work is good work, period and will be appreciated as such so there's nothing to worry about. PS is just another color on the proverbial pallette.
     
  8. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    I think you have to take it on a picture by picture basis. Most people think of photoshop as creating ultra realistic images, so if you had an outstanding picture that looks like it belongs in a magazine but is not ultra realisitic looking, and you DID photoshop it (levels, curves, saturation, dodge/burn) I'd probably say no, it wasn't photoshoped.

    Of course if it was a friend of mine who is familiar with photography and or photoshop, I would say, yes to adjust the levels or curves and play with color saturation... or explain whatever I did.

    Hope this makes sense.
     
  9. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My best friend has only just got her first DSLR. She has been a "film person" all the while - always relying on the big lab to process her films and print her prints so she will like them.

    She was here yesterday and saw some of my pics and we immediately started the discussion on "How much is Photoshop then?" as to my final pics.

    And I asked her back how much was technology that she had NO control of whatsoever in her prints? And who was the one to take control over the technology that produced her prints?

    Why deny oneself more control over the making of one's own photo?

    You cannot really make a "blooper" become a "keeper" by putting it through Photoshop.

    The good photos, those that you will look at and say "Hey, this could go into a magazine", had to be a good starting point for some pp-treatment, else the result would not be of the "Hey!"-variety. Camera shake, wrong focus ... those things can be "wiped", but not "wiped off"... you can't miraculously make a blurry photo pin-sharp.

    Of course you can "repair" the odd compositional error such as tilted lines or a too centred pic that you want to put a bit off centre to make it more pleasing. But this kind of crop work has always been done in the darkrooms, too. Or in my own film/print days I would order a photo one size bigger and apply the scissors to it so it'd look the way I had wanted it to look from the start.

    So why not freely admit to the fact that in digital photography you have the opportunity to take producing the final result into your own hands more and you want to use that opportunity!? For it gives you more control - you, the photographer, the "author" of your own picture, who - if you take things seriously enough - can only wish to have the last say in how things turn out.

    But if you don't have a good enough photo to start out with you won't produce one "in Photoshop", either.

    As to "how far is too far" ... I also like playful manipulations if they are done with skill to produce an image in the end that could not have been produced with one photo only ... and I admire those who can do that. It goes a bit beyond basic photography, it is then more towards graphic art (if that is the word?). But it can be quite quite artistic and creative, too.

    In Photojournalism I feel that beyond cropping, levels adjustment, shadows/highlights, contrast, i.e. all the "normal" things, nothing should really be added or subtracted from a photo since photo journalism should represent and illustrate the truth. (But it is known that also in that field photos have been manipulated for years!).
     
  10. shorty6049

    shorty6049 TPF Noob!

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    i guess one thing i'm wondering, is where people stand on things like adding a moon to a photo without it, or maybe adding birds to a photo, or clouds to a cloudless sky? Do you feel obligated to tell people that you changed things? should you change things like that at all?, I just feel like whever i do something like that to a photo i feel like i need to explain it to anyone I show it to or i feel like i'm decieving them , or making them think i'm a better photographer than I am in some way...
     
  11. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    If someone is interested I will explain my process in a way that they can understand. I also mention that photoshop is just another medium. Not some controversial topic. The finished image is what counts.

    I am thinking that photoshop is now accepted (?) as the darkroom. 10 years ago we had a lot of questions. Plus the quality was not readily available. Occasionally my clients will ask if I can pshop something out. Generally I tell them that I can, but it is easier to shoot it the right way. I would like to add that pshop has saved the shot on more then one occasion.

    Love and Bass
     
  12. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    .. if you do an image for photojournalistic use ...

    I think it is also legitimate to have images look very different from reality.
    Else there would be no IR photography and other forms of art ;)
     

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