How much can a photo be edited?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Brieff, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. Brieff

    Brieff TPF Noob!

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    When is it too much? I love playing with my image manipulation programs. But I would like to know your opinion. How much editing you accept? I'll show you some of my worst edits...

    too short pants on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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    minaaaa on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    me.. window reflects the sunset on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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    Kaci Brown - Unbelievable on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    Love doesn't make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile. on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    Can I keep it under control? on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Some of them are quite old.. ;D

    I understand that photography is taking a photograph with a CAMERA. Is there a point when a photograph is not anymore a photograph if you edit it? I know that it's much easier to get the white balance and exposure and everything right while your taking the photo. But I'm mostly talking about textures and filters and those things. I tend to edit my photos quite a lot and I've got few comments that I edit too much.

    What do you say?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There is no definitive answer to this. It's up to each person to decide how much is too much, and when a photo is no longer considered a photo.

    Remember that photo editing is not something new. Before digital, there were those who would spend hours in the darkroom, tweaking and editing their images.
     
  3. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    It is up to you to fulfill the vision that you saw when snapping the shutter. That means different things to different people.

    Love & Bass
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As much as YOU want it to be. Not as much as we tell you YOUR photo should be.
     
  5. Mendoza

    Mendoza TPF Noob!

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    Yes I think there are some things that tend to turn a photograph into some sort of photomanipulation, though even more subjective than these criteria is the importance an individual places on distinguishing between the two. Some are of the opinion that it doesn't really matter how a photographic image was created, others are compelled to draw a distinction between a "true" photograph and a "manipulated" photograph, and the rest fall somewhere in between. A lot also depends on the place ones images are seen. An entirely open, public forum is different than a photographic forum. In the latter, I feel personally it's important to be honest about how the results were achieved. For instance, if a photo came out looking a specific way as a result of applying a digital effect--vs. achieving the same look in-camera--it is for me important to let people know what was done to the image. But there are few absolutes.
     
  6. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Perhaps the basic rule of photography is that any technique, method, approach, processing choice etc. MUST contribute to the overall technical quality and the artistic/visual impact of the photo or it should NOT be done, assuming that the objective is a great photo.

    So, to put it another way, as long as editing contributes positively to the technical and artistic quality of the photo, then it does not matter how much is done, it is still correct/right/appropriate.

    skieur
     
  7. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The OK/not OK tip point depends on either your opinion or the opinion of your target viewer(s). There's not much else to say.
     
  8. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    For me, there is a line where you cross from photography to graphic art. I'm sorry but if I want a photo of you with your hair on fire I'm going to have to light you up.

    I saw a picture that the artist said had taken eight hours to produce and was composed of parts of three photographs. The results were quite pleasing but I wouldn't consider it a photograph.

    I have a friend who was in a photography group composed of professional photographers who wanted to have fun and compete. He has talked about their discussions about how much manipulation will be allowed in their competitions. I suspect the discussions will be never ending.
     
  9. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Many moons ago, when I first began shooting, whatever camera gave me is what I stayed with.
    Wasn't a problem for work related stuff - since it went out to the lab and they did all the goodies to it BUT was a problem for personal stuff since lab I used was a cheap one w/ NO CORRECTIONS. So slowly got into PPing things.
    My personal preference is 3 styles
    1) completely weird looking things - obviously unnatural, change backgrounds, add weird colors, etc
    2) Natural - minor touch ups of enhancements - remove blemishes, wrinkles, sharpnes eyes, lips, jewerly.
    3)mix of the two: by far the most self satisfying and yet the hardest thing, at least for me. Key is to come up with something that will make a good natural portrait, of the bride lets say, and add something to it that you can't really put your finger on BUT will enhance the image. It's a recent idea that I've been playing with in the studio. So far its been a 50/50 success. Some like it, others - b/c its different and they can't identify what it is - don't like it.
     
  10. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Your target viewers won't notice your postprocessing if has been skillfully done and if it hasn't, then you certainly did go too far.

    skieur
     
  11. probe1957

    probe1957 TPF Noob!

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    IMO, just because a photo is heavily edited doesn't mean it's without artistic merit.
     
  12. bhphotography

    bhphotography TPF Noob!

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    I checked out a few of the photos you linked to, and they don't seem overly manipulated to me.

    I think what really matters is that it's done tastefully and properly. If your going to slim down somebody, don't forget about the shadow sort of idea. If a photo still looks relatively normal, I don't see a problem with it.
     

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