How much photo editing is too much?

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

  1. Trenton Romulox

    Trenton Romulox TPF Noob!

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    I see people that take their images and add surreal effects that could never be achieved without software, and I'm okay with that as long as the photographer is making everyone aware that the photo was heavily edited.

    But what about the photos that look real, but had a flower added to them, or had something that was there completely wiped out, and other such things, but the photographer doesn't tell anyone? Is that okay?

    I personally have a huge issue with someone changing their photo without making people aware. I've only been at photography for a few months, and I've already ran across dozens of situations where I wish I could change something drastically in my photo, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I guess I just have a moral affliction with doing that.

    Anyways, what do you all think about it? Where do you stand? How much alteration is too much?
     
  2. loser101

    loser101 TPF Noob!

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    I don’t have a problem with editing too much. hell i do it lol. The way i see a photograph it self isn’t reality (i know ppl will argue with me) because you take life and stopping it, freezing it on a piece of paper or screen. If its not reality in the first place why not edit it? I think its okay to do anything as long as you think it makes the picture better....

    Thats how i feel at least....

    -oleg

    p.s. as efergoh pointed out journalism is totally diffrent
     
  3. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    Personally, I think it all hinges on what kind of photo it is to begin with. Is it art or is it journalism. Yes, I think journalism can be art, but journalism, if it is responsible, is 100% unedited (or rather unaltered).

    If it is purely a fine art print, I don't think that there are any limitations. I think art is in the eye of the artist and ultimatly in the eye of the beholder. I've seen B&W silver prints that one would think were photoshoped digital images. Manipulations have been done from the dawn of photography. If we draw the line and say no more manipulations, then we effectivly remove the "art" from the art. Photography will become nothing more than a way to record or show how something looks.

    I think what makes a picture into a work of art is how it is created, be it in the darkroom or the desktop. I think that buyers, critics, and views will decide how far is too far buy voting with their pocketbooks.
     
  4. Trenton Romulox

    Trenton Romulox TPF Noob!

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    Great replies guys. I think that most everyone feels the same way about photojournalism as we all do, no altering.

    I don't know, maybe I'd do more editing if I was better at Photoshop :). But I just have an issue with making big changes to photos or even small ones if you're adding or subtracting something. I guess that's just how my father brought me up, he always taught me to get what you get and take what you get. Before he gave me my first camera a few months ago, he sat me down and told me that if I used my computer (awesome Mac Pro :) ) to edit my photos he'd never buy me another thing for my camera. I'm not sure that's fair of him, but it definitely made me think. I wish I was old enough to work and make my own money so I could experiment more with my work. But it's definitely helped me not become dependant on the fact that I could always "fix it later." It's helped me take better photos the first time.
     
  5. loser101

    loser101 TPF Noob!

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    I dont mean to offend but my question to you father would be is it okay to make movies like Pan's Labyrinth, Star Wars etc. How about propping stuff like ppl do in still life stuff. I mean thats not really the same but its not all that diffrent either, you are changing reality....

    -oleg
     
  6. oldnavy170

    oldnavy170 TPF Noob!

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    I personally feel that editing a photo only makes a great photo into an awesome photo!!!! It helps fine tune the whole photograph.
     
  7. Trenton Romulox

    Trenton Romulox TPF Noob!

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    I think it's mostly that he wanted to get the point across that I should try and get a good shot without having to alter it later digitally. I think he was going overboard to prove a point...even if that point isn't valid. I'm not sure exactly what he was trying to prove, but I'm pretty sure he just said because he wants me to be sucessful without being dependant on after shot editing. He has no issue with Pan's Labyrinth or anything like that, he just wants me to be as good as I can be without a computer. I think.
     
  8. loser101

    loser101 TPF Noob!

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    I can sort of see what he means acaully, i just like to argue. Its alot harder to get a good picture with out editing. i think if u start out getting good pictures with out photoshop when you do start using photo shop your picture will be that much better.

    -oleg
     
  9. Trenton Romulox

    Trenton Romulox TPF Noob!

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    Who doesn't like a good debate?:)

    And yeah, I respect what my dad was saying and I can definitely see how he meant it to be a positive influence rather than a negative restriction on my work.
     
  10. snappin

    snappin TPF Noob!

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    Just another take on the subject here. I'm very new so I may very well not know what I'm talking about.

    One thing I have realized (and its become my personal motivation) is that using photoshop to make a good picture great is a LOT less work than using it to make a mediocre photo good. Personally I would rather spend more time out taking pictures than at the computer fixing them.
     
  11. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    What makes you think that it cannot be done without software?

    Jerry Uelsmann and Misha Gordon do heavy manipulation including adding elements from other negatives, and it's all done in the traditional darkroom, with the final product being a silver gelatin print.

    http://www.uelsmann.com/
    http://www.bsimple.com/home.htm

    If your intent is fine art, there is no limit in my mind. What ever method takes you to the final result that you wish to achieve.
     
  12. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The most extrem thing I ever did was editing one tourist out of an image who was really ruining the scene ... But that is a rare occasion that I consider something like this. All my other editing is restricted to exposure corrections/levels, removing dustspecs, altering the cropping and sometimes brightening up parts of an image which are essential to the composition but I did not have a reflector with me to do it on the spot.

    If an image should document a scene, then it should be unaltered regarding what is in the image, and contrast and levels should be adjusted within reason. If the sky was grey, and not blue, .. well ,then leave it grey!

    In an image though it created as something which was not there without the photographer, then amlost everything is allowed ...

    By the way, reflectors, or spraying water on flowers, or arringing objects to a still life, or removing that rubbish at the beach before you take the shot, that all for me falls into the same category of "scene maniplulation" as can be done with photoshop. It is ok if you create something, but it is not OK if you document something IMHO.
     

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