Is Using Editing Software Cheating?

ricepudding

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Ok, I'll admit this is probably an ignorant question. I'm totally brand new to photography and waiting my first non point and shoot in the mail right now. I've been looking at some of the beautiful photos on these forums. They are awesome. But I'm wondering, a good handful look like they've been brightened up with pretty colors and effects from Photoshop or similar programs. Is that cheating? I mean can't I take any old average photo and make it look pretty neat with software? I don't know.....not trying to insult anyone because I truly don't know what I'm talking about but I figured I'd ask to see what you more experienced photographers think about this.

Thanks for your input.
 

bill04

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Post processing has been around since the dawn of photography. Different methods have been used throughout the years. It just happened to be that computers are now paired with digital cameras and it is extremely easy to do with software. If you wanted, you can achieve the same "pretty" effects using different techniques with film. It is all about what you are attempting to capture, your message, and your style. There are some people who do not mess with their images at all. Think about this though... what is cheating when it comes to photography? Is it anything you do not normally see with your eyes? Sometimes, that is boring, and getting away from reality for a couple seconds can be the beast part of looking at a picture. Other times, pictures should be realistic. It all depends.
 

Buszaj

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Well, I think that if you just touch up your photos, to make them a bit brighter, or crop something annoying out of your photo, then that's not really cheating. I mean, post-processing has been used in film too, I *think*. But if you take a picture and make it something completely different, like the videos you see on the internet, or some ads, then that may be pushing it. Just my 2 cents.
 

skieur

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Among pros it is generally considered that all digital photos require postprocessing. The digital processor can simply not handle the range of exposure, tones, and colour that the eye can see. One advantage to photo magazines and books by the way is that it can change the way you view photos. In simply looking at a photo you may not see anything wrong with it, but when you are shown the same photo colour-corrected in postprocessing, the improvement is striking.

skieur
 
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ricepudding

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So then editing goes hand in hand with the creativity of photography.....Hmmm, just another thing for me to concentrate on learning I guess!
 

nossie

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The goal is to "make" the best picture.
To do this we have an array of tools in front of and behind the "click" moment. Are lights and reflectors used to affect the image? A range of lenses? What about props to enhance the content?
How many times have you waited and waited for somebody or a car to move out of your shot and maybe risked losing the weater or something else desireable in the shot? So why not click now and airbrush/clone out the offending article later? In hardware studios all sorts of tricks were used to from sandwhiching negaties (the newly weds framed in a wine glass for classic 80s shot), over/under exposing, applying gels and other filters.
I think do whatever you want to make a photograph perfect, remove a pimple, whiten teeth, crop, copy in artifacts from other pictures like when I borrowed a tree from one pic to hide a house in another landscape, apply filters (I know one guy who won't use lens filters anymore prefering to apply everything in PS)

Make a great picture!
 

guppyman

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I think there is nothing wrong with using image editing software. The bottomline is in creating nice images..

Just my opinion.
 

Rock

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I guess the way I see it is that I want my images to look the way they did with the human eye. I will not take them to freakish levels or alter them to be something different than what I saw but a little sharpening or color adjustment may be needed as the camera will not always capture the subject as you saw it.......
 

Campbell

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I don't see anything wrong with using editing software. I think that is half the fun, getting to mess around with different techniques to improve your image.

However, I think some things like HDR that completely distort reality are a little iffy.
 

Sheriff

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OK, what is more important? Just capture a picture, or create an image? For me it is the image, for a newspaper reporter it will be the capture of picture. I will use any means I can to create the image I'm after, and it does not matter what I use for it, because photography isn't always about reality, if you are a forensic photographer then it is important, then you have different goals, and camera is your toll to those goals. It's all about your perspective, your vision, your eye... There is no such thing like cheating when you're after an image, not a picture for a newspaper story telling about some important stuff. Oh, by the way a message for those who think you can "cheat" in software to make you look a better photographer: you can't, no software will help you if your focusing isn't right or your composition is totally wrong.... if you don't have the foundation for your image, no software will help you. So, the bottom line is: be creative with your camera and any other tools to get that image you're after and no one will say: oh, that's photoshop who've done it, they'll say: this guy/girl is a genius, I love this image....
 

epp_b

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Of course not. Just because using a mouse and keyboard is easier than using a dark room and masks does not make it cheating. It makes it efficient.

I mean can't I take any old average photo and make it look pretty neat with software?
Not unless you are a by-hand artist that edits their imagery pixel-by-pixel. The exposure and colour balance needs to be correct. Post processing can only exaggerate these elements. A poor exposure is a poor exposure that processing will exaggerate poorly.

A boring photo that ignores the basic elements that make good art in the first place will always be a boring photo. No technology can make up for lack of creativity.
 

Josh66

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Editing doesn't make bad pictures good; in fact, bad editing can very easily make a good picture bad. I don't care what you did to it, even the most extreme PP you can think of - if the end result looks good, why does everything that happened before that point matter?

If for some reason it's important for the image to be "unaltered" (evidence in court, stuff like that), well - that's different, and I think there are different rules.
 

TheUndisputed

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IMO, it can be cheating to an extent. The guy above me claims you can't photoshop a picture good. I disagree with that. I know of a photographer very personally that sucks at photography, and makes up the slack in Photoshop. In fact, I know a model he uses personally, and she is thick (kinda fat) and ugly, and his Photoshop work makes her look like a supermodel. So, you CAN photoshop a bad picture into a good one. You can also PP a good photo into a bad one.

It is only cheating if you use Photoshop as a crutch to make up the distance, when you can't do it behind the viewfinder. Every image will look better with post processing done to it, just the amount of processing you use is the question. Photoshop is a digital photographers best friend in today's age.

The principles of photoshop have been around since early photography. Examples of this are development techniques involving dodging and burning, and enhancing saturation. So, technically, Photoshop is the darkroom for digital photographers.
 

Just Jack

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I had the same thought too until a friend of mine who got her BA in commercial/industrial photography explained that you do the same thing when developing film in a dark room. However when I put up my images for C&C, I leave them as is (except for resizing for web) to get initial critique. After that I'll follow up with a little post processing either for artistic effect or based on the critique whether I might need to saturate the photo a bit more, sharpen it, or heighten the contrast.
 

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