BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Dee Caraballo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/3/2003
 

When is Photoshopping cheating?


At what point is what we do to an image in Photoshop (or any software) not considered "cheating"? If someone merely uses a single filter (let's say they just click on Gaussian blur and take what comes out as the result),can they claim that as their work?

I love PS. I use it all the time and I make some crazy images and love it. But I was just curious how the community views it. Does one need to put in serious work (multiple filters, extraordinary creation) in order to be able to claim it, or is it just enough that you chose to make a change, any change, to be able to claim it as your creation?


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10/17/2005 11:28:28 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Very hard answer to type, this is more of a let's all meet up and have a debate over it type deal! And there's different views on it, just like politics, abortion, religion, etc. Nobody likes to talk about them but does make for interesting converstations that tend to lean into arguments! Anyways...here's how I view it. When you use PS to slightly enhance or correct small blemishes in your photograph, still photography, no doubt about that. This would include skin blemishes, creating bokeh, color correction, noise reduction, the little things.

Now when you start getting into completely manipulating files, creating posters, basically a lot of the pictures in digital darkroom, this is where I feel it falls away from photography and starts slipping into graphic design/arts. I don't want to give specific examples as not to offend anyone but a lot of these images in digital darkroom and special effects belong in Worth 1000. Just my opinion though. And for the record, at all times no matter how much photoslop you put into it, the end result is always yours to keep and belongs to no one but you.

Justin


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10/17/2005 11:41:34 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  If you're starting with a photograph that you created, then it is your creation, no matter what you do to it in post-processing.

In the same way, if you start with a photograph that someone else took, that photograph is the original photographer's property, no matter how much manipulation you apply in Photoshop.


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10/17/2005 11:53:26 AM

 
Dee Caraballo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/3/2003
  Ok, I think I worded this incorrectly. Maybe I should ask: When is it simply your photograph with a PS filter and when is it your CREATION.

With film, you created all the effects. Now, with a touch of a button, you can PS the same effects. Is this somehow less of an art because it's "pre-done" or is it yours because you chose the effect?

But I understand Justin's point, and I don't think of my manipulated photographs AS photographs. I prefer to think of them as "art" (though no one else may agree with me. LOL).

I was really thinking more of what makes it more than just a PS'd photo.

D.


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10/17/2005 12:05:54 PM

 
David A. Bliss   To me, using a preset filter with no user defined adjustments is like shooting on auto. You can shoot some great pictures on auto, but over the long term, it becomes obvious. Preset filters are the same thing. You can create the occasional great picture, but over the long term, it also becomes obvious. To question whether it is your creation by using preset filters would be the same thing as saying it's not your picture if you shot on auto. Wouldn't it then be the camera's creation? But the photographer made the decision on what the subject would be, and framed the shot. The same goes for PS. You decided what filters to use, even if you did use the presets with no tweaking.

But, like I said, it becomes obvious over the long term. If someone shoots everything with the camera on auto, they could post a handful of photos that came out very well. But once the portfolio gets larger, some flaws start to show, like incorrect exposure, not enough DOF, or too fast or slow of a shutter speed. The camera is not perfect, and it takes an artists touch to get everything right. The same goes with PS. If you rely on the program to make the right choice everytime, it will fail you.


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10/17/2005 4:14:15 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  You don't create all the effects with film anyway.


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10/17/2005 5:22:40 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Is the purpose of your photograph to inform or to entertain?

Any image alterations that create or remove elements of a photograph are considered unethical when it comes to photojournalism. But this goes deeper than image editing. How about cropping an image so that critical context is left out? Like, showing a picture of a woman crying in the background with a dead teenager in the foreground... but leaving out the woman's husband who is just out of the (cropped) frame and who is also seriously wounded? The photo implies one thing (woman grieving over the teen) but in reality the woman was grieving over her husband.

The standards are looser for artistic photographs. IMO, as long as you are honest about the image editing with your viewer, you are okay. For example there's an aerial photo of Miami Beach with two brown pelicans in it. Obviously they were added in, and the photographer states that he did this for artistic effect. I think that telling us what was changed lets us judge whether or not the photographer enhanced or detracted from the photograph with his editing.

And then there's the obviously-edited photographs that really are more in the line of paintings than photographs, and IMO should be judged accordingly.


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10/18/2005 1:25:28 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  It's not that deep or complicated to me. If you try to fool people, wrong. If you don't and say sure I did something to it, no problem.


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10/18/2005 2:17:04 AM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
Contact Terry
Terry 's Gallery
  (When is it simply your photograph with a PS filter and when is it your CREATION.}
Not Wanting To Sound Like A Politician And Dodge Your Question All Images Are Made...If You Started With An Image You Made In The Camera And Edited It In PS Its Still Your Image, If You Add A Few Images That You Made Into This Image Its Still Your Image.
Some People Complain About This,These Are Usually The Ones That Arent Capable Of Doing This Type Work (Or Dont Want To Take The Time To Learn)
I Agree You Should Declare That You Added A Few People To This Image ect..
I See Plenty Of Images That Has Extensive Digital Darkroom Work Done To Them That Wasnt Declared,I Assume Some People Do This As To Not Give There Secrets Away.
Ps Is Just Another Tool To Make Your Images More Pleasing To The Eyes:-)


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10/18/2005 5:26:28 AM

 
Nicole Kessel  
 
 
I think it is always your creation if you shoot it and you digitally render it. But, I hear what Justin is saying. There is a fine line between photographic enhancements and graphic design. I still consider them both art. But, graphic design can fall pretty far from traditional photography. Should an image that has been digitally altered be put in a seperate category? Well, I guess that depends upon just HOW altered the image is. I can post an example of what I mean.

I thought this original image was pretty boring so I played around with it a little. The three images on the left I think could be fairly placed in whichever category. The fourth image I think is right on that 50-50 line and the last is a definite digital darkroom creation.

Would love to hear more opinions on this.


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10/18/2005 11:36:56 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  I'm going with Nicole. The three she did on the left are good to go, I don't even have a problem with the top right one being considered photography. it is most defintely. the spherized one I personally would label Graphic Art and not pure Photography. Now she did use photography to get the result, but with the filters and effects, I would label it graphic art. and for the record I don't believe that graphic art isn't art. it is wholeheartedly, just a different form, just as painting and sculpting. just because new age digital effects were used doesn't deminish it's classification.

I guess when I'm looking at pictures I make my decision by asking myself "could that have been done with only a camera and no digital effects. in other words, "pre-production" compared to post-production. for example:
you have the original image, could easily shoot that with a normal camera. next down, little more background blur, a tad sharper, could've used a faster and sharper lens, different film. the third, could've used B&W film. the fourth, studio lights could've eliminated the background. the fifth, pretty hard to do conventionally. this in a nutshell is how "I" classify pictures. don't harrass me or try to insult me about it because I know that there are NO absolutes in photography and also this is all just MY opinion. lemme know what you think


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10/18/2005 3:33:35 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Direct all insults concerning Justin Goeden to HeatherYoung@betterphoto.com

cokin filters, film for portraits, film for more saturated colours, it's not really done just with a camera anyway.


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10/18/2005 3:53:03 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  do you mean me doing the insulting or other people insulting me?

Gregory,
In my last response I wasn't trying to insult anyone, I was just saying what I (in my OWN opinion) consider the difference between photography and graphic art. I wasn't trying to insult anyone and in no way was I saying graphic art is not an art.

Nicole, if in any way my statements did offend you (or anyone else for that matter) here's my public apology. I apologize for offending you, it's just hard to completely explain with typing what's on your mind because there is no emotions on the internet.

Gregory, if you were defending me, thank you and ignore what I just wrote. Again it's just hard to tell decifer exactly tone of anyone's response.

Justin


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10/18/2005 7:44:21 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  HAHA I am such a tard. I read gregory's line and I was like "who was insulting who here? I was so confused then I reread my post where it said "don't go insulting me" (kinda joking by the way) so now I figured it out. man it's just late and my brain is fried. i've been playing with my new macromedia tonight and finally got my first flash thing going. if anyone cares it's here. cya'll tomorrow when i'm done being a stooge! lol


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10/18/2005 7:58:13 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  -"HAHA I am such a tard"-

It's official


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10/18/2005 9:52:28 PM

 
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