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Photography Question 
Susan Jane Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2005
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Acceptable Focus & Manipulation


 
 
Hi. I've been wondering what is and is not acceptable in digitably manipulating a photo that one, say, would like to enter into a contest, as well as what is or not acceptable in terms of range of focus, particularly in macros.

The images are perhaps too small to see here but one is the 7th in my gallery and the other the second to the last one on the first page.

In the first horizontal image, the leg which seems to be pointing towards the camera is out of focus. I was playing around with it a bit to see if I could define some edges with photoshop to make it look more in focus. Is this acceptable, or is it considered cheating? I stopped almost immediately because I feared I wouldn't get it right, but I did clone a little bit of the bottom right edge of that leg up a bit. Also, in regards to this photo, is it considered to be unacceptable, according to the rigid standards of contest judges, that the leg be out of focus while the rest is sharp?

As to the second vertical image. As you can see the head is the only thing in focus. Is this unaccepable? Also it is a bit dark due to the lighting, but I actually put the lighting in such a way as to reveal some of the translucence of the insect. In order to bring out the great colours in the eyes, I selected that portion of the face and lightened that area only. In this also, is this considered acceptable manipulation? Any other comments or critiques on these photos would be greatly welcomed.

Thanks!


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11/4/2005 7:19:45 PM

 
Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
  Hi Susan!What Your Describing Is Acceptable And Not Considered Cheating And Should Be Done! Edit Your Images The Very Best You Can Make Them Look Great And Stand Tall! What Your Calling Out Of Focus Is Actually A Shallow DOF And Acceptable As It Makes The Focal Point Stand Out Better!Nice Job:-)


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11/5/2005 5:16:18 PM

 
Jennifer W
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/26/2005
  I actually like the shallow dof in the second one; it's a nice picture. Good job.


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11/5/2005 5:23:44 PM

 
Susan Jane Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2005
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Thanks so much Jennifer and Terry for your generous sharing of comments. Actually, I made a mistake in uploading and intended to upload the second one you see here and another. I immediately recognized my mistake and sent the question again with the correct photos. So, the first one was not the one I was talking about. I'll include it here.

I'm also grateful for your comments because they drew attention to your galleries and provided me with an enjoyable half hour of appreciation!

Thanks!


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11/5/2005 8:22:51 PM

 
Susan Jane Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2005
Contact Susan Jane
Susan Jane's Gallery
 
 
 
Thanks so much Jennifer and Terry for your generous sharing of comments. Actually, I made a mistake in uploading and intended to upload the second one you see here and another. I immediately recognized my mistake and sent the question again with the correct photos. So, the first one was not the one I was talking about. I'll include it here.

I'm also grateful for your comments because they drew attention to your galleries and provided me with an enjoyable half hour of appreciation!

Thanks!


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11/5/2005 8:23:20 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Very reputable organizations are wrestling with you problem. As such, they're working to develop a definition as to "creative photography." And, it's not easy.

So, you take a picture - it's not bad. The person in the picture has a brown jacket. You use Photoshop to change the color from brown to red. In my Gallery I did just that in "The Photographer," and the image was awarded "Best-in-Show" during a competition at my camera club. But, is it the image I took or was it the image I "created?"

We all have to make a judgement call. However, my real issue with using any editing software lies in the inequities associated with the software packages [certianily, one can make more and better "adjustments" using Photoshop CS than Picasa. And, then, there's the time - does everyone have the hours and hours to sit at their computers to make simplistic to sophisticated editorial changes.

At a recent meeting of my camera club, a presenter of Show and Tell offered the results he produced with Elements and CS on about 60 pictures. The only thing that was certain is that, if he started with better pictures, the final results could have been magnificent, not just better.

Spend your time shooting; let editing worry about itself.


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11/8/2005 6:44:50 AM

 
Susan Jane Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2005
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Susan Jane's Gallery
  Thanks for your very informative comments. I've been wondering about this question from the word go. I noticed in a comment inserted with your first place winner photo that it just goes to show that the type of camera isn't necessarily the most important thing, and this is a question related to the topic. I've been struggling to produce images with my very limited camera capacities that might compare with what I see taken with DSLRs. In an answer to another question I asked here, two people commented that it isn't the camera but the person behind it. I am grateful for those comments, because it drove me back to the drawing board with a vengeance, determined not to let my less sophisticated camera become an excuse. But, in the struggle to, for example, achieve a wider range of crisp focus in macro in hundreds upon hundreds of shots, it is clear to me that my camera does have limitations and there are things I am not going to be able to do until I can buy that DSLR and the lenses to go with it (and then learn how to use it).

So, as with inequities in software, there are, perhaps, inequities in just about everything in life. And I guess, if you're determined and serious enough, you can overcome them and tighten your belt enough and work hard enough to get what you feel you need.

The question, perhaps, is not whether there are inequities. It might, rather, be what the word "photography" comprises. Even from the time of non-digital days, skill and creativity in the darkroom was still an important aspect of the art. Photo editing takes tremendous skill and creativity. Even the most sophisticated programmes will not compensate for lack in these areas. We might look at technological development as something that opens up ever new doors to being able to exercise our creativity.

You've really got me thinking about this! Whenever we take a photo, it seems like we are, in a sense, "recreating". We are taking what's there and casting it in a new light, highlighting its unique characteristics from a new angle that surprises and delights. We see nothing wrong with creating various artificial and unnatural lighting conditions while taking a shot--a lot of photo-editing is doing just that too, but after a shot is taken. We use our tools, a camera and its various settings, sufficient light, a tripod and whatever else to produce crisp images, and with photo-editing, we also use tools to help produce crisp images---our goal is to produce crisp images (or soft ones) however that is achieved.

But the real question seems to be whether producing images of what was NOT originally there can be called "photography". But that gets really complicated. If a photo is touched up and unsightly blemishes removed from a face--should we then not call it photography? So, the traditionalists might find that a line needs to be drawn.

After reflection, I think the rest of us should perhaps just have fun and do everything we can to enhance, portray and even create beauty.

My original question was prompted by fear that I might be inadvertantly "cheating" if I entered a contest with a photo that I had manipulated to compensate for an unfocused shot by re-drawing lines. Just wanted to make sure! Thanks for giving all that food for thought!


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11/8/2005 10:13:29 AM

 
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