BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Vince Maggio
 

Better Phot or Graphic Art


I was wondering, since I am new to this site, I see a large amount of pictures not just enhanced with Photoshop but Highly manupulated.

Is it practice on this site to create a picture solely in PS or with you camera. I think PS is a great darkroom tool but there is a point that it turns a photograph into a digital illustration. I saw one picture the photogrpaher said was not touched by PS but Physically it is impossible for over 200 raindrops to be perfectly round and have the exact same reflection in every drop without any physical difference due to reflective angle. Pictures like this although amazing in my opinion take away from the art of photography and turn it into a art of graphical illustration. So the title say Better Photo, if I want to win do I need to manipulate my pictures into digital art?


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3/14/2006 9:02:47 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I see questions of this nature regularly in the Q&A.

I think any GOOD image stands a chance in the contest regardless of the amount of PS. I don't see any reason to change the name of the site or to generalize "a large amount of pictures" as "highly manipulated." Many are not and most winners ARE better photos.

I enjoy in-camera special effects but some don't "get it." I've heard members call it BBR (blurred beyond recognition). Should abstracts created with slow shutter speeds be eliminated from the contest because not everyone appreciates them?

Even a highly manipulated photo needs to be a good image prior to the Photoshop work. You really can't "fix" an inferior photograph by PSing it to death.

Just MHO :)


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3/14/2006 10:14:00 AM

 
Larry Lawhead
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/15/2002
  Ah, another edition of this silly "debate". Bring on the purists, let's all rant against the simplicity that the digital environment brings...

YAWN.


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3/14/2006 11:30:29 AM

 
Vince Maggio   Sharon, that is a good response. I am not against a Digital artwork however, I do get a bit turned off when the amount of digital art is what causes the image to win over a photo that is technically perfect without manipulation. There are great photographers that can do it all natural and others who can not. As newby here I just wondered since I saw an image that was highly manipulated and first thing said by the photographer was that it was untouched. Is there a stigma against retouched work?


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3/14/2006 11:31:34 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I wish we had the photo for an example but I can understand not sharing that. Is there no way the photo could actually be untouched? I rarely ever enter a photo that hasn't had at the minimum basic editing and often times I'll clone out distracting elements without making note of the fact. When I see an image that says no PS and it's obvious to me there's somthing going on I just say to myself, "Yeah right, whatever!" I would prefer a photographer say nothing if they've manipulated a photo very much than to be untruthful about it. BTW, I may not know the exact image you're referring to but I've seen some and wondered myself. Anyway, the contest is mostly fun. You just have to disregard the ones that try to sneak in something that's less than honest. I can't imagine the judges with all their experience don't notice it too when it happens. I figure it they don't mind I don't either :).


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3/14/2006 11:48:39 AM

 
Kara L. Hendricks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/18/2004
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  I see nothing wrong with the drastically altered images being featured in Digital Darkroom.. That's what it's there for.. As long as the original was in fact a REAL image taken with some sort of a camera.. Where I get offended is when people create images completely on their computers.. This is after, all a PHOTO contest.. So digital manipulation, from slight alterations to major overhauls, is fine, as long as you are honest about it.. I too see your aggravation as to an image that has most certainly been PS'ed, having the photographer state otherwise.. But the BP rules, do say, images including altered ones are excepted in all catagories, just be honest about what you have done.. Not hard.. But I see some just don't like to play fair..
Oh well, keeps the rest of us trying like mad cats to compete...lol


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3/14/2006 12:00:26 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  If it's never important enough to say which photo it is, it's never important enough to worry about it.


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3/14/2006 12:14:08 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  Valid point, Gregory, but it always peaks my curiosity :o)!


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3/14/2006 12:35:15 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  That's kinda what I meant. Every one of these that's come up that I've seen has never said which photo it is.


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3/14/2006 12:41:20 PM

 
Vince Maggio   Gregory I think you are off base, I am not here trying to flame others. If I was I would name the picture. I tried to use it as an example and if I looked I am am sure I could find many of them. I was trying to find out if this site leaned more towards digital art or photography. I think PS is a must in any toolbox. I just believe that a camera belongs in the toolbox also.


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3/14/2006 12:53:24 PM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  I'm fairly certain he's talking about the image with all the water drops that have a flag reflected in them.

If I'm correct, it's THIS ONE.

I thought the same thing when I first saw it - the reflection shouldn't be identical in all of the drops, there should be some differences in perspective. Then I noticed where the photographer said that it was a closeup of a 2-inch long area of the water droplets. I think this explains it. The image won 2nd place in the Details & Macro category.

I've looked at the photographer's gallery, and some of his images show that he is quite skilled at PhotoShop. But many of his images also show that he is a really good photographer. He says it's not PS'd - I would tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Just my opinion.

Chris


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3/14/2006 1:06:52 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Well I'm not shy about that.
http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=1647844&catID=9196&style=&contestCatID=8&rowNumber=16&camID=
It's the same water drops on glass with reflection of whatever's underneath the glass. Been done several times before, usually with flowers. It's realitively simple to do. Not photoshopped. There even is slight differences you can see in the water drops and in the glass.
This site leans towards whatever they think looks good at the moment. Try house cats. Tabbies and Maine Coons seem to be popular.


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3/14/2006 1:08:35 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  LOL Gregory! I've been wanting to borrow someone's tabby or Maine coon for a while now :o)!


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3/14/2006 1:36:05 PM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  I was going to add in that I had a completely different problem with the image being a winner, but decided to leave that out.

But, since Gregory opened the door . . .

I agree. Some repeated themes tend to keep showing up as Finalists or Winners. A different photographer than the one mentioned above entered two nearly identical images (water drops with flag reflection) last year, and both won second place. A couple months later he entered another (different drops, same flag) and got another Finalist.

Recently, there were 4 or 5 Finalists in the same monthly contest that were all closeups of a woman's face with a scarf or veil covering most of her face, leaving her eyes visible. I'm not saying these weren't good pictures, I just think the judges should be more selective. Having similar images always get picked encourages people to copy ideas instead of coming up with their own.

Again, just my opinion.


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3/14/2006 1:43:22 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  Hey Chris, you could always do a SP with a veil ;)!


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3/14/2006 1:47:55 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  If there's more variety in, there'll be more variety out.


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3/14/2006 7:54:23 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Recently, there were 4 or 5 Finalists in the same monthly contest that were all closeups of a woman's face with a scarf or veil covering most of her face, leaving her eyes visible. I'm not saying these weren't good pictures, I just think the judges should be more selective. Having similar images always get picked encourages people to copy ideas instead of coming up with their own.

Seems to be the trend. Everyone wants so badly to win on this site that they see a pic and go, "oh look, all it takes to win is a woman with a veil, and surely I'll be a winner." and wudduya know, the next month when winners are posted you look at recent images and they're all their own little versions of the winners.


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3/14/2006 8:22:57 PM

 
Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  DR?


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3/15/2006 1:50:47 AM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
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  Since there is a limited number of judges, I'm guessing they have their own little preferences, which is why we see similar shots/themes reappearing in the finals. Ya think?


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3/15/2006 3:53:59 AM

 
Glenn E. Urquhart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/3/2006
  Hi Vince - I agree with what you said. However, there is a category in BP, called Digital Darkroom. Any heavy manipulation belongs in this category! I myself, when submitting a photo always explain how much PS work was done. If I use Major Manipulation, I will spell out what was done in detail.
I find most members in this site are honest. Glenn


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3/15/2006 3:59:41 AM

 
Laura Clay-Ballard
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/8/2005
  My heavily manipulated images usually go into the digital darkroom category. It would be a safe assumption for anything in this category that it was manipulated. However, keep in mind, that BP will allow manipulated images in other categories.

I, too, was wondering about the scarf thing! LOL I was going to do a spoof SP but haven't gotten around to it, yet! LOL


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3/15/2006 6:50:46 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  onto the point of judging the contests, I really am begining to think that after looking at even half of the entrants, the judges resort to just throwing a dart and picking whatever they hit. Do you know how many submissions they get monthly? figure at least 28 from each member...lol Seriously though, It wouldnt surprise me one bit if the judges didnt just pick one so they could stop looking, I cant even look at ALL the entrants.. I cant!

You guys have to just stop taking this contest so seriously, I only have two finalists and I have entered sooo many photos its rediculas.. do I care? not really, because at the end of the day, its just a contest for fun.
Craig-


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3/15/2006 10:07:31 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  "Do you know how many submissions they get monthly? figure at least 28 from each member...lol Seriously though, It wouldnt surprise me one bit if the judges didnt just pick one so they could stop looking,"

This has to be an overwhelming task. I don't view all the entries each day either, but on days I do I can most generally tell if a photo is even worth bothering to view by looking at the thumbnail. I'm sure the judges view each photo, but anyone can make a call on composition or subject matter by a thumbnail. Some of the photos in "people" can be discarded just by a glance :o)!


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3/15/2006 10:24:28 AM

 
Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  I like to disect and analyze photos when there is a question about Photoshop usage. Anyone skilled in manipulation could probably pull these examples off too, but it would be time consuming.

Take a look at the photo that Chris mentioned. If you imagine a piece of glass with a flag under it and some space in between, this would be possible. Notice that the flag itself is facing the right way, but each relection is reversed which is what would happen. Now look at the picture as a whole, not focusing on the drops. There is also a shadowy figure which could very well be the photographer, there is also a shadow on the top right which might be leaves.

Just thought it would be fun to look deeper into the photo.


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3/15/2006 11:04:03 AM

 
Rebecca A. Steed
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/6/2005
  Here's another trend: the row of lights with the shadow.
Now I'm not dissing anyone who has won the contest b/c they repeat a style (water drops, shadows, veils etc.), but it would be nice if there was more variety. Or at least, if a photo has WON before (1st, 2nd or grand prize) it should not be eligible to win again if resubmitted.
I do understand the judges have a lot of pics to go through to judge - not to mention, teach classes, hold workshops and whatever else they do for a living.
I do agree partially with the digital art stuff. If you manipulate a photo so much it doesn't resemble the original, it should go into digital darkroom or monthly theme if it applies. I enjoy selective color images, but other than that and adjusting levels, I don't really get into darkroom stuff. Maybe someday....


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3/15/2006 11:41:29 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  Back to Vince's orginal question . . .

You asked, "Is it practice on this site to create a picture solely in PS or with you camera?"

I don't think I've ever seen an image here that was created solely in PS. If the starting point wasn't a photo taken with a camera by the photographer, then it shouldn't be posted here.

In my opinion, the difference between a photograph (that could go in any category) and digital art (that should go in the DD category) is whether or not the manipulation has become the "subject" of the photo.

For example, you take a portrait of a person, then apply any corrections, filters, selective coloring or whatever to it. If it still looks like a portrait of a person, then as far as I'm concerned, it should still go in the people category.

If you take a picture of a landscape, and add a full moon, or replace a dull sky with a blue one with nice puffy clouds, it's still a landscape to me.

If you take a picture of a flower (or whatever), then apply a spherical distortion filter or "photo ball" to it to the point that you can hardly tell what kind of flower you started with, then the subject is no longer a flower, it's a digital manipulation. A picture like this should go in Digital Darkroom.

Once again, just my opinion.

Chris


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3/15/2006 11:54:14 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  "I don't think I've ever seen an image here that was created solely in PS. If the starting point wasn't a photo taken with a camera by the photographer, then it shouldn't be posted here."

Chris, there has been software created images a few times, but not with PS. Someone here used to create images in some software called Bryce. They stated up front it was a "creation" though. Here's the link. It's a pretty incredible image I think, no photography though.

http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=518182


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3/15/2006 12:21:43 PM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  ya know what? I really dont care if it was a phot that was manipulated in PS.. if it started out as a photo, its a photo. Besides, this one were all talking about with the drops and flag....? its got us talking and thinking AND going back for another look... Doesnt it?
lol
Craig-


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3/15/2006 12:48:29 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  I think it's bull that CGI's can win here. Like the one Sharon posted created in Bryce. yeah how nice, it's a lovely image, really. but there NEVER was a camera involved. NO part of photography was used. This is betterPHOTO. Personally, I think this photo's Finalist medal should be deleted.


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3/15/2006 2:10:20 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  LOL Justin! What do you really think?!? :O)


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3/15/2006 2:12:09 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  hey that's just my humble opinion! lol. take that stuff to Worth 1000


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3/15/2006 2:24:13 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  The image created in Bryce was entered into Digital Darkroom. If you read the guidelines literally you'll notice they do allow created images in the DD.


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3/15/2006 2:26:12 PM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Oh...lol. well maybe I should read the guidelines more, but i'm just not a DD person (or a D&D person, lol) myself. oh well the more power to him. maybe i'll have to DL Bryce and play around.


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3/15/2006 2:30:52 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I'm kinda envious of some of the creations I've seen at Worth. Some of them have awesome PS skills! I wouldn't have a clue.


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3/15/2006 3:17:14 PM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
  Dare I confess? I have one image in my gallery, created entirely from scratch in PSE2. (And I say so, blatantly, in the photo description!) Fortunately, I don't think ANYONE will confuse it for a true photographed image!
For me, it was a learning exercise as I followed a lengthy 'recipe' published in a Photoshop mag; I liked the result (for being a newbie!) even though I ultimately failed to achieve the output goal of the magazine exercise. I had a BLAST playing with the tools in PSE, and learned a whole lot more about PSE at the same time. This was the reason I undertook the exercise in the first place. (I did enter it into the contest, in "Digital Darkroom" since that was the only category that allows such "scratch-created" art.)
But I have no plans to pursue more created images; I like shooting images too much!


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3/15/2006 6:52:33 PM

 
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