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Photography Question 
Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004

Portraits- heavily retouched winners

Hi everyone. I used to participate a lot in BP, in the forums and the contest, and after taking a long break, I'm back. I just went through last month's winners in the 'people' category and noticed that all of the winners except perhaps the first place winner and maybe another one had pretty heavy retouching done to them-- either diffuse glow, a skin smoothening filter, or some other kind of digital effect filter. I used to really love competing at BP because sometimes really unique and sometimes more gritty images were chosen as winners, but the key was that they all had some kind of impact that really grabbed your attention.

I know there are those who are very pro-filters who will think I am a party pooper for expressing some disappointment at this. I shoot in RAW and do contrast and white balance adjustments to my photos but usually don't do much to them other than minor dodging/burning. I'd just like to see if anyone else has any opinions/observations about this... is this still a place where a true photo is appreciated?


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3/23/2009 9:19:10 PM

Tiia Vissak
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/1/2007
  Photos altered with digital effects seem to be present in every category and as some of quite heavily altered images have won, it's no wonder that others also wanting to win have added a bit extra especially as BP does not have a clear list of allowed and prohibited effects (in Digital Darkroom, of course, all effects are allowed). So, there are no clear lines between categories, but, anyway, it's hard to draw them: for example, I've seen photos of a bee on a flower in Flowers, Animals, Details and Macro, Monthly Theme and a couple of other places.

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3/24/2009 12:20:36 AM

David W. Orias
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/16/2007
  Unfortunately, you lost me when you used the term "true photo". They are all true photos. Members could accuse you of crossing their line. They prefer the photos "out of the camera" with no dodging or burning. It is a slippery slope and you just appear to be farther down the slope than other people but not as far down as others.

Follow your vision. Judges are like you and me. I am sure there are some judges who agree with you and others who do not. Since you never know what the judges will like, submit your style and let the chips fall where they will.

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3/24/2009 6:54:52 AM

Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2005
  I can understand your point. I look at it another way, especially where portraits are involved. I think I owe it to the person I shoot to make them look as good as possible. I shoot a fair amount of senior photos. So I do everything I can to clean up complexions. I brighten eyes a bit and I whiten teeth. Film photographers do/did the same thing. Instead of using a photoshop diffusion filter, they used a diffuser on their lens.

Hopefully customers and potential customers see my work and appreciaite the effort I put in. Maybe our definition of a "true photo" is a gray area. I rarely enter the contest so I won't try to speak for the judges.

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3/24/2009 8:38:31 AM

Nancy Grace Chen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/18/2004
  Thanks for the comments and for not bashing me. Just wanted to get some opinions. Maybe what I am concerned about is that I feel that I am seeing less diversity in style than I used to see in the winners. I guess I will keep watching and see what happens.

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3/24/2009 9:48:34 AM

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