BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Heidi R. Geise

Is Photo Editing Allowed in Contest?

I am wondering if photo editing is allowed in entries for BetterPhoto's monthly contest. I don't do a lot but have played around with simple effects in Picasa.

To love this question, log in above
2/5/2012 11:42:04 AM

Monnie Ryan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/25/2008
  In short, yes. The submission guidelines say that digital manipulation is NOT taken into account (that is, entries are not separated based on a number of things, including whether or not they've been digitally manipulated, are in black & white, etc.

To love this comment, log in above
2/5/2012 12:14:55 PM

Heidi R. Geise   Thank you. I, also, really enjoyed your photos of lighthouses. My dad was a big enthusiast.

To love this comment, log in above
2/5/2012 1:18:41 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
  Silver Falls South Falls 102
Silver Falls South Falls 102
f/22, 3.2s, iso100, 27mm
© Carlton Ward
Canon EOS 5D Mark ...
Hello Heidi,
If it's a digital image, it has to be edited (processed) to convert the raw information into an actual photograph. I know what you mean, but I wanted to point out that all images are edited (JPEGs are processed in the camera) and Raw files by us. Raw files have to be processed and converted to a tif/jpg for displaying/printing.
I love images that come out of the camera looking perfect but we sometimes don't have the perfect lighting, exposure or scene, so we have the ability to use many of the same methods that were used in film (burning/dodging, layering, spot removal, etc.), and these techniques were incorporated for Photoshop. Ansel Adams used to shoot at f/94 but then he would spend weeks/months working a single image as his philosophy was that it is not a real photograph until you see the print.
My opinion is that it is my art, and there are no rules if I am to convey what I want to say with an image. In addition to Photoshop, I use Topaz Adjust4, PhotoMatix (by HDRSoft), Corel Painter X, Portrait Professional, NIK, and a couple of others. I do understand that over-edited images sometimes look terrible, and my method when learning a new tool/filter is to push the editing to extremes and then back it off until I find my happy place :)
BetterPhoto looks at editing as an integral part of digital photography and have a specific contest category for extreme/advanced editing techniques (Digital Darkroom).
I believe BetterPhoto judges look at the image itself and grades for the overall look of the image with composition/exposure/editing being the fundamental criteria. And when you can use a software to enhance the image, it is viewed in a positive light.
Look at the image, does it convey what you want to say? Is there an editing tool that will make this image reflect what you want to say? It's your art and you may be able to make an image tell different stories with different edits.
I will include an image that on its own is very beautiful (the wonderful hike of 11 waterfalls at Silver Falls state park, Or) but in experimenting with a new filter I created a different voice. Its the only time I used this filter on an image but I liked the results enough to display it. Some people will love it and others will not and how it is interpreted by the viewer is "in the eye of the beholder".
Hope this helps,

To love this comment, log in above
2/5/2012 1:25:37 PM

Heidi R. Geise   It does help. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the beautiful photo. I am familiar with Silver Falls State Park. A great location.

Thanks again.

To love this comment, log in above
2/5/2012 2:46:20 PM

Linda Eodice
BetterPhoto Member
Linda's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: Digital Photography Basics
4-Week Short Course: Fundamentals of Great Exposure
  I often see image finalists that are edited extensively. However, this certainly isn't a requirement to be chosen for the monthly contest. Best of luck!

To love this comment, log in above
3/5/2012 10:37:41 AM

Debra S. McBride
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/1/2004
  Thank you Carleton!! It is my personal belief that the end product is the subject of judgment, the "object of art" no matter the process used to achieve. There is a skill even in the application of filters, with so many possibilities out there. After all, what difference does it make if you slap a filter onto your camera at moment of capture, or in post image processing?

To love this comment, log in above
3/18/2012 8:22:48 AM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.