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02-21-2010, 03:20 PM   #16
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A lot has to do with your end in photography. In journalism, it is not OK to touch up photos, to clone out things, etc. While you can adjust levels, reduce noise and tweak shadows, your photo should be appear as is and not altered in a significant way.

At the same time, for most other purposes, it isn't a big deal to do some massaging of the photo. The problem that I have is not that these things are done, but they are done in such a heavy handed way as to look odd, silly or garrish. HDR photos can be very striking, but more often, they look like they come from a video game.


Last edited by Rondec; 02-23-2010 at 01:27 PM.
02-22-2010, 10:53 PM   #17
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This from an artilce from the NY Times website:

Do you adjust lighting in photo-editing programs like Photoshop?

I never do any [post-production] manipulation because most of my career was spent using film. If I manipulated the photos, I would feel that everything I did was fake. I might take a scratch out but I don’t adjust lighting — that’s creating something that wasn’t there. When photographers start doing that, it can’t be called artwork.

Harry Benson


How to Take Better Low-Light Photos - Gadgetwise Blog - NYTimes.com

Benson's website:
HARRY BENSON PHOTOGRAPHY
02-23-2010, 01:13 PM   #18
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You can bet that if Ansel Adams were to have lived in the digital age, he would have been a heavy photoshop user.
02-23-2010, 03:50 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
You can bet that if Ansel Adams were to have lived in the digital age, he would have been a heavy photoshop user.
Absolutely. He might even, shock horror *drumroll*, have played with HDR!

02-23-2010, 06:13 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by thrillerb Quote
This from an artilce from the NY Times website:

Do you adjust lighting in photo-editing programs like Photoshop?

I never do any [post-production] manipulation because most of my career was spent using film. If I manipulated the photos, I would feel that everything I did was fake. I might take a scratch out but I donít adjust lighting ó thatís creating something that wasnít there. When photographers start doing that, it canít be called artwork.

Harry Benson


How to Take Better Low-Light Photos - Gadgetwise Blog - NYTimes.com

Benson's website:
HARRY BENSON PHOTOGRAPHY
I wonder who used to do his dark-room manipulations for him?

Anyway maybe, unlike most of us, he and his equipment are so perfect that no manipulations are necessary?
02-23-2010, 09:07 PM   #21
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I'd respond - you're asking the wrong question

The more I play with photography, the more I realize how much it's all a construction. The camera can't see what the eye sees, so right from the start we are forced to choose - will I make this photo look as the scene looked to my naked eye? That's going to take one set of techniques, starting at the camera and ending in post processing. Will I make this photo hyper real in color, contrast, subject, angle, distortion? That's another set of techniques. Will I make this photo primarily about evoking an emotion in the viewer? Yet another set of techniques. On and on.

From the moment you realize that the camera will never do what your eye does, you are on the road of manipulating your photos to one degree or another. Recognizing that frees you up tremendously to do as much or as little as you please
02-24-2010, 03:49 PM   #22
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Even in the 'good old days' of film there was still alteration done. Dodging, burning, chemicals used, grade of paper...
02-24-2010, 07:49 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by whelmed Quote
So, I've just signed myself up for istockphoto and I've been looking at various photographs that have gotten over 1000 downloads (basically what I'd consider to be good return on actually posting something there), and I just can't help but think that people on there are cheating.

There are many shots where it's just impossible to get the skyline, the horizon, and the ground / focal spot to happen with that kind of lighting. The only thought I can have is that these people are taking 1, 2 or 3 shots of different shutter speed and combining them in photoshop to create proper lighting conditions. Pic's such as: spring sunset | Royalty Free Stock Photo Image | iStockphoto.com which is one of the top downloads this past 3 months just seem impossible to me to have that blue of a sky. The lens-flare would just destroy a photo like that - furthermore, there is no way that you can capture the grass in that colour while still getting the sun to not completely over-expose. Another one, Football Excitement | Royalty Free Stock Photo Image | iStockphoto.com - it's obviously a fake shadow (see the hockey one below).

So is that best way to make cash with stock-photo's, through digital augmentation? Basically just being better with photoshop than the average person and putting together something that looks interesting?
I can understand the frustration of competing for $ in the playing field.

I take terrible photos, I don't attempt to sell any photos, nor will I ever buy photos from anywhere. Having that said, what people see ultimately is the end product. The means of how that product is made may matter little to them.

Its not limited to photography, but most frequently its better to tap into paradigm shifts than going against it.


Last edited by tokyoso; 02-24-2010 at 08:32 PM.
02-24-2010, 10:33 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
Absolutely. He might even, shock horror *drumroll*, have played with HDR!
He did play with HDR. He used the Zone System to compress and expand tones. In his book The Negative he talks about dynamic range and how to increase it. His camera could capture way more stops of light in a single shot than the tiny APS-C sensors of today. And of course he shot real BW instead of imitation, color converted gray scale.
02-25-2010, 12:54 PM   #25
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Have to agree with nass here. All visual art is manipulation: brush and canvas art is manipulation; sculpture is manipulation; photography is manipulation and how could it be otherwise? As a photographer, you manipulate the reality by being there, then you chose how to photograph and what tools to use and what WB to use, or ISO to use, etc etc. Does an Olympus have a better jpeg engine than Pentax, maybe so and if you decide to use Olympus rather than Pentax because you only use jpeg, you've manipulated the outcome.

To paraphrase Garry Winogrand, photographs are to see how the world looks photographed, not how it looks. It's all manipulation, whether the camera processor does it, or you do it in post processing on your computer, it's the same process. Just like deciding what chemistry to use developing film, and how long to expose, etc etc,
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02-25-2010, 04:07 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
He did play with HDR. He used the Zone System to compress and expand tones. In his book The Negative he talks about dynamic range and how to increase it. His camera could capture way more stops of light in a single shot than the tiny APS-C sensors of today. And of course he shot real BW instead of imitation, color converted gray scale.
Yeah of course - dumb old me, it's really a similar thing *bonks self with mallet*!
02-25-2010, 04:25 PM   #27
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The term "cheat" doesn't make sense to me. Combining bracketed exposures (minor HDR's) is something that a)was done in the film era and b) compensating for technologies inability to capture what you see (the human eye detects higher dynamic range than any camera).

Plus I hate that phrase "if photographers are using something that isn't actually there then they cannot call it art". Picasso cheated big time. Same with anyone who used/uses acrylics, oil is real art.
02-25-2010, 04:41 PM   #28
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Images have always been art IMO. I spent hours in the darkroom with various chemicals or dodging and burning or even tilting my easel for perspective correction. I would also mask or even sandwich. Double exposures have been around since photography began. View cameras twist around for all kinds of changes in perspective. Then there are filters and exotic films....

As many others have said, the only way you can "cheat" is if you represent it is something that it is not. Take a manipulated photo to court as proof, then you are in trouble!
02-26-2010, 09:14 AM   #29
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My late brother-in-law was police chief of a not-insignificant city, and a photographer and painter. He said, "There is no cheating in art." Who am I to doubt his words?

As noted above, eyes and cameras do not see the same. There are many ways to capture images photographically, with various spectral slices, levels of detail, etc -- and NONE of them exactly reproduces what I see, what you see, what the eyes of any living creature sees. A plate or film or sensor behind a lens or pinhole records what is in front of it, within some band of radiation, at the best resolution it can. We may call that an honest picture -- but it won't be what living eyes see.

Some eyes only see motion. Human brains won't 'see' what they don't expect or want, what they're not interested in, etc. Some of us see stuff that isn't there. Different eyewitnesses will give wildly varying accounts of the same scene. How can a manipulated image be any less honest than our own faulty perceptions?

All vision involves filtering. Comprehending any image requires context, memory, maybe imagination. Too much complexity overwhelms our comprehension. Is it cheating to frame & filter & clean-up & simplify an image, that we may see and understand it? If a picture isn't to be seen and grokked, why bother?

Images result from intention, even if the intent is to make random or chaotic pictures. A picture without intent is no picture at all. It MUST be put in order, edited, manipulated, to have any meaning. It's only cheating if you say it's something it isn't -- and even then, it may be art. If you xerox a magazine photo of the Mona Lisa and mount it with a label A PICTURE OF MY EYEBALL, are you being dishonest, or ironic, or tedious, or what?
02-26-2010, 10:47 AM   #30
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I don't consider PP to be cheating. Any alteration to exposure could be considered "cheating". Every time any of us goes out to shoot, we "cheat". Often, I have made a shot by just firing one off in AV and checked it on the LCD and promptly took another shot because it was either under or over exposed in part. Many times, that first shot is exactly what my eyes saw, a dark "underexposed" scene on a dreary day or an "overexposed", washed out scene that I couldn't even look at without very dark sunglasses. So we "cheat" and use polarizers, ND filters, change exposure, etc. to get a properly exposed photo. Using HDR, layers, and other PP tools is just another way to accomplish the task.
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