Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Let me photoshop your face for you

A client send me a picture that was taken on a holiday and that has sentimental value and asked me to brighten it up a bit.  She wanted to enlarge it and hang it on a wall.  Now there are lots of discussions going on about the authenticity of editing images.  Is it fair when someone takes a pictures of a sunset and makes it slightly more orange or red? I guess if the assignment was to see what colours you could capture with no editing or filters, then no. What I have found many times is when I post an image some people will make a comment about the colours saying "nice, but it was probably photo-shopped". I see the more ignorant ones use the term "photo-shopped", while some say "edited" and the more informed calls it what it really is, "enhanced". But what is the difference?

If you read photography forums the question pops up quite frequently.  I enhance some of my pictures like most professional photographers do.  I use Adobe Lightroom for that and there are some amazing tutorials on Youtube on how to get the colours out.  If you google "landscapes images" you are likely to find 90% of them were enhanced by some editing software.  "Photo-shopped" to me is turning a picture into something that didn't exist, or does not exist.  Putting an extra head on a sheep and selling it off as a freak animal to me is "photo-shopped". Making a model look thinner with less wrinkles is "photo-shopped".  Bringing the colour out in a way your "unintelligent digital-eyed" camera saw it but could not capture, is enhancement. 

Does this mean that anyone can produce good beautiful coloured photos?  No, because there is much more to capturing a good shot (composition, perspective, contrast, atmosphere, etc) than just pointing a camera somewhere and afterwards trying to "fix" it with software.  Here Photoshop might be a a better option, but isn't that exactly cheating?

Photo editing is a creative skill that is part of most photographer's work flow. They spend time making sure that landscapes look good to the eye, that atmosphere is captured and brought out and that the final image looks good to the "beholder".  They should be paid for that skill as well, because cameras have their limitations. Not everyone, including cameras, has a creative eye.  Hopefully your photographer has that along with his or her skills to use a camera properly and compose a nice shot.

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