Heavy edits - is it photography?

Discussion in 'Photo Sharing' started by TimSummers, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. TimSummers

    TimSummers
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    44
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Cambridge, England
    Ratings:
    +2
    Maybe a strange question, but I just wondered if you consider photos that have been pretty heavily edited can actually be classed as photography. I know for the purists the answer is definitely going to be a no.

    The reason why I ask this is that I went out to walk the dog earlier on this evening, and took my camera and started clicking away. The weather was dull and overcast, so I knew that my pictures wouldn't be very good. I managed to be out just as the sun was setting so I took some more to see what happened.

    I was looking through them earlier, and I wasn't surprised that 99% of them were totally boring, and destined to the recycle bin.

    The Mrs was watching Big Brother so I decided to load up Photoshop and try some stuff out.

    The results are below - very heavily edited pictures, but just they don't look anything like the original. The Mrs likes them, (but what does she know shsssh) but they're not really photos, as it just shows that any old boring photo can be made to look semi-decent.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So what do people class edited 'photos' as ??
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  2. andy1249

    andy1249
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2006
    Messages:
    8,351
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,479
    Art is the creation of something , in that respect your images are art and are very good as far as I'm concerned , I would be selecting one of those out for the wall if they were mine.

    The purists can have their purism , standing around waiting for the right conditions so that you can press the button at just that right time, has less of a claim to art as making something out of the materials you have at hand if you ask me.

    Its great when you get that good shot, but creation should be about imagination and work more than just luck. Can you really be said to have created an image just because you were in the right place at the right time !
     
  3. Badger0-0

    Badger0-0
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Messages:
    20,590
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Spaghetti Junction (really)
    Ratings:
    +1,921
    I'll hold my hands up from the off and admit I know nothing at all about photography.

    But seeing as I always watch the latest threads, I often come across the photography ones and indeed like to take a look, as I like to think I know what a good photo looks like :) :rolleyes:

    And this is a question that often crosses my mind.

    You often see all sorts of effects and cropping etc applied, which tbh, to me is almost cheating.
    Surely a good photo should be just that in a totally unadulterated state?

    That said, I guess maybe the answer is in the title of the forum ie Digital photography.
    I can see where the art comes into it, as editing is a skill in itself from what I know, but I do feel somewhat cheated, for some reason.
    I mean, you can over-expose a shot, which makes it a bad photo, to my mind, but can then reduce the brightness or whatever to make it acceptable :confused:

    If I had to choose between an excellent plain unadulterated pic and an excellent photoshopped one, the former would win everytime.

    No offence meant to anyone; as I say, I know nowt about it, but just wanted to throw my no-nothing view of it in there and I'm interested in viewpoints :smashin:
     
  4. simonblue

    simonblue
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Messages:
    18,995
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    163
    Ratings:
    +8,483
    I dont claim to be an artist,i am a photographer,and if that means waiting around for the right light,or for thing come together,or just looking for them thats photography to me :)
     
  5. danjama

    danjama
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    446
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    Romford
    Ratings:
    +108
    Just to try and persuade you, IMO many of the best photos you or I will ever see are not necessarily exposed to perfection, or as sharp as a lions claws, or even necessarily well composed.

    Many of the best photos break all of the rules, but somehow, come out on the other side all the better for it, conveying emotion and clarity and storytelling better than you could imagine.

    That being said, I see no problems in editing photos to express or create your artistic vision and idea.
     
  6. danjama

    danjama
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    446
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    Romford
    Ratings:
    +108
    Well said.

    Just in addition to this (not directed at you), none of us 'create' images. We capture them. Thank nature, your subject, and time, for creating your images.
     
  7. twist

    twist
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    16,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,992
    IMO digital 'art' and photography should be separate. Besides the odd very small tweak or slightest crop, no heavy software editing should be done to a photograph unless you want it to be classed as digital 'art'. Any 10 year old kid with a copy of software can create decent enough looking images in most conditions, I think a photo is a record of your subject at that given time in history, when you mess with it so much, it ceases to still be that.

    Each to their own I guess.
     
  8. =adrian=

    =adrian=
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    16,795
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Internet
    Ratings:
    +7,202
    Intersting thread and views. Subject close to my heart as I love working in Photoshop.

    Let's not forget, the photo editing is as old as photography itself. In the film days the editing was done in dark rooms, now it is on PC/macs. The principals are the same though and most of the basic photo editing functions in photo editing software is based on original dark room techniques.
     
  9. SevloW

    SevloW
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,109
    Products Owned:
    5
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Area 51
    Ratings:
    +1,169
  10. blasted

    blasted
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,189
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +132
    As adrian said, people like Ansel Adams spent years in the darkroom re visiting images, trying out different things to alter the image and get it right. "Shopping" in one form or another has been around as long as photography.

    My own personal view is that the people who argue about being pure are a little put out that ordinary people can now go out and get great images without having to sit on a hill side for 3 weeks with the most expensive kit. Its always eveloving and being pushed as technology allows.
     
  11. twist

    twist
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    16,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,992
    Or it could be that real photographers enjoy what they do, as an example spending time outdoors with nature instead of sitting on a computer indoors all day, alone. Id like to see a Noob with a 18-55mm take a photo that looks as good as a pro photo taken with something like a 50mm 1.2 wide open in dim conditions. Software can only do so much.
     
  12. simonblue

    simonblue
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Messages:
    18,995
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    163
    Ratings:
    +8,483
    Well said sir,i love being out with my cameras,waiting for things to come together,thats part of being a photographer :)
     
  13. shotokan101

    shotokan101
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    74,853
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +25,076
    Personally I find it quite offensive to even imply that "real photographers" don't do much PP - for example are all Wedding Togs or Potrait Togs "Merely" Digital Artists ? - why can't you enjoy both shooting outdoors (or indoors) AND processing the results to improve where necessary ?

    ...and isn't Flash "Cheating" too then ? ;)

    Jim
     
  14. blasted

    blasted
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,189
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +132
    I also love spending time outdoors with my camera. The point being made was that we can’t all jet off to exotic locations around the world, or pop down to Cornwall on a Saturday afternoon. People are now able to make the most of the limited time they have when out and about and the conditions are not favourable.

    Why are only pros with expensive equipment allowed to get great shots? Someone with natural flair will no doubt get good shots with basic equipment, a lot of the work coming from some of the young photographers is outstanding, not only that, they are all from a digital age and post processing is accepted. As for your other sweeping generalisations, Why are these “noobs” alone and why are they on a computer all day?

    I also disagree with the idea that the “real” photographers have huge amounts of time to wait for things to happen. When I read about outdoor pros on assignament more often than not they also have time constraints associated with the commission they may be on.
     
  15. twist

    twist
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    16,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,992
    You dont need to go far to take good/artistic photos. People just tend not to look at whats around them and think they can only take pics while on holiday or somewhere special. Were all guilty of this. You dont need sun to take a great photo.

    I never said they were the only ones allowed to or that a keen amateur could not achieve great photos, you were talking about heavy PP vs people who dont use PP, what makes you assume someone with a good eye will decide to use PP? However, good photographers also spend time doing what they love and improving along the way which makes them better photographers rather than relying on PP as a crutch and fixing their mistakes later.

    I am a young photographer and do it as a hobby, by trade I am in design so am well up to date with PP and whats the norm, yet I choose to do as little PP as possible as I can differentiate between digital art and photography. Ermm, they are on a computer because they are spending more time "fixing" their photos than a photographer who doesnt use PP as a crutch would be, thought that would have been obvious really.

    You mentioned the 3 weeks not me. I replied to that comment. Of course pros have time constraints. Dont turn this into a "pro" vs amateur debate now as its a debate on the differences between heavy PP use and none or light use.
     
  16. twist

    twist
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    16,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,992
    You dont often see them adding a sun or a cow or a groom or a guest to a photo afterward, they capture it. Soften it, tweak levels a little, a slight crop if needed and thats it. They dont make a cloudy day look like the middle of summer Jim, they work around it.

    A flash is a photography tool not a PP tool. Perhaps like make up is applied to an actor before a show is recorded and edited.

    I said imo light PP is okay, but changing things completely so they have no resemblance to the original capture is digital art, there is a difference.

    I must be the only one who gets a kick from capturing a great "read decent" photograph, when the light is just right and my subject and composition are just right and I dont even need to turn the PC on.
     
  17. sleekyG

    sleekyG
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2009
    Messages:
    817
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Ratings:
    +143
    I absolutely agree on that. I think it doesn't make you less photographer when you use PP skills. :rolleyes:
     
  18. twist

    twist
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    16,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,992
    Theres a difference between PP and heavy PP. And it becomes digital art when you change an image so much (not that theres anything wrong with that as its its own skill) ...... heres something I whipped up for Jim.

    All im arguing is theres a difference between the way a good photo is captured and a okay photo is altered and changed so it doesnt even resemble the original conditions. Theres something special about nailing a good shot that all photographers should aspire to, not just taking a poor photo then editing it and calling it the original photo as taken by themselves.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  19. =adrian=

    =adrian=
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    16,795
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Internet
    Ratings:
    +7,202
  20. shotokan101

    shotokan101
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    74,853
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +25,076
    I don't consider Adding Guests/Cows/Hasslehofs ;) to a shot to be PP of any description (despite it technically being PP) let alone "heavy PP" so I think that perhaps we need to have a definition (from OP?) of what he means by "heavy PP".

    Regarding flash I could argue that whilst it may be classed as a "tool" it's also a PP (Pre-Processing) aid as it certainly changes the subject to make the result more acceptable than what would be captured "naturally" - similar in fact to what could be achieved by some forms of Post Processing.

    I agree entirely with your last point that changing things completely is not O.K. - it's more like "Construction" than Photography for me and the "grey area" in my mind starts to kick in with features such as Content Aware Fill" and Sky replacement etc.

    BTW I too enjoy it immensely when I get a shot "just right" (to my taste of course) in camera - unfortunately it happens too infrequently for me but I'm always trying to get that each time - mre difficult with some subjects than others of course... :)

    I did mean to mention earlier that it might have been useful to see the OP's "before" shots to allow a better assessment of how extreme his PP really was.

    Jim
     
  21. shotokan101

    shotokan101
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    74,853
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +25,076
  22. =adrian=

    =adrian=
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    16,795
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    The Internet
    Ratings:
    +7,202
    I can give you some examples and please feel free to rip them apart.

    As I said before I love working in Photoshop. Every single photo that I uploaded somewhere is post processed and I can't see that changing anytime soon. 99% of them is just a basic editing (levels, saturation, etc). Some are edited more (like my missus' portraits, as she is not as pretty as in those shots :laugh:). Here is example nr 1

    This was created for fun, so ignore the caption.

    [picture removed]

    Is this still a photograph or this is 'digital art'? IMO it is still a photograph.

    Example 2:

    [picture removed]

    This is heavily edited picture. Added 2 layers of texture, background darkened, removed eyes, etc. Is this a photograph? IMO it still is.

    Example 3:

    [picture removed]

    This is made from a photograph but it not a photograph anymore. This is 'digital art'.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  23. TimSummers

    TimSummers
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    44
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Cambridge, England
    Ratings:
    +2
    Oh yeah, certainly. I'll do that when I get home from work tonight as the origionals are still on my memory card in my laptop.

    I made myself an action on Photoshop last night, just for something to do really as I was in the mood for trying things and learning from my mistakes, so I can re-create exactly the pictures that I origionally posted having been edited.

    BTW - I'm glad that this thread has got some decent discussion going, even thought I've not posted since my origional post I have been reading the replies, it's just that I'm reasonably new to photograpy, and definately new to Photoshop editing so I didn't think that I'd be able to have much input.

    ** Disclamer **:smashin:

    The reason why I started this thread was 100% to ask the question and see what people thought, there was no part of me who even once thought that the pictures that I put up on my origional post were of any decent standard, or that I was posting them as a 'sucess story', or a 'look at what I did' more so of a 'oh, these photos are dead boring, lets see what I can mess up playing around with them in Photoshop (which I have very limited knowledge of as well).

    Results: Hmmmm, they're a bit funky, I wonder if people would still class these as photo's or not ? Who shall I ask ? (No one that I know know's anything about photograpy), I know, lets post on AV Forums as they know a thing or two.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  24. BubbleDouble

    BubbleDouble
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Messages:
    4,227
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Space
    Ratings:
    +1,883
    Seems this is one of those debates that will go on forever :D

    I actually like the OPs pictures and to my eyes it's not what I would call "HEAVY PP" at all.

    Twists example is something entirely different though, adding new elements to a shot.

    I have no strong feelings either way, at the end of the day it depends what purpose the 'image' is going to be used for and who the intended audience is.

    Take my entry in this months AVF comp for example. I expect (know!) it's too much pp for many people, although it is in fact just a collage of 4 shots which haven't had much pp done to them individually.

    It's a marmite thing, as are all photos, whether or not any pp has been done to them.

    Darren

    p.s. I agree with Adrian's definitions in the post above, but everyone will have a different opinion on where the line between a photograph and a work of 'digital art' sits.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  25. twist

    twist
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    16,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,992
    Sorry guys, I did my example as a bit of sarcastic fun, that takes PP to the extreme tbh. But it does illustrate what one thinks is heavy PP others may think are okay, photography is a very personal thing so everyones opinions will differ as to different levels of post and what they like or dont. I personally hate it when people over do the PP then call it a photo.

    I regard a photo as a pretty much accurate recording bar a couple tweaks, if PP is heavy I call it digital art or a modified representation of the photo I took. In Adrians examples I would say 2 & 3 are heavily PPd and not an accurate representation but lean more towards the artistic side, but thats me and thats not to say I dont like what hes done (I do).
     
  26. TimSummers

    TimSummers
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    44
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Cambridge, England
    Ratings:
    +2
    Here we go then, my originals and then my edits

    1)

    [​IMG]

    and now the edit, centre cropped and then Photo shopped.

    [​IMG]

    2)

    [​IMG]

    and now the edit,

    [​IMG]

    3)

    [​IMG]

    and the edit

    [​IMG]

    4)

    [​IMG]

    and the edit, cropped and shopped.

    [​IMG]

    Cheers
    Tim
     
  27. Chubster

    Chubster
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,746
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Haslemere
    Ratings:
    +149
    How about B&W shots, digital art or photo ?
     
  28. twist

    twist
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    16,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,992
    I really like the originals of 3 & 4 and a lighter tweak wouldve worked better for me. Nice.
     
  29. dafnpuppet

    dafnpuppet
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    384
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Ratings:
    +188
    I agree with Twist that photography is a personal thing. My opinion on the whole debate is that the measure of a good photographer is the quality of the light that he captures with the equipment he has at hand. I've seen some stunning images taken with a £50.00 compact and I've seen some absolute shockers taken on the best Cannikons.
     
  30. twist

    twist
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    16,305
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,992
    This is a quick edit I did on your pic...... Hope you dont mind. For me it just punches those rolling clouds a bit more, and a slight warmth on the sun.

    You should sign up and post your pics on a free flickr account, better sizes, quality and they view on a black BG.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice