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Would you consider photoshop as cheating ?

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by HMHB, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I had quite a heated drunken discussion with my mate last night about the use of Photoshop and digital photos. He believes that as soon as you alter anything in PS you have changed the actual image that you have taken originally and so "it's just not cricket", therefore he says it's cheating.
    My view is that the process of taking photos with a digital camera now extends to the PC and that PS is just like sending your film to the processors to have it developed, after all, those images always had some kind of change done to them at the processors didn't they ? It's amazing how a photo can look 100% better by just clicking on Auto Levels so I'm starting to look at every photo in PS now as soon as I've loaded them on the PC.
    PS also allows me to be creative and a little artistic with photos, something I really enjoy as I have never been able to draw and so have never had the chance to do anything artistic in the past !
    What do you all reckon ?
     
  2. pjclark1

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    I'm with you
    Photos in magazines have been airbrushed for many years, why complain now that the home photgrapher has the same tools as the professional. Now we can all produce a better result.
     
  3. mighty_boosh

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    Isn't photography "cheating" when compared to painting?
     
  4. Pink Fairy

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    I think the problem arises when something has been substantially altered and then passed off as a capture of a moment in time... In the natural history type of photography, something like removing the jesses from a captive hawk and passed off as a wild bird is pretty deplorable to myself, i expect there are other examples from different branches of photography.
    By and large there's no real problem with tweaking an image in Photoshop, even a bit of cloning here and there to clean up an image...and if it's for your own use, you can do anything you like with a clear conscience.
     
  5. ASH1

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    Your right he's wrong. I've done both dark room (film) and digital printing, and the main difference is you can do more with an image on a pc. But you would be surprise how much you can alter an image in the dark room.

    It could take a few hours in a dark room to achieve the same results as it would take you 20 minutes in Photoshop. Tell him anyone that takes a picture on a digital camera in jpeg has already altered the image, because the camera has already done some processing.

    So as you say it's the same as sending your film to the lap. If you develop your own film and left it in the developer fluid a few seconds to long the image would be darker, so is that cheating?. I think this is a topic that could go on for a while, but lets hope common sense prevails.

    ASH1
     
  6. mattym

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    here is a thread that went into some detail about this with some great example pictures in it,
    HERE
     
  7. mr jones

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    definetly not, photoshop tweaking is just an extension of processing the image. granted altering things seriously takes the reality from the image, but i dont see anything wrong with a small amount of clone tool work to remove nasty things from the image (stains on walls, plug sockets) however altering the boobie sizes of models, they can do that themselves..... :lesson:
     
  8. mattym

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    i dont think its cheating either, 'normal' photography has many techniques for altering the image also, its just digital makes it easier and more accessable to the masses!
     
  9. HotblackDesiato

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    There were/are a myriad of ways to chemically post-process an image captured in silver hydride... i'm not sure i see the difference.
     
  10. Ymegod

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    I suspect I am about to alienate myself from quite a few people but here goes.
    A few years ago I used to read AP and they used to print some wonderful photographs in that magazine. Being fairly naive I used to read about the equipment used and the various settings and hope that one day I would be able to take such quality photographs.
    Then I found out that the photographs had been "Manipulated" with the aid of a computer. I immediately wrote to AP expressing fairly strong opinions about this and adding that a PC should have been added to the equipment used list.
    My letter was Letter of the Month but was unfortunately titled "Neanderthal".
    I still believe that there is an element of cheating in using a PC to present a photograph that is not the same as the one that was originally taken. However if everybody is aware that this has gone on there is no harm in it.
    I also believe that dodging and/or burning a print whilst using an enlarger is a little bit more skillful than clicking a mouse.
    Had I posted a thread entitled "Photoshop is for people who can`t use a camera properly" I suspect I would have been banished from the Forum immediately but there may be an element of truth in this depending on how much manipulation people regard as reasonable.
    Finally, I am about to launch myself into digital photography and if by sheer good fortune I manage to take a photograph that is, IMHO, almost 100% then I may find it very difficult to avoid the temptation.
    Hypocrite or what ?
     
  11. GrahamC

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    I think it depends on if your are taking a picture or creating an image of the scene or object. I always, always take an image for me to interpret as I wish which entails PS to produce what I want from the scene or object. :thumbsup:

    If you think about it no camera/photographer, painter/paints, colours/lighting etc. can take an absolute exact replica of the scene so it's all open to the artists interpretation. Or isn't a photo art.... :cool:
     
  12. ASH1

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  13. mighty_boosh

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    Photography is an art form as well as a means of recording a moment in time. The end result is often what matters, not how it is achieved. Photoshop certainly makes things easier but does that mean someone is being less creative than someone who did it the hard way? I've done darkroom work and the same creative decisions are made when printing as using Photoshop - what areas need burning, what needs dodging, do I need more or less contrast.

    As I said in my previous post, using a camera could be considered cheating when compared to painting, particularly photorealism (http://www.wikipov.org/ow.asp?PhotoRealism). What is the difference between a model covering up blemishes with make-up or removing them in photoshop if the end result is the same?
     
  14. Ymegod

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    Ash, please read the rest of the sentence. I do go on to say that I would probably be banned from the Forum and also to ask how much manipulation is regarded as reasonable.
    mighty, I am afraid I cannot agree with your statement "The end result is often what matters, not how it is achieved".
    The model makes a conscious decision to cover the blemishes with make-up to enable the photographer to get the best possible pictures. If he is still unable to do so is it reasonable that he should then go home and spend hours on his PC rectifying that which he was unable to achieve with his camera ?
    I did say in my previous post that if everybody is aware that the photograph they are looking at has been created with the aid of a PC there is no harm in it.
    I also said in my previous post that I was very naive in believing that the photographs I had been admiring so much in AP were straight out of the camera.
    I think we shall have to beg to differ on this particular subject.
     
  15. mighty_boosh

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    Yes it is perfectly reasonable. You haven't come up with any good reason why it isn't and I don't think any Photographer should make any apology for post-processing the image and have to declare that they used a PC. Photography is an art, but not even the best photographers always get exactly what they were after through the camera alone, maybe there was a hair out of place, etc. The PC and software makes the art of photography much more flexible than it ever has been and makes things possible that just weren't possible with film. Proper use of Photoshop takes as much skill as using a darkroom, that skill being in making the right decisions for the image. The end result IS the only thing that matters because that is what art is about, the finished product - not how easy or hard it was to acheive.
     
  16. Ymegod

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    mighty, I made no mention of apology or having to declare anything. All I was trying to point out, obviously very badly, was that it may be more useful for the likes of myself to know whether a photograph has been taken with a camera and just printed or taken with a camera and then manipulated to produce the desired result.
    I would then know if I could hope to reproduce similar results without a degree in IT.
    If the hypothetical person is unable to get decent photographs of the model with his camera but can with the aid of Photoshop is he a photographer or a computer boffin ?
     
  17. ASH1

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  18. mighty_boosh

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    Well you implied that when you said.
    and
    How do you make people aware other than stating that a PC has been used?

    Using Photoshop is not about making a bad picture good, and has nothing to do with being a computer boffin. It is mostlty about using techniques that have been done since the birth of photography in the darkroom. There is lots that you cannot do "in-camera" (for example, removing skin blemishes) no matter how good a photographer you are so post-processing is used to achieve a better result. This does not mean the original result was bad, you need a good image to start with. There are many other examples, for instance try taking a landscape and exposing correctly for both sky and land simultaneously. It's not possible except with either a graduated neutral density filter or combining two exposures in Photoshop.

    The following images are an example where Photoshop was necessary to create an image that could not be captured by the camera alone. These are different exposures from the same RAW file combined into one final image.
     

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  19. Radiohead

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    I'm not a fan of manipulated images to the extent that they present something that was never there. That's not photography to me.

    But I am a firm believer in sharpening, levels, cropping and colour adjustment and so on to bring out the best in an image. As long as the image is "as-seen" in terms of what's there I'm happy.
     
  20. HMHB

    HMHB
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    How do your sharpen images in photoshop ? I've just looked through the menu options and can't see any mention of it.
     
  21. mighty_boosh

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    Look under Filter/Sharpen
     
  22. Ymegod

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    Ash, I did realise/hope that the bit about my head on a plate was in jest.
    I have to thank Radiohead for stating exactly that which I have been trying, and failing miserably, to say from the off. His post more or less encapsulates my opinion entirely, particularly the bit about "The image that was never there".
    mighty, I am not having a go at you personally. However I suspect that your last post just about says it all. As I said in a previous post, we shall just have to beg to differ on this issue.
     
  23. Radiohead

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    As mighty_boosh says - Photoshop offers unsharp mask (itself a darkroom term and process) and the newer and more effective Smarter Sharpen in CS2 release.
     
  24. Radiohead

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    Yes - I have absolutely no problem with that example, and with examples like exposing for both to give a truer image of what your eye saw. It's things like what magazines like Digital Photo seem keen, for example taking a picture of a lion and putting said creature onto a beach or something. That just leaves me cold.
     
  25. ASH1

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  26. mighty_boosh

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    I'm sorry Ash, you are talking rubbish. There are certain circumstances where all the correct metering in the world will not get you one result without post-processing. The digital sensor can only record a certain range of light and if certain areas fall outside this range you get blown highlights and underexposed shadow. The technique I use is to under-expose by one or two stops to stop the highlights getting blown out, and there is still enough latitude in the sensor to correct the under-exposed areas. This is the very reason why they make graduated neutral density filters.
     
  27. HotblackDesiato

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    Similar to Mighty B i find the dynamic range of the sensor in my 20D down that around of transparency film, and often either double "expose" out of RAW or take a couple of shots a few stops apart... and then merge in PS. If there are easy ways/more effective ways around this i'd be delighted to hear.

    I've no problem with full disclosure of manipulations used be they chemical or digital... but think the fact that such manipulations are easier when performed in PS than the dark room is neither here or there.
     
  28. mighty_boosh

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  29. mr jones

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    this was tweaked in photoshop, i dont think it mutilates the image, just enhances it.
     

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  30. HMHB

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    Something else I pointed out to him was the fact that every single film he's watched over the last 10 years or more has been digitally enhanced. Just look at the quality of the out-takes and deleted scenes then compare how useless they look against the quality of the main film !
     

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