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Is "fixing" photos cheating??

Discussion in 'Underwater Photography' started by Christina0701, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    5,654
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    Just changing something to black an white can make a difference.

    I was awarded third place last year for this photo after deciding to change it from colour to black and white, I doubt if I would have been awarded if I had entered the colour shot though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Thiad

    Thiad Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location:
    472
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    I have yet to see a fish that needs to be slimmed down to look like a super model fish! :D

    I absolutely agree that post-processing of the photo to make it more appealing to you, the photographer, is your choice and have at it! My favorite fixes are cropping, back-scatter removal and futzing with the shadows. And if people give you a ration of sh*t about it, well, I just don't get it. Even the most perfect shot will have a flaw or two and darn, as the photographer, you see every single one. Drives me nuts so yep, I fix it and proudly let everyone know that I did. If they want to see the raw, then I will show them. If it's that important to them....

    But, I will admit that I'm not big on adding elements - like fish or putting multiple photos together (if that's not the intention), and if you're entering a contest, be sure you closely read the rules about doing any post-processing. I've seen some of the contests that won't allow even cropping. I'm also not a fan of bad photoshop (and I've done that myself a few times).
     
    Christina0701 likes this.
  3. bvanant

    bvanant Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Los Angeles (more or less)
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    There are no photography police so when you want to do something for yourself, go ahead. There are photo contest police though, (we run the oldest UW photo competition in the world) and we have seen things taken out of photos, things added to photos, and pretty much every type of manipulation you can think of. Most of it we can catch but if first prize is a $5000 trip then folks just seem to want to cheat.
    From the OP's perspective though, I say knock yourself out; no worries.
    Bill
     
    Christina0701 likes this.
  4. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    5,781
    1,959
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    What are your competition's rules as related to photo manipulation?
     
  5. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

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    godzilla_facepalm_godzilla_facepalm-s640x387-82177.jpg
    OMG what a strange question.

    99% or more of all photos used for commercial purposes are "fixed". They can even make Godzilla look like Kate Upton.

    Honestly, Ansel Adams was probably the last person alive with enough natural talent that "fixing" wouldn't have made his pictures any better.

    Fix away, sister.

    R..
     
    Christina0701 likes this.
  6. bvanant

    bvanant Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Los Angeles (more or less)
    2,222
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    Our contest rules allow only minimal global changes, you can see them at laups.org
    As for Ansel Adams, he was one of the world's greatest printers but most of his prints are severely "fixed" by burning/dodging etc. Moonrise over Hernandez is a classic case; a direct contact print is way way way different than what his vision was. You can see the difference here
    http://studiosolis.com/solissamples/UA_CCP_M_of_Photo_Guide6.pdf

    scroll down a bit.
    Bill
     
    BurhanMuntasser likes this.
  7. Blackwood

    Blackwood DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Southern California
    5,535
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    Global, meaning if you have some ambient sun lit subject and some artificial strobe lit subject, your contest wouldn't allow selective white balancing?
     
  8. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    5,781
    1,959
    113
    The rules are explained in their website.
     
  9. Storker

    Storker Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: close to a Hell which occasionally freezes over
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    I disagree. I totally believe that the picture I take should be what I saw. Problem is, my camera seldom sees what I see. I don't see a white balance totally "off". So I adjust WB. I don't see the backscatter that my flash produces. So I clone out backscatter. I don't see those annoying details that show up in the periphery of my shot. So I vignette out those. I don't see fuzziness, poor contrast and lack of clarity due to the water not being crystal clear. So I ramp up sharpening, boost contrast and saturation, adjust white and black point and increase clarity. And I definitely don't see the digital noise that my camera's sensor produces. So I apply some noise reduction. After all this "cheating", I end up with an image that more or less - hopefully more - resembles what I saw when I pressed the shutter button.

    Thus the need for post-processing. It ain't cheating, it's making what the camera saw into what you saw when you pressed the shutter button. Now, if we're talking about cloning and composites, we're definitely moving away from "what you saw", but not necessarily so. If I see a great background in one direction and the main subject in a slightly different direction, my brain is capable to combine those in my mind. By taking two exposures and making a composite, I produce an image that is more in line with what I "saw" in my mind. But if I combine elements from different exposures, I prefer to make a note of that, so whoever sees the picture knows that this is more than one exposure, combined into one picture.

    This is an example where I - according to my standards - have PP'ed the crap out of my shot. I adjusted WB, applied two graduated filters to even out the flash and avoid a burnt-out foreground, cropped, cloned out a truckload of backscatter reflections (yes, I want an external flash for Christmas. Please, Santa?), applied sharpening, adjusted exposure, white point, black point, clarity and applied some dodging on the brightest of the anemones. After all this, I vignetted the shot to focus the viewer's attention on the main subject rather than on all the irrelevant crap in the corners and edges. And finally, after all this "cheating", the picture started to resemble what I saw when I lifted my camera to my mask and pressed the shutter button...
     
  10. Blackwood

    Blackwood DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Southern California
    5,535
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    These days, I mostly take pictures of my son.

    Setting aside my obvious bias as to subject matter, here's of I particularly like.

    [​IMG]

    When I took this picture, the yellow ball behind and to his right didn't look like a blur, nor the did the adjacent toy, nor did his ears for that matter. But it makes for IMO a better picture the way I shot it, not the way I saw it. He pops, the background does not.

    I suppose if you define "saw" as "in your mind's eye" than maybe we are saying the same thing. I just define it literally.
     
    Christina0701 likes this.

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