Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Should You Manipulate or Alter Your Digital Images?

Having spent quite a bit of time browsing through magazines and various websites the last while, this question keeps on popping up and there does not seem to be any 'civilised' agreement about the answer.

Should you 'Photoshop' or 'alter' your digital images?

Why should this be such a contentious issue?   Whether for a crop or a full edit it is the final process of a digital shoot just a film was processed in the darkroom when we were all still using film cameras.  

Do I edit my images?  Absolutely!  I believe that if you want your work to stand out you need to not only have an eye for light and composition but also be able to take the process further by editing and processing your own images in a professional manner. 

The Photographic Society of South Africa (PSSA) recently published the following:

* * *

Digital manipulation is an accepted part of photography.  The original image must have been made by the exhibitor on a recognized camera and all modification of that original must be made by the exhibitor or under his personal directions.  For the purpose of telling a true story (not manipulated), images of Nature, Photojournalism and Photo-Travel may not be manipulated.

The following will not be considered as digital manipulation:
a) Removal of dust and scratch marks.
b) Adjustment of exposure and contrast.
c) Adjustment / correction of the color balance.
d) Application of color saturation.
e) Reduction of digital noise.
f) Sharpening of the image.
g) Cropping and resizing is permissible.

* * * 
I feel that editing and post-processing is a part of the larger art form that is photography.  I do feel that by sticking to the above 'guidelines' you will be able to not be altering your image but refining it and completing the entire artistic process. 

I am currently using Capture NX2 to sort and edit my RAW files.  Sometimes I mights  use FastStone Image Viewer to quickly look through images but not for editing.  (Great little program and it's free!)   After that I might, depending on the desired result and use of the image, run the files through Photoshop CS4.  I have added various filters which I find extremely useful.  These includes Viveza, Color Efex Pro 3 and Sharpener Pro all from Nik Software.  Really easy to use and great results!

So there you go.  My thoughts on this ,apparently, very touchy subject.  It is a part of the entire process and something that can only, if done correctly, lift your images to that next level!

As always I look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time.

1 comment:

Mad Bush Farm Crew said...

I have been really enjoying your blog and the stunning images you have taken. Thanks for giving an insight into how the wild really is.

All the best
Liz NZ