Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ray’s Corner Soapbox – Is Photo Manipulation Cheating??

Yesterday I mentioned that with manipulation I could look younger.  First of all, there isn’t a right answer to the above question.  This is strictly personal preference as to whether you change anything in your pictures.  Manipulation has been done for many, many years….long before the digital camera except most of it took place in the dark room.  Filters were added to the 35mm lens to give the desired effect, as example, a slight softening blur is used with close up portraits.


Here is a picture that I have manipulated to give different effects:DSCN1073 359x480

This is close to the original except the original was taken in landscape.  You can see the electrical wires running through the picture.  Wires and telephone poles are distractions as far as I’m concerned.  So I use software to remove objectionable items and to crop the picture to make it more attractive.




1073-Old Bisbee Store NC 371x480 Here the picture is cropped, electrical lines removed and a process called Poster Edge applied to the photo.  It has a clean, older look which enhances the age of the building.







1073-Bisbee Store (PE) NC - TALL 360x480

And again, this is the same picture but only the names have been changed to protect the…..oh ya, too many cop shows.

This is the same as the second picture only a black & white plus Sepia color has been added to the picture.  This gives the picture an old-time feel.  You see this at tourist traps where they have people dress up in old western outfits.  (Sorry Tombstone, don’t take it personally.)



I tried putting an effect on the picture of Loki that was in an earlier blog but I couldn’t find one that was labeled “dog smartness.” 


Just my story and I’m stickin’ to it!!


  1. If anyone were to say to me that enhancing digital photos is "cheating", I would simply ask them to do away with the "auto" shooting mode on their cameras! Photo editing is just as much a part of digital photography as the dark room is to film. Good post!

  2. Yep, it sure beats the heck out of the old darkroom procedures. I spent endless hours many years ago in my darkroom working with sulphur smelling two part sepia toners & fixers. Bleach baths, developers, etc not to mention the tedious task of developing many black & white films in a single container. Soooooo glad those days are gone. I can now do in literally seconds what used to take me hours &hours & hours!! I managed a one hour photo lab/store for a couple years, but that's another whole forgetable tiring story........

  3. Hey, howdy! We agree with all of the above (Rick and Al and I are the Three Amigos of blogging). I recently posted a epistle about retouching, and I don't mind at all admitting that I managed to get my two daughters, who had been sitting on separate benches in separate photos, sitting on one bench in one photo! That was fun! Check it out, if you want, at

  4. photo manipulation is unethical if you work for a newspaper, newsletter, magazine, online news org, etc. It's unethical if you're altering content that should not be changed. National Geographic and Time Magazine front page photos should not be altered. Military pubs, though steep in propaganda, should not manipulate, either. As for personal photos, manipulate till your heart's content.