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Over Manipulation of Images?


emmaK22 e2
3 89 United Kingdom
22 Oct 2012 3:33PM
Following a recent statement from the National Geographic Executive Director of Photography shunning images that are obviously digitally manipulated, what do you think about digitally manipulated images being entered into photography competitions? Does the National Geographic have a point, or are they being over controlling?

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Paul_Anthony e2
2 386 4 Wales
22 Oct 2012 3:43PM
It's the whole 'is photography art?' question all over again.

IMO, I suppose it depends on the subject of the competition being entered into. If it is 'Dramatic Landscapes' then you would expect to see an element of manipulation. If it is a 'Natural History' competition then you expect the photographer to stay true to the subject and not manipulate the images.
brian1208 e2
11 10.6k 12 United Kingdom
22 Oct 2012 3:46PM
If the competition is for "Photography" then I agree with them but if its about images of a particular type or subject, anything goes (as far as I am concerned)

I like the idea that they want to see the original RAW image of any winning entries
22 Oct 2012 3:51PM
Not sure which way is best, but I think any image that has been manipulated so as the scene and/or colours have gone way beyond 'natural' is a bit OTT, unless of course its for a special effect. Adjusting blown high lights and noisy shadows is OK in my book.
Lots of digicams these days are set up to give extra bright colours even at default, because it sells cameras.
The TV companies are already enhancing colour especially for out side broadcasts, but i'm not against that in small doses if its a dull old day and it makes the programme more interesting to watch.
ikett e2
4 372 England
22 Oct 2012 3:53PM
If I've read it right it applies to their contests, agree or not if you want to enter it would be prudent to concur.
Images printed and processed in darkrooms have a long history of manipulation, and were always accepted as part of the process of photography. 'Modern' photography and processing techniques may differ but its nothing new. There has been a long time 'hatred' towards the likes of Photoshop by many purists, yet these same people may be using in-camera editing and processing.

I do agree that natural history photography should only have the minimum processing, so that they show the true nature of the image, but everything else goes really.

However, i DO agree that there is such a thing as over-manipulation. Too many images are ruined through over-sharpening or bad saturation control. At the same time, many poor images are manipulated as some kind of attempt to save them. Not every image needs manipulation, or deserves it.
22 Oct 2012 4:17PM
A perfect example is epz "photo of the week", it's about time it was renamed to "manipulation of the week"
Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
22 Oct 2012 4:29PM

Quote:A perfect example is epz "photo of the week", it's about time it was renamed to "manipulation of the week"

Well that would be silly because at least 8 of the last 12 have hardly seen any manipulation, and 3 of the other 4 are enhanced, but not major digital works. So why rename a section for one out of 12 pictures? Bizarre logic Wink
JohnParminter
7 1.3k 14 England
22 Oct 2012 4:48PM

Quote: National Geographic Executive Director of Photography shunning images that are obviously digitally manipulated, what do you think about digitally manipulated images being entered into photography competitions?

In this case the director is asking that over-manipulated images not to be entered into their competition. He is laying down criteria for entry. So, I think that if you want to have a chance to win or even be in consideration then follow the criteria and don't enter over-manipulated images.


Quote:Does the National Geographic have a point, or are they being over controlling?

Yes, they have a point. They are not being over controlling as they are making a stand or a statement about the state of over manipulation in general and pointing out that they don't want this type of image entered into their competition. I think they are making a very reasonable and valid point as it is their prerogative to judge on the type of photos they want to be entered.

People can still produce over manipulated images and enter competitions that don't explicitly exclude them, they are just not welcome at National Geographic.
Nick_w e2
7 4.1k 99 England
22 Oct 2012 4:55PM

Quote:A perfect example is epz "photo of the week", it's about time it was renamed to "manipulation of the week"


Gareth I would be interested to see the original RAW for this image stones and glass houses comes to mind Wink

To the original post, I would argue Nat Geographic have the right to impose whatever rules they so wish, and indeed a magazine devoted to the Natural World, it's probably correct for them. Tho the likes of Marc Adamus who has had many featured images, would suffer I would suspect from the new ruling.

But in general terms I believe live and let live, produce what image you want, for your pleasure, if others like it so much the better - for me it's the final image that counts, not how you got there.
MikeA e2
10 1.2k England
22 Oct 2012 5:54PM
How do you create an image that has not been digitally manipulated from a RAW file Wink)
JohnParminter
7 1.3k 14 England
22 Oct 2012 6:16PM

Quote:How do you create an image that has not been digitally manipulated from a RAW file Wink)


That's not the question raised by the thread Mike. Almost everyone knows that is what needs to be done. Wink

The point of the thread was that NG don't wish over-manipulated images entering in their competition, they have laid down criteria what they consider over-manipulation. We were asked for our views on their standpoint.

Considering they can set the criteria how they feel is right for their competition, then there isn't much to discuss about really, folk either abide by it or not enter.

However, if Emma had phrased the question differently like "Considering what NG have decided, do you consider this stance should be taken by all competitions and magazine editors to discourage over-manipulation in photography" then this thread could lead into a very interesting debate.

.. Sorry Emma if you did intend the thread to take that direction... which it probably will do anyway Grin
Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
22 Oct 2012 6:21PM
When you have bodies like this who have a clear direction it's important that specific rules are presented to ensure we don't get controversy with the judged images. This has happened a lot with wildlife competitions where the winner has been pulled up as a faked image that got through thanks to clever manipulation. If it's stated clearly in the rules what is and isn't allowed there's no arguing at the end. The thing is how are they going to tell? Some people are very skilled with Photoshop.
arhb e2
7 2.5k 68 United Kingdom
22 Oct 2012 6:26PM
Given that they will be wanting to look at RAW files of any winning images submitted, it would be daft to do anything more than a subtle tweak, if you enter their competitions.
They are certainly not the first to set similar guidelines like this for photographic competitions.
Nick_w e2
7 4.1k 99 England
22 Oct 2012 6:34PM

Quote: The thing is how are they going to tell? Some people are very skilled with Photoshop.
from how I understand it Pete, they want to see the original RAW file. That's assuming they can't be doctored! With that tho, who then would own the image? And how would you prove it if someone else ad the RAW data ( ok Exif info of camera model no I suppose).

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