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To manipulate or not?

26 Feb 2007 9:46PM
One to get the arguments rolling in.

What is everyones view on digital manipulation?
My personal take is that I am a bit of a purist with trying to get it right in camera. I find a lot of the latest craze of HDR images, look very false and often over saturated. I accept that dodge & burn, crop, filters have always been a part of photography, the area I have an issue with is the use of "stock photos" for skys etc.and adding/removing of parts of the scene that may or may not be there. Who says the camera never lies!

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ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
26 Feb 2007 9:49PM
I think you should do what you want, and if you're happy with it, (*&^ everyone else

cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
26 Feb 2007 9:50PM
Each to his or her own.
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
26 Feb 2007 10:24PM
So you have never adjusted Curves or Levels then Chris...

... for that is 'Manipulation'

JohnHorne 13 1.0k
26 Feb 2007 10:29PM
Adding skies or anything else to the picture was being done long before digital manipulation was on offer.
lobsterboy Plus
14 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2007 10:32PM
Manipulation is completely wrong, images should be a pure representation of what the sensor captured...even a simple crop is pure evil.
User_Removed 13 4.9k England
26 Feb 2007 10:32PM
Everyone tries to get it right in camera surely. But, if the tools are there in PS or ? to make the image even better. What's the point of ignoring them.
Been said before but worth repeating......Traditional Darkroom printing has always used manipulation.....just didn't have the word Digital in front of it.
keithh Plus
14 25.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
26 Feb 2007 10:34PM
I don't remember using the word 'manipulation' either....my granddad called it 'fiddlin' in't darkroom' - I think my grandma thought he meant he had his mags in there.
miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2007 10:43PM
Probably 8/10 people do some form of manipulation post processing (crop, levels etc.). However digital cameras are also manipulating, unless you shoot RAW.
User_Removed 13 4.9k England
26 Feb 2007 10:49PM
No sorry RAW wan't do, it has to be manipulated before it becomes an image.
Only way is to shoot film and have it developed and printed on an enlarger, by a blindfolded and gloved automaton or your Granny ;D
User_Removed 14 17.9k 8 Norway
26 Feb 2007 10:50PM

Quote:'fiddlin' in't darkroom'

27 Feb 2007 10:35AM

Quote:So you have never adjusted Curves or Levels then

I confess when I first started I did (mainly because I felt my pics were so poor. Since getting more into it and attempting to expose correctly, the only adjustments I make now are in Adobe Camera Raw on the the first page, and in CS2. I use the crop/rotate and add frames. (I know a waste of the program). Also I am not that good on CS2 and would rather spend an hour outside behind the viewfinder than inside in front of the PC.

Another point is that my main objection is the changing of pictures that eventually do not represent what the naked eye saw.

Quote:Adding skies or anything else to the picture was being done long before digital manipulation was on offer.

FWIW, I have always disagreed with this practice. My arguament isn't against digital, just manipulation.

JohnHorne 13 1.0k
27 Feb 2007 10:39AM
Well, Rejlander's famous " The Two Ways of Life " created 150 years ago was not what the naked eye saw, but his photographic manipulation created an amazing image.
keith selmes 14 7.3k 1 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2007 1:47PM

Quote:the area I have an issue with is the use of "stock photos" for skys etc.

In the late 19th century it was recommended that a photographer should build a stock of sky negatives for this purpose. If you hadn't the time you could buy a ready made set. It was quite normal practice, choosing the sky you wanted. You could also get the equivalent of an nd grad filter, but the two negative route seems to have been more usual.

edit: sorry, I see thats been covered already.
no way round it though - the photo without the sky negative wouldn't be a real depiction of the scene either.
raziel_uk 14 4.9k
27 Feb 2007 2:08PM
This is a question that comes up from time to time. I would say "What is manipulation?"

If you are making a desk, should you leave it exactly as it is? Don't add any inlay or veneer, etc.?

What about food? When you are cooking should you not add any spices or seasoning?

Does it really matter?

What I do think is wrong, however, is to manipulate an image but say that you haven't. Adding in or taking away things to try and make the original shot better is fine, but don't make out that is a true representation of what was there.

Okay, if the sky bluer than the image has captured or at the moment you took the shot something comes into view and spoils it, then fine make the change.

But don't take a photo of, for example, a landscape, delete the pylons and then make out that the scene is actually like this.

Tell the truth and people are likely to marvel at your manipulation skills anyway.

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