Monday, February 3, 2014

How much cropping, Photoshop manipulation, tweaking, adjusting and adding new elements is okay, enough or too much?


 Hi Photographer friends,

How much cropping, Photoshop manipulation, Tweaking, adjusting and adding new elements is okay, enough or too much?

We all ask ourselves these questions at one time or another. Photography is an art, and just like painting, you can make the final results reflect what you want it to represent. You are creating an image, you are not just reporting an image. A lot of people like to produce HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. Trey Ratcliff specializes in HDR images and he's doing pretty well. As an artist, you are in control, although sometimes the HDR is pushed to the limits and it starts to look like a cartoon. However, if that's the way you feel comfortable in expressing yourself, it's all good.

With today's cameras supporting 24 megapixels and more, you can crop your images effectively.  You can crop, rotate and tweak your images and still have a big enough file to produce medium to large prints suitable for framing.

So...although I believe that there are no limits in creativity, there is one exception. I absolutely refrain from modifying any image that are part of a photo-journalistic essay, or for publishing media. If you are reporting an event, no modifications should ever be made, except for some slight rotation to align the horizon, or similar changes. The content of the original image should always remain unchanged otherwise you are lying to the reading and viewing public.

The first image below is the image that I found most pleasing to me and I had it framed. It is now hanging in my RV.

See how I got there. The original photo is displayed below. There was nothing special about the image, but I saw beyond that and my imagination wanted to bring it to what I thought I saw in the viewfinder, real or imagined.

The first thing I did was to straighten the image and then I cropped it to remove uninteresting  elements.

Working with Photoshop Lightroom 5.0, I changed the lighting, the shadows, the clarity and the contrast. I also adjusted the white balance.  It's not for everyone, but for me, the original image was not a keeper but I was able to make it my preferred image of that day.

You can keep on adding to it, but once you start to add other elements, you are painting an image. There is nothing wrong with it, it's just not the picture you took to begin with. However, it's great for a web site page or for enhancing an image within a pre-selected context.


Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

You can purchase e-books for all the Pentax DSLRs on my e-commerce site. More tips are included and more will be added in the future. The newest e-book about the great Pentax K-3 is available, with more that 300 pages. 

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