enhancing photos - OK or not?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by F. D. Lewis, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. F. D. Lewis

    F. D. Lewis Guest

    the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.

    suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?
    F. D. Lewis, Aug 10, 2006
    #1
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  2. F. D. Lewis

    Paul Heslop Guest

    "F. D. Lewis" wrote:
    >
    > the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >
    > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    > it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    > images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?


    He is supposed to have claimed he was just removing dust, though it is
    obvious that he also added more smoke (as if it needed any extra!)

    I guess it would depend what your results achieved. Making an image
    fit a story should be against the rules but news websites, specially
    the BBC etc seem to use the same stock images often to cover lots of
    stories, say a person was arrested at home, you'll frequently see a
    picture of a policeman guarding a premises, but neither substantially
    clear, so it could be virtually anything you were looking at. Either
    that or one of those striped tapes with 'police' written on it.

    My concern at the moment is that this story is being used to draw
    interest away from the subject of the photographs themselves.

    --
    Paul (Neurotic to the bone No doubt about it)
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Stop and Look
    http://www.geocities.com/dreamst8me/
    Paul Heslop, Aug 10, 2006
    #2
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  3. F. D. Lewis

    ColinD Guest

    F. D. Lewis wrote:
    > the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >
    > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    > it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    > images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?
    >

    I should think that working news photogs would have their cameras set so
    that minimal, if any, work would be required on the images, and apart
    from checking focus and exposure, or maybe selecting the best shots,
    leave the rest to the editor of the paper. Speed is of the essence, and
    wasting time fiddling with images is not in their interest.

    In which case, your question doesn't arise.

    Colin D.

    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
    ColinD, Aug 10, 2006
    #3
  4. > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    > it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    > images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?


    I think for news coverage it boils down to whether the image editor
    actually changes the viewer's perception of what actually happened.
    Improving the image to make it clearer portray the events (which is how
    I'd describe curves and sharpening types of operations) shouldn't be a
    problem. Adding huge plumes of smoke to make the image more impressive
    (and therefore saleable), as the Reuters guy did, is clearly disingenuous.
    Derek Fountain, Aug 10, 2006
    #4
  5. F. D. Lewis

    Guest

    F. D. Lewis wrote:
    > the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >
    > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    > it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    > images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?


    It has never been possible to print an image that is a perfect
    replication of the original scene, not even in film days. The
    developers used, both for the negs and print, affect sharpness,
    contrast and brightness, as does the print paper.

    I would say that digital, especially if on a color-managed setup, is
    probably better in terms of sharpness, brightness and contrast control,
    than film, subject to certain limitations.

    The biggest limitation (either digital OR film) is that a daylit
    (sunny) scene has well over a thousand to one dynamic range. Print
    paper has 50:1 or less. One must ALWAYS decide whether to lower
    contrast to print all tones in image, or leave contrast high and print
    for either the highlights OR the shadows. Now, if you do nothing
    yourself the computer does it for you these days (including the printer
    driver). So NO published photo is a fully accurate recording of a
    scene.
    , Aug 10, 2006
    #5
  6. F. D. Lewis

    Guest

    F. D. Lewis wrote:
    > the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >
    > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    > it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    > images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?


    It has never been possible to print an image that is a perfect
    replication of the original scene, not even in film days. The
    developers used, both for the negs and print, affect sharpness,
    contrast and brightness, as does the print paper.

    I would say that digital, especially if on a color-managed setup, is
    probably better in terms of sharpness, brightness and contrast control,
    than film, subject to certain limitations.

    The biggest limitation (either digital OR film) is that a daylit
    (sunny) scene has well over a thousand to one dynamic range. Print
    paper has 50:1 or less. One must ALWAYS decide whether to lower
    contrast to print all tones in image, or leave contrast high and print
    for either the highlights OR the shadows. Now, if you do nothing
    yourself the computer does it for you these days (including the printer
    driver). So NO published photo is a fully accurate recording of a
    scene.
    , Aug 10, 2006
    #6
  7. F. D. Lewis

    irwell Guest

    On Thu, 10 Aug 2006 12:48:53 +0100, Derek Fountain
    <> wrote:

    >> suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    >> it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    >> images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?

    >
    >I think for news coverage it boils down to whether the image editor
    >actually changes the viewer's perception of what actually happened.
    >Improving the image to make it clearer portray the events (which is how
    >I'd describe curves and sharpening types of operations) shouldn't be a
    >problem. Adding huge plumes of smoke to make the image more impressive
    >(and therefore saleable), as the Reuters guy did, is clearly disingenuous.


    How about in the 'old days' when graphic artists drew, or sketched
    pictures to accompany the news articles. Or even today, in court cases
    when cameras are not allowed, but artists can draw picturees?
    irwell, Aug 10, 2006
    #7
  8. F. D. Lewis

    Roy G Guest

    "F. D. Lewis" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >
    > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    > it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    > images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?



    Hi

    It should be obvious that that sort of adjustment is Ok. That is just
    compensating for what a Film Photographer would do, or have done, in the
    Darkroom to get a good quality image.

    What is not acceptable is adding or subtracting, parts of the image, which
    change what it is representing. One Flare becomes 3, or 1 Fire becomes 2
    or 3.

    The difference between these 2 activities is quite clear, and the second is
    not acceptable.

    Roy G
    Roy G, Aug 10, 2006
    #8
  9. F. D. Lewis

    Guest

    In an earlier era it was said that a photographer was only as good as
    his printer (the professional, not the machine).
    , Aug 10, 2006
    #9
  10. F. D. Lewis

    Marvin Guest

    F. D. Lewis wrote:
    > the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >
    > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    > it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    > images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?
    >



    Any of these steps, in a camera or a computer, can introduce
    distortions into the image. If the intent is to distort in
    a particular way, that is dishonest journalism. It can be
    excellent art.
    Marvin, Aug 11, 2006
    #10
  11. F. D. Lewis

    Annika1980 Guest

    I watched a documentary last night called "War Photographer" featuring
    the life and work of James Nachtwey. He's about the best there is and
    some of his pics are amazing.
    He still shoots film, btw.
    In one segment he had his assistant print a poster size print of one of
    his pics. Then they'd hang it on the wall and Nachtwey would tell the
    guy, "This area needs to be a little lighter." The guy would go back
    to the darkroom, do his magic and return with the corrected version.
    Then Nachtwey would make some more suggestions and the guy would go
    back and do it again.

    The only difference between doing it that way and doing it in Photoshop
    is the amount of time saved if done in the digital darkroom. The point
    is, don't ever assume that a film print isn't heavily manipulated.
    Annika1980, Aug 11, 2006
    #11
  12. F. D. Lewis

    jeremy Guest

    "Marvin" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > F. D. Lewis wrote:
    >> the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >>
    >> suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    >> it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    >> images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?
    >>

    >
    >
    > Any of these steps, in a camera or a computer, can introduce distortions
    > into the image. If the intent is to distort in a particular way, that is
    > dishonest journalism. It can be excellent art.


    I saw a piece by the photo editor of the New York Times, where she addressed
    that issue. The NYT accepts corrections such as sharpening, improving
    exposure values, like adjusting brightness and contrast, and adjusting color
    balance where indicated. It does not accept changes that obviously alter
    the truth that is purportedly being depicted, such as "painting in" objects
    that did not exist on the scene when the image was taken.

    In questionable cases they ask to see the raw image file.

    Their approach seems to be pretty common-sense to me, but it a virtual
    certainty that some photographers and news organizations will be less-strict
    in their interpretation of what constitutes the difference between
    "tweaking" an image and that of fundamentally changing it. The National
    Enquirer, as one example, has been guilty of this sort of thing for decades.
    jeremy, Aug 11, 2006
    #12
  13. Marvin <> wrote:
    >F. D. Lewis wrote:
    >> the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >> suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the
    >> camera. is
    >> it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    >> images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?
    >>

    >
    >Any of these steps, in a camera or a computer, can introduce
    >distortions into the image. If the intent is to distort in a
    >particular way, that is dishonest journalism. It can be
    >excellent art.


    Not quite precise enough language. All of those produce
    distortion (which is a predictable change between the input data
    and the output data), but that does *not* make anything
    dishonest. Distortion is a *necessary* and *persistant* part
    making images!

    If the distortion is done with intent to *deceive*, that is
    dishonest. It's the deception, not the distortion, that is
    dishonest.

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Aug 11, 2006
    #13
  14. "Annika1980" <> wrote:
    >I watched a documentary last night called "War Photographer" featuring
    >the life and work of James Nachtwey. He's about the best there is and
    >some of his pics are amazing.
    >He still shoots film, btw.
    >In one segment he had his assistant print a poster size print of one of
    >his pics. Then they'd hang it on the wall and Nachtwey would tell the
    >guy, "This area needs to be a little lighter." The guy would go back
    >to the darkroom, do his magic and return with the corrected version.
    >Then Nachtwey would make some more suggestions and the guy would go
    >back and do it again.
    >
    >The only difference between doing it that way and doing it in Photoshop
    >is the amount of time saved if done in the digital darkroom. The point
    >is, don't ever assume that a film print isn't heavily manipulated.


    Developing film *is* a (necessary) heavy manipulation! *All*
    photographs are by definition heavily manipulated. It starts
    when the photographer picks a camera and film, and continues with
    each and every adjustment to equipment used to generate the
    final product.

    Added manipulation to make the photo more artistic, more
    appealing, more informative, etc. etc. is all an accepted part
    of being a photographer. E.g., adjusting exposure to
    bring out details in the shadows while losing the highlights, or
    visa versa, is a typical manipulation, and is *not* dishonest.

    Manipulation to *deceive* the viewer is dishonest. If
    manipulation is done to make the viewer conclude something to be
    true which is not, it is dishonest if used for "information"
    purposes (as opposed to comedy, etc.).

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Aug 11, 2006
    #14
  15. F. D. Lewis

    Scott W Guest

    Marvin wrote:
    > F. D. Lewis wrote:
    > > the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    > >
    > > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    > > it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    > > images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?
    > >

    >
    >
    > Any of these steps, in a camera or a computer, can introduce
    > distortions into the image. If the intent is to distort in
    > a particular way, that is dishonest journalism. It can be
    > excellent art.


    The term distortions is rather odd in this context, IMO.

    What get printed on page of a newspaper or magazine will never be the
    exact image that was seen by the camera, the dynamic range of the print
    is far to small for this. So the photographer or photo editor has to
    decide how to best use the limited range of the print and make needed
    adjustment to contrast and brightness of the photo. As far as
    saturation this has been "adjusted" in the past by simply choosing
    a film has the desired saturation.

    Scott
    Scott W, Aug 11, 2006
    #15
  16. F. D. Lewis

    Isaiah Beard Guest

    F. D. Lewis wrote:
    > the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >
    > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    > it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    > images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?



    I've written a policy on digital image preservation standards for my
    employer that addresses this. Of course this was before the whole
    Reuters incident, and we're taking this from the standpoint that we're
    going to try and preserve digital images, and that generally means
    making a best effort at keeping an unmodified original around. SO, it
    wasn't written to combat fraudulently modified images, but I imagine
    that if Reuters, AP and other new organizations had this policy in
    place, it might cut down on this type of fraud.

    Basically, whenever someone takes digital images for us, they MUST give
    us an unmodified original. Preferably, that unmodified original should
    be a RAW image straight off the media card, directly off the camera.
    From there, we convert the RAWs into digital negatives (DNGs) using
    Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom, to keep a consistent format.

    In addition to that, the photographer can submit an exposure, color
    and/or contrast-modified "presentation copy." They can do this with
    either an xmp sidecar (basically an XML file that indicates how they
    want the exposure, brightness, contrast and colorspace modified from the
    RAW), or a separate TIFF or JPG. But, the photographer is made aware
    that while we will take their presentation under advisement, we will
    almost always create our own TIFF or JPG derivatives from the original RAW.

    The RAW images have embedded EXIF metadata that tells us a number of
    things. It tells us what camera make and model took the photo
    (sometimes even the individual serial number is included), what date and
    time was set on that camera's clock, what exposure modes were used,
    wether the flash fired, etc. But, if any software like Photoshop
    somehow touched this image before we got ou hands on it, that data is
    normally embedded in there as well, and then we know to look carefully
    at the image. Anything that comes to us in TIFF-only will also be
    highly suspect. And we rarely accept anything that comes to us as a JPG
    or any other form of lossy compression, purely on quality reasons.
    We'll sometimes make exceptions IF the material is really good and worth
    using, AND believe beyond a shadow of the doubt that the source can be
    trusted. Even so, we still check carefully for modifications.

    Now, can the EXIF data on the RAW images be forged? Most certainly it
    can, if you really know what you're doing. This procedure isn't
    foolproof, and unfortunately I doubt that any method for detecting fakes
    will be 100% accurate 100% of the time. But it does ensure that the
    fraudster will need a high level of expertise and skill to circumvent
    what we have in place and get through unscathed. Judging by the
    handiwork of the guy who doctored up the Reuters Beirut photos, he
    doesn't even know how to use the clone stamp tool effectively. So, I
    doubt he even knows what EXIF is, much less how to modify it.




    --
    E-mail fudged to thwart spammers.
    Transpose the c's and a's in my e-mail address to reply.
    Isaiah Beard, Aug 11, 2006
    #16
  17. F. D. Lewis

    Isaiah Beard Guest

    Roy G wrote:

    >> suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is
    >> it then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on
    >> images before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?

    >
    >
    > Hi
    >
    > It should be obvious that that sort of adjustment is Ok.


    That would be most peoples' observation at first. But then, do you
    remember the infamous OJ mugshot?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._J._Simpson_murder_trial#Mugshot

    Cleary a case where contrast and brightness modifications were
    purposefully used to make someone appear "more sinister." So even these
    enhancements need to be done with great care.




    --
    E-mail fudged to thwart spammers.
    Transpose the c's and a's in my e-mail address to reply.
    Isaiah Beard, Aug 11, 2006
    #17
  18. F. D. Lewis

    Paul Mitchum Guest

    F. D. Lewis <> wrote:

    > the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >
    > suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is it
    > then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on images
    > before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?


    It's getting to the point that changing the settings on your camera from
    little-mountain-icon to little-flower-icon is a revolutionary act of
    political courage.
    Paul Mitchum, Aug 11, 2006
    #18
  19. F. D. Lewis

    Paul Mitchum Guest

    Annika1980 <> wrote:

    > I watched a documentary last night called "War Photographer" featuring
    > the life and work of James Nachtwey. He's about the best there is and
    > some of his pics are amazing.
    > He still shoots film, btw.
    > In one segment he had his assistant print a poster size print of one of
    > his pics. Then they'd hang it on the wall and Nachtwey would tell the
    > guy, "This area needs to be a little lighter." The guy would go back
    > to the darkroom, do his magic and return with the corrected version.
    > Then Nachtwey would make some more suggestions and the guy would go
    > back and do it again.
    >
    > The only difference between doing it that way and doing it in Photoshop
    > is the amount of time saved if done in the digital darkroom. The point
    > is, don't ever assume that a film print isn't heavily manipulated.


    That's a really good movie. But the thing is: He was preparing those
    photos for an exhibition, not for editorial publication. All that
    dodging and burning likely wouldn't cut it in editorial terms.

    Nachtwey has a web site: <http://www.jamesnachtwey.com/> It's full of
    utterly amazing photographs.
    Paul Mitchum, Aug 11, 2006
    #19
  20. F. D. Lewis

    Philippe Guest

    Paul Mitchum wrote:
    > F. D. Lewis <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>the Reuters photos bring up a general topic.
    >>
    >>suppose you've turned down saturation and sharpening in the camera. is it
    >>then OK to use levels, saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop on images
    >>before submission? have you changed any of the subject matter?

    >
    >
    > It's getting to the point that changing the settings on your camera from
    > little-mountain-icon to little-flower-icon is a revolutionary act of
    > political courage.

    but my little flower icon (on my state of the art G2) makes things go
    all fuzzy unless I'm right there..

    Is it still an act of courage then?

    :p
    P.
    Philippe, Aug 11, 2006
    #20
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