Definition for photo ameteur club photo competition

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Tass, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. Tass

    Tass Guest

    I am looking for wording for digitally enhanced photo. This is for rules
    for competition for a small photo club so that members can differentiate
    between a photo has been digitally lightened, cropped, fixed red-eye and
    adjusted using a programs special filters such as "watercolours effects".
    From what I hear most digital photos are "changed" someway. I am getting
    differing opinions on what a digitally enhanced photo really means. Any
    feedback and definitions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    Tass, Mar 21, 2007
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  2. Tass

    Pat Guest

    Yes, almost all pictures are digitally enhanced in some way, even
    pictures shot of film and processed at your neighborhood one-hour
    photo place. The only exception might be something shot on RAW and
    printed with no modifications. Even converting to JPG is, in some
    sense, a modification.

    I think what you are trying to do is to stop excess manipulation, not
    all manipulation. But defining "excess" then becomes your problem.

    Maybe start by saying that you on only adjust lightness/darkness and
    contrast but only as it is applied to the entire image. Probably also
    allow cropping. These are what one could have easily done in a
    darkroom back in "the day" and still shows the images pretty much as
    it was taken.

    Eliminating red eye is done on a spot basis and generally shows a poor
    image, so if you're going to get rid of selective dodging and burning,
    you should get rid of that, too.

    I hope this helps. Good luck with the contest.
    Pat, Mar 21, 2007
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  3. Tass

    King Sardon Guest

    You could define three degrees of digital manipulation:

    1) Not altered in any way (pretty extreme if you ask me, since there
    is always automatic manipulation in the camera),

    2) Digitally enhanced (meaning using ONLY techniques that emulate
    traditional darkroom and finishing techniques such as cropping,
    rotating, burning/dodging, adjusting color balance and brightness,
    dust spotting, etc.; plus digital sharpening,

    3) Free use of any digital techniques to any degree.

    You could try to define a category somewhere between 2 and 3 where
    certain additional techniques are allowed, but you would probably have
    to define it in the context of a specific software such as Photoshop,
    or maybe some other SW with more limited capabilities.

    IMHO, in the end, cameras, lenses and SW programs are just tools. It
    is still the maker's talents that limit the quality of images. So it
    might be preferable to not restrict digital manipulation at all. True,
    good SW costs money and takes time and some talent to learn, and
    requires a computer.

    But similar logic applies to cameras, lenses, lights, and so on. I
    don't know of any clubs that limit that kind of gear. It's just that
    digital processing is newer and many old crotchety photographers
    haven't embraced it yet. Camera clubbers are a conservative bunch!

    So have a look at the members, discuss, and see how far you can go!

    King Sardon, Mar 21, 2007
  4. Instead of pondering whether something has changed, try pondering
    whether it hasn't changed.

    Here are some rules for my camera club. See "Category Guidance Notes":
    Barry Pearson, Mar 21, 2007
  5. Tass

    Colin_D Guest

    Some 'digital enhancement' is basic and necessary, like sharpening,
    since all digital images need some degree of sharpening. Dodging and
    burning is the digital equivalent of analog techniques in darkroom
    printing, as is cropping and resizing, and unsharp masking.

    Removing red-eye is difficult in a darkroom, but can be done by
    retouching with dye on the print. Whether a print is lighter or darker
    is equally easy with darkroom printing, just vary the print exposure.
    Print techniques like bromoil can produce artistic effects like your
    'watercolor' example.

    My point is, the majority of what 'digital enhancement' can do can also
    more or less be done with analog prints, albeit with more exacting work.

    Digital manipulation of images mainly offers simpler and speedier ways
    of achieving similar effects to darkroom work, with relatively few
    capabilities that analog cannot do, e.g. changing some colors but not
    others, like making a red flower blue without affecting the background.

    Overall, I were in your club, I would be concerned if (some) digital
    techniques were to be outlawed while leaving free rein to analog prints.
    In the end, the image is what counts, and not the method of making it.

    Colin D.
    Colin_D, Mar 21, 2007
  6. One set of rules tries to limit things to what a master printer could do
    in a traditional darkroom. Problem is, that turns out to allow
    composites and removal of entire objects from the picture, which turns
    out not to be what people looking for such rules usually want to allow.
    Similarly, people cross-processed film sometimes, to get completely
    bizarre colors and tonal scales.

    So they go for stronger rules -- rules forbidding things that master
    printers routinely did in the darkroom. That seems wrong to me; that's
    restricting photography to *less* than its traditional powers. Mostly
    that's not what they really wanted, either.

    Similarly, the technology of digital photography is such that some
    modest unsharp masking is *required* to produce good images; digital is
    different from film.

    Do you really know what you want to achieve? Can you describe it in
    English that is fairly clear to other photographers (but probably not
    defensible against a determined legal onslaught)? If you can't
    communicate it to another photographer who's trying to understand,
    you're not ready to use it in competition yet. If you *can* communicate
    it, start with that, and get people to help develop rules relatively
    resistant to "rules lawyering".
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 21, 2007
  7. Selective dodging and burning? And, hence, use of masks on the
    brightness, contrast, and color adjustments? How about retouching?
    Traditional darkroom portrait photographers routinely retouched
    blemishes on faces and such -- sometimes working directly on the
    negatives (I don't think my nerves could ever have stood that).
    Selective sharpness adjustments (done with stockings over the lens, plus
    masking frames, in the darkroom)?

    Glad to see sharpening in there, since the technology really requires it
    to look decent.
    And in many cases you'd have to take the word of the artist how he
    actually achieved an effect, I think.
    I agree entirely.
    So I hear -- hence my avoiding them :).

    Also, a lot of them aren't very good printers, and have no idea what's
    really possible in the darkroom. Or don't even make prints at all -- if
    they just exhibit slides, it's all camera originals, just the "score",
    no actual "performance" (to borrow an old metaphor; Ansel Adams?).
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 21, 2007
  8. Tass

    Roy G Guest

    Have a look at any Photo Club, or P.S.A., or F.I.A.P.for a copy of their
    rules, then adapt them.

    Don't bother trying to restrict the amount of Manipulation.

    Roy G
    Roy G, Mar 22, 2007
  9. An exception to that is often made for Natural History pictures, where
    many competitions and exhibitions have a separate category for NH. The
    rules are pretty universal, and strict, both about the habitat and the

    The reason is that you can take a stuffed animal in a studio then
    Photoshop it, but that isn't what the audience wants, and it doesn't
    reward the specialist skills needed for NH work. A camera club may
    want to recognise that some of its workers have valuable skills other
    than Photoshop, and perhaps have a special trophy.

    (My local camera club allows manipulated or zoo bird/animal shots in
    its annual exhibition's "Portrait" or "General" categories, but not
    its "Natural History" category. We also, perhaps more controversially,
    have strict "Photojournalism" and "Record" categories in our
    exhibition, although some argue that these are out of date).
    Barry Pearson, Mar 22, 2007
  10. Tass

    george Guest

    Seriously, why bother? Virtually ALL photos, film and digital, are
    manipulated (cropped, dodged, burned-in, etc., etc.). If you're worried
    about "excessive" manipulation (whatever that is), you'd wind up
    disqualifying the likes of Ansel Adams. I'd go more for "creative" and
    "realistic" categories where creative would allow the addition and
    subtraction of picture elements (objects) that weren't actually in the
    original capture while realistic would allow only cropping, dodging, and
    burning-in (i.e., framing and lighting manipulation).

    Anyway, that's my two cents...
    george, Mar 22, 2007
  11. Tass

    tomm42 Guest

    I would have every photographer list their camera, whether it is a
    Canon A510, Nikon D200, a Linhof, or a Brownie. Then how did you print
    the image pigment ink jet, dye inkjet, chromogenic color or silver
    halide. If you have someone going crazy with manipulation you can have
    a manipulated print category, print manipulation can be done analog or
    digital too. To do effective manipulation with Photoshop is not just a
    few clicks as I have heard in some news reports. Also remember there
    is very little commercial printing that is not digital almost the only
    place where projection enlarging is being done is in home darkrooms.

    tomm42, Mar 22, 2007
  12. I believe you misunderstand the reasons for the special category. I
    think the point is to make sure that the photo represents the actual
    appearance in the wild of the animals and plants, so that any
    conclusions reached from it won't turn out to be misleading about the
    real world. (Plus additional rules to protect the environment and
    subjects from damage by photographers.)
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 22, 2007
  13. For contests I'd suggest this: the picture must be presented in at least
    one version that is directly out of the camera in JPEG format,
    with only color temperature and exposure corrected ex post facto,
    or converted from RAW in the camera maker's program, preferably
    using a fixed set of parameters.

    The picture can be presented in another version which has been
    Photoshopped at the presenter's desire. If the judges consider
    it to have excessive artistic use of Photoshop, it will be
    entered in the Photoshop division of the competition only. :)
    Judges will remember that Ansel Adams did not have Photoshop.

    Doug McDonald
    Doug McDonald, Mar 22, 2007
  14. In the case of my local camera club, I certainly didn't misunderstand
    anything. I was the one who proposed the rules!
    Barry Pearson, Mar 22, 2007
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