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Poll - How much post-capture manipulation do you perform?

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    The word ‘manipulate’ has become slightly corrupted in the minds of most of us by the negative implications of its most common usage. When an accountant manipulates the figures it’s generally to disguise something he’d rather not be seen. When an osteopath manipulates a sore back, though, we tend to be glad of it – in the long term, at least.

    In photography, manipulation has similarly conflicting identities, as both a positive and a negative term. While all photographs are by necessity a manipulation of actuality, the first thoughts of many, when the two words come together, is of cheating and deception. And when some manipulation is required, but too much is, well, too much, we have to agree a balance and determine what is allowable.

    This year’s disqualified winner of the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition (News, page 7) was obviously a manipulation, unless David Byrne did find a black & white beach. How much more of a manipulation of the truth can you get than the removal of that which everyone would have seen – colour? But usually we think that’s OK. Having a world with two suns, though, I guess steps over the line.

    Take part in this week's poll - How much post-capture manipulation do you generally perform?


  2. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    As much or as little as possible, depending on what I want the finished result to be - or what is required to get the finished result.

    That may be a quite adjustment of levels, or major editing.

    The majority of the time its just a crop/levels adjustment.
  3. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    A bit of a loaded question really - it depends on what is required.
    A picture of a car may need lots of cloning to get rid of imperfections (dust, flies etc) whereas a landscape will normally just need a dab of dodge and burn.

    Other pictures require a shed load of manipulation - the shots that you can see in your mind but can't get because someone parked a shopping trolley in the way, or there's some muppet behind the bride picking his nose...

    The use of one sky in a different landscape is ok, as long as the sky is right - it's not good to drop a south facing sky on a north facing object, especially if it is from somewhere else entirely; after all, we used to do this with multiple exposures and a lot of wasted prints in the darkroom.
    As long as you're up front about it, then no-one has reason to complain, unless of course it is a 'news' item which could mislead.
  4. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    Well, as much as it needs is the obvious answer but that will vary from person to person. I work on the basis of improving what the camera saw. I don't do things like dropping in skys but I do correct converging verticals where appropriate.
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Stop short of adding or removing anything in the picture that isn't a simple "heal" though accept cropping the image to avoid distractions is Ok. Basic adjustments (white balance, contrast, tones etc.) plus levelling of horizons is OK. Am a bit torn on perspective correction - have been using it recently on some church photos where impossible to capture with vertical camera back.
  6. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Much like LargeFormat, nothing major but I will do some contrast and sharpening adjustment plus play around with curves a little to make sure there is detail in the shadows, finally check the saturation. If it is an interior I should have checked the in-camera levels before exposure so little vertical adjustment will be needed but I almost always adjust the verticals on exteriors of buildings.

  7. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    As much or as little as I feel like. Normally, not a lot, though.
  8. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    From almost nothing to changing the original beyond recognition ... all depends :)
  9. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    This is quite interesting.

    Having just returned from the Ansel Adams exhibition at the Greenwich Museum.

    In that it was quite clear that Mr Adams did a awful lot of post work in the darkroom.

    He freely admitted that he took a quite flat boring negative and through a long and skilful process would improve it.

    His view was that getting the negative was the beginning of the process. Correctly exposed of course.

    Then we have Don McCullin see a B&W on a computer screen from the camera having the sky improved and commenting that it might be cheating.

    I personally do try and keep it to a minimum, first because it time consuming and second it avoids moving to far away from photography.
  10. spangler

    spangler Well-Known Member

    I can't really answer because in all my years of digital photography I've not been able to get my head around this "photoshopping" business and see it as some sort of black art. Sure I'm able to retouch, crop and correct verticals and the like but all this talk about levels, sharpening, mid tones and the like is just unintelligible mumbo jumbo to me despite the endless magazines and books I have about the subject. The only way I would ever learn is by serious one to one hands on tuition and I don't see that ever happening!

  11. velocette

    velocette Well-Known Member

    Like many it all really depends on the individual file but given that 90% at least of my photography is done on compacts that accompany me everywhere my photos often at least require cropping and straightening. Many of them are taken quickly to record and event or happening giving no time for accurate framing and would be classed as the dreaded 'record shot'. Without the availability of some form of post production many of my, to me, most interesting shots would not exist. I also enjoy it.
  12. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    As has been remarked many times, there's photoshopping and then there's photoshopping. In this digital age you really don't need a camera at all to produce "artistic" images, an image manipulation / editing application can produce anything from samples of blank frames. That is NOT photography, in my book at any rate. OTOH basic skills in sharpening etc. are essentially mandatory.

    The verbiage may remain mumbo jumbo but it doesn't matter if you really understand the principles behind digital imaging. There remains no better reference than "The Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing" (Berry & Burnell, ISBN 0-943396-82-4). Try that.
  13. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    As much as is needed.

    Some techniques such as stitching depend on PP.

    A truthful record is impossibe "with or with out" PP

    Archetectural Photography Can either be cleaned up with a broom and gum removal or PP. I would opt for PP any day.

    In most shots, if something "Could" have been seen and interpreted that way, with out PP, Then PP is a valid shortcut.

    The TWO WAYS OF LIFE. 1857. PHOTO BY: OSCAR GUSTAV REJLANDER. leaves Most modern work far behind. People then complaind about the subject matter, not the fact it was a montage. ( Queen Victoria thought enough of it to buy a copy)
  14. Bawbee

    Bawbee Well-Known Member

    Usually only 'Save for Web', I like to get it right with what is actually there in front of the camera = WYSIWYG.
  15. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    WYSIWT I s more like it

    What you see is wishful thinking. It only captures that particular camera/manufacturers/specification/ thoughts on what you you might want, view of reality. It make no attempt at a truth about anything.
    PP is often needed to bring the camera's and your own vew if reality into line.
  16. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    If you take jpegs then the output depends on the settings of many variable parameters - either set by you or the camera manufacturers defaults. With raw files - well you have to process them and the converter has many settings. There's no WYSIWYG - you get what the settings determine.
  17. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Crop, straighten, fiddle with the sliders in LR4.2 to get the colour and contrast right and hopefully avoid the need to use PS. I hate PS. Working with PS is too much like the IT I did as a job. At each new release I say that I will not upgrade. Its addictive so I do upgrade.
  18. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Generally, as little as possible to get as close as I can to what I remember seeing when I took the shot. This is usually at least white balance, some tone curves, and sharpening. Quite often there's horizon straightening, perspective correction, and cropping. Occasionally fairly drastic curves and dodging / burning, or cloning out things like power wires in landscapes.
  19. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    It varies from little more than simple exposure/contrast adjustment and sharpening to complex localised adjustments/cropping/cloning/straightening. Mostly I tend to the simpler end though.

    I rarely mess about with adding skies and major surgery on the image 'cos frankly life's to short...;)
  20. DaveS

    DaveS Well-Known Member

    As little as I can get away with.

    Exposure / contrast mainly, then perhaps crop / horizontal correction / perspective.
    Finally dust removal and unsharp mask.

    Then bin the wretched thing as not worth working on in the first place:eek:

    All done in DPP or perhaps RawTherapee

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