Photography Ethics and Photoshop

Digital photography is what makes the bulk of commercial photography today. Most photographers, whether they are wedding photographers in Perth or commercial fashion photographers in LA, cannot afford to stay behind by sticking to film or refusing to work with digital editing techniques. With digital cameras and hundreds of photo editing tools capable of giving almost any photo a professional look and feel to it, going digital is definitely the only way for commercial photographers to survive. Alot of photographers also rely on Photoshop, although there is a gap between those who think that photography should be kept pure and free from any form of post-processing, to those who think that Photoshop is the natural complement to digital photography and it should be used to enhance photos as needed.

Do we cheat when we use Photoshop?

Many photographers ask this question, especially those who are concerned about the integrity of their shots. The short answer would be that it depends on what the photographer wants to convey in his photos, and this often varies between different types of photographers. For example, photojournalists know that their photos should not need any editing at all, since they are required to capture what is happening at that moment or the reality behind the shot. However, there are those who use Photoshop to tweak certain aspects of the picture to make it more appealing or eye catching. Even in the world of photojournalism, there is a divide between those who prefer no edits, to those who use Photoshop to adjust the brightness, clarity, and sharpness of their photos, and still believe that these edits did not diminish the value of the shot.

Photoshop in Commercial Photography

Photoshop enjoys a more welcome reputation among commercial photographers such as wedding, fashion and product photographers. Photographers use Photoshop to give commercial photographs that certain pop. Colors become more vibrant, the photo becomes more dramatic, and the photographer is given full control about how many changes he wants to do on the original photo to meet the requirements of the client.

However, the question of whether or not this practice goes beyond the line is also dependent on a number of factors. In commercial photography a substantial amount of editing is still required but most advertiser also prefer that their products look realistic in the photos. Consumers know when a photograph has been extremely edited, so from an advertising point of view, the line is drawn between making something look good and inviting but not to a point where it starts to look fake or unnatural. This is also true for other photographers who shoot weddings, portraits, and engagements. Photoshop is very useful for removing distracting elements from the photos, smoothing out skin tones, and bringing more light and color into the photo after it has been taken, but it’s use should not be too excessive that it makes the product or shot look unnatural.


So is the use of Photoshop cheating?

There is really no clear-cut answer. Perhaps it only becomes cheating when the software is used to manipulate photos with the intent to deceive, or when used to advertise the benefits of a product that in reality are not there.

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