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Old 04-01-2009, 21:12   #1 (permalink)
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Camera functionality -v- Digital editing

Before I asked the question, I am not looking to set off a major debate into photography or open a can of worms on and those for and those against digital editing, but would like to know, in this present technological era we find ourselves in, is it generally accepted that pictures taken nowadays are altered before being printed or posted on general view or sale?

The reason for asking is my late father was a freelance photographer, and I always remember him striving to either get his camera setting correct, or having the right film in his camera, before heading off to his darkroom. Yes I suppose the types of developer and wash and periods of time a print would be submerged would be the same as our todayís digital editing guruís. But as I am getting more and more interested in photography, I am concentrating on getting my camera set up correctly for each shot, rather than relying on the digital editing that my pc allows me to do.
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Old 04-01-2009, 21:39   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Camera functionality -v- Digital editing

i think, and its only my opinion, but if you do the best to get it right incamera, and use editing to finish it off or create what u cant in camera then you should be happy and its using the best of both worlds.
Even film users went into the dark room and dodged and burned and replaced skies etc....... but they would also do the best they could in camera before going onto the dark room..... its all a case of different stages of one art. and the trick is trying to get ALL the stages right! not just one.

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Old 04-01-2009, 21:45   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Camera functionality -v- Digital editing

I don't think there is a definite yes or no answer to your question. Even if you get the perfect exposure and composition in the camera, a print might not look its best without some form of tweaking. If displayed on the web, some sharpening is desirable. A print will look different depending on the light it is going to be viewed under.

When you say 'altered', that can range from a white balance trim to removal of, for instance, an aircraft con trail in the sky - or possibly the most radical alteration of all - the conversion to mono.

Your Father probably used light yellow filters to darken skies when using mono film. With digital your only option to do this is in post processing - another alteration.

A crop is also an alteration. I bet your Father also did this when printing.

So my take on it is that if you are selling a record shot of a location it should be exactly as you see it. Portraits of people should be accurate.

If you are merely producing an image that is pleasing to you, or your audience, it matters not one jot if it is enhanced to correct an overexposed sky or has had other work like increasing the contrast or saturation (or desaturating colours) that results in the final image being a little different to how you saw it.

Creating an image from different elements from a collection of pictures is a completely different ball game and for these images I don't think there can be any rules.
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Old 04-01-2009, 22:49   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Camera functionality -v- Digital editing

I agree with others that you should try to capture the best image possible in the camera. You may still need to make improvements just as we did in darkrooms.

In competition photography, the only subjects which require you not to alter the truth is Natural History and Photojournalism. Even for these some editing is allowed provided it does not alter the basic truth of the picture. For instance you could NOT take a photograph of a Tiger in a Zoo and alter the background to look like jungle and then enter as natural history. The shot must be taken for real in the jungle but you could lighten or darken parts of the image, sharpen or crop.

For all other subjects anything is allowed providing that the image is based on a photograph (i.e. not computer originated) and the photograph and all editing is by the competition entrant (all their own work). This has not really changed from the darkroom era.
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Old 04-01-2009, 23:45   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Camera functionality -v- Digital editing

A digital image is just a load of zeros and ones from the sensor, which are then demosaiced and profiled either in the camera or by a RAW converter. Two different converters will give two different versions of the truth

As already said, unless the image is supposed to be a faithful representation of an event or a scene, PP is a legitimate enhancement tool. Ansel would have loved it!
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Old 05-01-2009, 00:28   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Camera functionality -v- Digital editing

Obviously you should get as much right as possible in camera, but people made contrast, colour and exposure adjustments in the darkroom too...
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:29   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Camera functionality -v- Digital editing

Thank you all for your replys, it has put my mind at rest to the rationale with regards to digital editing..... all i have to do know is get used to not only the fundamental operations of my new camera, but also finding my way round the complexity of a digital editing program.
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