Photo Editing: Creative or Cheating?

A friend photographer once told me,"I don't want to edit my photos. I want it to be perfect straight out of the camera. I think photo-editing is cheating." Sigh...

I respect the opinions of my fellow photographers who agree with the statement above and by no means, I would also like the photos I take to be absolutely perfect straight out of the camera. Who wouldn't?? However, I still do take good photos (well, I'd like to think I do), with good exposures, interesting angles and so on. Yet, I still edit my photos. Why?

I've read about many photographers who are really good at what they do. In fact, they are so good that they do not need to edit their photos... that much. The fact is, almost all commercial/lifestyle photography i.e. portraitures, weddings etc. use some measure of photo editing in the completion of their final product. Some use more and some use less, but, the editing is still there. Is it necessary to edit? Maybe not but being creative individuals, artistic photographers would want to spin their own twist to the photos to achieve their vision of the final product. The touch-ups done on the photos are what makes the photos jump out at you, adds that punch, provides impact, directs your attention and sometimes gives you an emotional stir.

Here is one true fact about photo-editing in my personal opinion. You MUST begin with good photos even if you are editing them in the end. The reason for this is simple; I don't like to waste too much time doing my photo-editing since I do have a day-job and I could mostly only do my editing after working hours or over the weekend. I try to be as simple as possible when it comes to my editing which usually involves colour/tone adjustment, B+W conversion, dodge/burn and some contrast tweaking using non-destructive layering technique which I learnt from reading about them in magazines. That is as far as my knowledge in Photoshop goes. I tried learning photo-manipulation for the heck of it but it gets too complicated so I abandoned the idea. Now, I go with the K.I.S.S. principle in my editing. Below are some examples of edited and unedited photos that I have done.

Top: Original
Bottom: Edited

Top: Original
Bottom: Edited

Left: Original
Right: Edited

Left: Original
Right: Edited

I know that my style will not be able to satisfy everyone's taste in photography but that is life in arts I guess. With that in mind, I always try my best to appreciate what other photographers try to create in the photos that they produce - edited AND non-edited. As for my art,I guess I'll still be shooting first then ask questions later. :D


Mas Light said...

Hmm, depends on situation, some photos need editing some dun. But too much photoshop is bad. That's all I gotta say.

chegu carol said...

one thing i know...ur editing skill is getting way better than doulu2 lah...ekekeke

*komen tidak bias*


Annie said...

kalau sa, sa prefer editted photos than ori.. sebab ada itu wow factor ba.. ;) hehe..

CJane said...

I agree that some photos need editing and some don't. Which reminds me of the day I went into a bridal shop to get my hair and makeup did for a shoot (not my wedding shoot lah). The moment I entered the shop, I noticed this super huge portrait of a newly-wedded couple being displayed on the main hall. It was a beautiful shot, nonetheless.. the only thing that spoils the beauty was the cock-eye (juling) of the groom. It was so obvious that I couldn't help but notice it.

I giggled and whispered to my partner that I wouldn't hang that huge portrait in my house if that was me & him!

My point is.. why didn't they edit the photo and make the groom's eye normal? Not making fun of his eye, but at this modern days, there ARE surgical procedures to fix cock-eyes! And having a permanent portrait like that wouldn't look good.

Just my opinion la.. but if it was me, I'd edit his eye to make him look normal. :P

cicak said...

Sometimes I feel people that say those kinds of things (editing pics are 'cheating'?) are a little 'arrogant'.

Maybe it is fair if there are two categories in all photo contests. One for edited pics and one for straight from the cam.

If I'm going to produce prints for people, I would personally ask them if they want me to 'enchance' the photo or just let print it untouched. Or, ask them if they want to do it themselves.

What's the point of having those photo editing softwares anyway?

Nick Phillips said...

I always edit my pictures. I believe that's why they invented an editing software ... hahaha ...

In my industry, which is Advertising, we ALWAYS edit all our images unless of course the client is real darn cheap than he gets crap from us ... LOL!

d1n0za said...

Well spoken bro. A topic that can go on forever in the photography world. But I stand where you are with what you mentioned in this post. Nuff said.

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