When does editing turns into Fake?

in photography •  9 months ago

Let me start of by saying I am not a writer and this is not meant to be a professional article. It's just a little something I though was an interesting topic and wanted to write a something about the topic.

I was recently readying an interesting article that really got me thinking. As photographers most of us use some sort of post processing applications. Whether its Lightroom, Photoshop, or another application. At what point though does editing turn into fake?

The article I was reading is on the fstoppers website i'll post the link at the bottom. They were discussing a photo by a well known photographer and that one of his images might be a fake. It personally made me wonder at what point do we say that photo is a fake and how much do we really care?


Don't get me wrong I love seeing art and super creative photography when I know that it's supposed to be fake or not actually real but I don't actually know how I feel about a fake photo that someone is trying to pass as real.
(not including fashion and portraits since all of those are photoshopped to a degree).

For Example ill use the photo from the fstoppers article i'm basing this post on.

Look at these images. They are beautiful but are they real and to what degree? The answer (spoilers) is no. No they are not real. Knowing that going in i'm fine with it because its beautiful and a creative composition. However the issue comes as discussed in the article in more length is that the photographer leads you to believe that these were taken completely in camera which is proven to be false.


So what to do about it? First I would say would be call out the photographer for his lie and he should say upfront that its a composite.

Again i'm fine with photos like this when its disclosed that its not a real photo or if you can clearly tell a photo isn't real and the photographer doesn't deny it. My issue is when a photographer tries to pass off a composite photo as real and captured in camera.

So where does that leave us? Well my thoughts and opinions have been discussed and its up to you to make up your own mind. What do you think? Is it ok to fake it and claim its real or do you feel the same way as I do? Or do you not care either way? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for taking the time to read this.

Fstoppers article

Stock images pulled from google images searches.

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Hello @aperterikk

great Article.
I think too that there's a difference between Photos that are meant to be art and those that claims to be real.
Your Work for example seems often heavily edited, but as it's obviously art and no News Article thats no problem in my Opinion.

Personally, i would be interested to see how much Post-Processing you acually use in your work and how much time you spend per Upload.

I wonder how these for example looked out of the camera:

This one one looks quite natural with maybe a bit Lightroom?

This one seems like there's not much left from the original color, but the image itself is still real?

Here i'm pretty sure you spend some time in Photoshop, but i can't tell for sure which parts.

Either way: Great work! Love your blog.

With regards from germany



Hey thanks for the comment. I agree there's a difference between art and those that clame to be real. With my work there are definitely some that are meant o be art and not real. Like the last photo example of mine that's obviously not real and meant be art. The other two while there is some retouching for the portrait I would say around 90% is in camera. If people are interested I would be happy to start posting before and after ever one in a while or speed edit videos if people are interested in seeing that. If you like my article feel free to resteem it. The more input on this topic the better.


Thank you for your answer.

If people are interested I would be happy to start posting before and after ever one in a while or speed edit videos if people are interested in seeing that.
I would definatly appreciate both of these ideas :)

Ok well ill do this then. I'll post some before and after photos and if people comment enough on them asking for it, then ill post the speed edit for that photo on my dtube channel.