That is the question.
Everything we see in media is photoshop-ed in one way or another and if you go to school for marketing or any kind of graphics, editing is strongly encouraged. I would say just about everything is touched up at least a little now a days (even if to just make the shot a little more like it appeared in real life– ie: a slight upping in contrast– or cropping the infamous finger out of a shot). When is it okay to alter your work?
Above is the original photograph of a tree right outside my building taken with my cellphone. It’s a so-so shot (too much glare from the sun) but with a little edit in contrast it would be alright. Using the edit option on my phone, let’s see what can be made with it.
Version 1: Contrast Overkill
Not bad at all. The tones add a lot of weight to the piece and the light-to-dark guides the eyes from the upper left corner to the lower right. The muted background colors also make the subject (in this case the flowers) pop a little bit more.
Version 2: Latte / Septa-tone
This version as a very warm feeling, giving an illusion of heat and summer. We can tell by the subject that it is early spring but since even the darkest parts of the image have some warmth to them (notice that even the ‘blacks’ in the piece aren’t true black but a brown color), the mind is tricked. Notice also the white border (black would have been too heavy in this case).
Version 3: Blue X Process
The blue invokes a feeling of cool breezes and/or water, even though the image is clearly of flowers. To me, this screams fresh air and energy. Unlike the more orange version above, a lot of the original colors are preserved (the greens still look green). Where as in version 2 I heard cicadas when looking at it, here I hear wind chimes.
So what do you think about editing photographs? How much is too much? Which is your favorite version? Do you like playing with your phone’s/computer’s options and if so which is your favorite?