I’ve heard it so many times that it started to annoy me: the photoshop and any interference with your photos are evil, when you apply changes to your shots you lie and distort the reality.
I keep saying over and over again that I need to adjust my photos to show people what I have seen.

Skewed Horizons

Oh, that’s my pet hate! Many people ask what is that I really complain about (“I have never noticed it before, but you’ve told my about it and now I always see them!” I heard) and I simply can’t stand looking at the picture which seems to have water spilling off the edges.
Don’t tell me the reality looks like in the shot on the left! It doesn’t. Even if I’m drunk, it doesn’t.

Saturation

I guess it’s a common mistake (trend?) of many travellers, especially beginners. New, faraway places seem that we explore seem attractive and we want to emphasise this attractiveness even further by making the colours brighter.
Believe me, I am perfectly aware of what I’m writing about – I was one of such people some time ago. When I look through my photos from Myanmar that are almost 10 years old I cringe when I see lively, exagerated colours. If I were to visit this country again I’m sure I’d take completely different photos, because although the grass in the rainy season was green it was not that green, and the Shwedagon Paya, shiny as it was, looked a bit different as well.

Colourful World

Have you ever looked at photos and thought, “It can’t be true, it looks so unrealistic!” You probably have.
But, have you ever looked and colourful photos and thought it’s the way the world looks like?

My world, the way I see it, is colourful. The more relaxed and chilled out I am, the more bright and lively the world is (No, I don’t take anything to see it like that).
The two photos below have not been altered or changed in any ways, that’s the way I saw it and my camera reflected it perfectly:

Even if it is cold, grey or foggy I look for colour and if there’s anything I’ll notice it!

Reality

Having read the above, you might be asking yourself how realistic my photos are. Do I really show what’s out there in the world? Somehow, what you see here is my interpretation of the world – I’m showing you how I perceive it and I hope my photos reflect my attitude towards life.

Sometimes I’m too lazy to adjust the setting on my camera, other times it’s raining and I want to be quick… yes, I do use automatic mode and then I look and realise I need to change something to present it the way it ‘really was.

Look at the photo of a Lisbon tram below:

DSC00577

When I saw it on my computer screen I didn’t like it at all, because it was not how I remembered the scene. I focused on the tram itself and the car on the left passed unnoticed. The sun was blinding and when I pulled off my sunglasses to take this photo it was almost burning my eyes.
So, I’d say that the whole scene looked more like this:

DSC00577

“Your version is much too light and bright,” I heard, “I’ll show you what it was like!”

DSC00577-2

And that’s another version of the same scene. Not mine. It looks familiar, but it’s not the way I recall it. So, who is right? What was it really like?

I’ll stick to my opinion (it’s my blog after all, isn’t it?)
And what you’ll see on this blog, it will always be own version of the world.

What is the way YOU see the world?

 

  • Skewed Horizons – my favourite one! :D I hate looking at photos taken by amateurs, e.g. published on FB by local newspapers (like epoznan) which have skewed horizons. It annoys me so much that I can’t focus on the topic of the picture itself. :D
    About other things – I always take photos on manual mode but it, of course!, sometimes happens that I forget to change the settings like aperture and realize it only too late. That’s when I use photoshop, or lightroom. And I don’t think it’s cheating. I think it’s what developing a photograph on the film used to be, especially if you shoot in RAWs.

  • Very interesting post and I agree with you, as long as the pic in the end does not look photoshoped. That is the trick! I am taking a class right now and it helps.

  • Such a great point! It’s true you want to have your photos reflect what you really saw. Sometimes that means you have to tweak the photo. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I like for my photos to look polished. Sometimes, it means they’re good as they are. Other times, I use a tool to make some minor adjustments. No matter what, though, every place/person/situation is represented as I encountered it.

  • Good point, many pictures are not realistic and one can really tell how much it was altered. I understand a bit of photoshopping because as you say, it is as you remember and anyway your photos look realistic.

  • At the end of the day, its your photos. I really believe that photography is an art so no matter how you want to interpret it is highly up to you. I don’t think photoshop or lightroom is cheating either!

  • I always edit photos, but more often than not, it’s to help my photo look more like real life than to exaggerate a scene. Nothing makes me angrier than when I look back at my photos and nothing looks quite as vibrant as I remember. With some slight editing, whites are truer, colors are brighter and the feeling of a place has been recaptured.

  • good post! I am sometimes too lazy to adjust my photos with photoshop, but I do it most of the time. I agree we show the reality, but we cold adjust the shot by camera or photoshop. The tram pic reminds me a photo I took in Milan. I did the same I remove unnesseracy objects from the photo by cropping.

  • I don’t think Photoshop is a lie. I’ve worked as a photo retoucher for a few years and while, yes, in some cases it IS used to skew the reality, for the most part, Photoshop is to digital photography what dark room development and printing is to analog photography. An image straight out of the camera is like a negative, it needs some minor adjustment to come to life. For me, it’s a little sharpening, some white balance, contrast and saturation.

  • This discussion will go on for ages. Is it wrong or is it right? That depends on the individual and like they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! If you have three people take the same photo you will see it presented in three different ways. Now, who is to say that each one is not the reality of the photographer? Like everything else there is the good side and the bad side. Photoshop is a great tool, especially for creating effects. How you chose to use it is your decision.

  • I completely agree with skewed horizons annoying the life out of me – something that can be so easily corrected and doesn’t alter the shot at all (after all the photographer was probably holding the camera at an angle – rather than the world being ON that odd angle!) – so all for making that adjustment. Saturation I can take or leave, some shots I really appreciate the bold colours – others, it just looks silly! But each to their own, after all if they are your own photos, they should be all about what you like and what you saw – and nobody can take that away from you.

  • Interesting point! I agree with you–sometimes a photo needs to be adjusted to make it look a bit more like the scene was in real life, especially if the photo is underexposed or something isn’t set quite right when taking the photo. I always hate crooked horizons, too! That one always gets me!!

  • Saturation is one of my biggest pet peeves, I often see overly-saturated photos on Instagram and it makes me want to scream. I’ve always seen editing photos just like developing a film. Our cameras edit the photos from the moment we press the shutter button, why not editing them the way we remember the scene? :)