If a picture you see is “not real” or has been manipulated in some way do you still like it?
The reason I am asking this question is the fact that I like to create ‘art’ from my photographs. I may take an object out of the picture to make it look cleaner or more minimalist, I have also added things in like trees or rain and I’ve swapped a sky from dull grey clouds to a bright orange sunset image.
Taylor Park, St Helens, Merseyside
12mm, iso 200, f13, 1/250th sec.
So let’s say you see a beautiful reflection image on social media and you then later find out that the reflection has been added in Photoshop, is this acceptable for you? Do you still like the picture or do you now think I don’t like it because its been manipulated? I’m interested in your opinion on this?
What is Photography Art?
There are a few different names for Photo art but in my opinion it is a picture that somebody has created very much in the same way an artist would paint a picture. They have a vision in their mind and they then try to re-create it on canvas or in this case as a picture to hang on a wall. Whether you add reflections or remove a tree, your creativity is driving you to make this decision, you have total artistic licence to express yourself and that’s the thing for me, its your picture so you can do what you like with it surely.
Another brilliant point about photography or art is that it is completely subjective. What I like may not be what the next person likes. I may want to place my subject in the top right and they may like it positioned in the bottom left. So neither is wrong It’s just the fact that we have different opinions and that’s all they are, opinions.
One of the best pieces of advice I have been given was to “make sure you take pictures for yourself. Take pictures that you like and you will then gain a following based on your interests and your style” and I’ve stuck by this ever since. What’s the point in trying to please others if you yourself are not enjoying the images you’re taking.
“But it Didn’t Look Anything Like That!”
Maybe not, but again you must have had a visual image in your mind of what you was hoping to see before heading out. I’m a dreamer and I always yearn for high level clouds, a burning sunset and still water…….I very rarely get them, but a guy can dream.
So maybe this was the only day you could venture out with your camera and the conditions weren’t what you was hoping for, you still would like to be rewarded for your efforts with a nice picture at the end of the day. If you need the help of Photoshop to create an image that you like therefore helping you make the best of the poor conditions, then I see nothing wrong with this because after all, it is your art that you are creating.
I mostly tell people up front that an image isn’t real or has been manipulated but aslong as your not trying to pass it off as real documentary photography then I think even not telling people is fine. However, if somebody did ask me “is that real” I would always tell them the truth.
My Basic Technique to Create Reflections.
First of all i shoot all my images in RAW format to capture the maximum amount of detail possible. A RAW file compared to a jpg file retains a lot more detail in the highlights and shadows especially but also produces a very flat looking picture, probably nothing like what you actually saw at the time. The idea then would be to edit the image and bring out all that detail by using the multiple sliders or adjustment tools available in your editing software.
I will import the image into Adobe Lightroom, apply my edit and once I’m happy with my adjustments I then export that image into Adobe Photoshop where I will create my reflections.
Now I copy a section of my image usually where I think the water would meet the shore and paste it onto a new layer, flip it upside down and place it over the bottom of the original layer to create a symmetrical reflection. With a couple of finishing touches to give the image realism eg, adding motion blur to the reflection making it look more like water etc and that’s pretty much it. There are plenty of tutorials on how to do this this sort of thing on you tube and it is pretty simple with the correct software. The hard part is giving the image realism and this is the area which I have struggled in the past. Patience and attention to detail is required to do it well so that all the little details don’t give away to easily what you’ve done. I’ve learned a lot about the way in which objects reflect themselves in water especially by using this method.
I like what I’ve created using Photoshop in the past and I will continue to do this because I enjoy the results.
What I’ve found is that photography is completely individual the the person behind the camera, you will develop your own style and a pattern will emerge in your work. If you can accept that you will never please everyone all of the time, all be it with your style or the technique you have used to create your art this will give you the confidence and freedom to be creative and who knows , you may come up with that one masterpiece and this time next year, we could be millionaires.
Preston England Temple
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.