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(Telegraph)   Exactly how much photoshopping are you allowed to do in a photography contest before the judges disqualify you for 'too much' photoshopping?   (telegraph.co.uk) divider line 162
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24126 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:49 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-05 04:25:53 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: Where one person spends a month of their lives staked out to capture the perfect shot with the sun in the right place in the sky and the weather just so, another will take a mediocre base image and dodge and burn until what he's looking for 'pops'. It's a disservice to those who work hard for their pure shots.


What about all the time invested in developing (haha) the digital skills needed? Isn't it doing a disservice to photographers who have taken that trouble to allow them to be trumped automatically by someone who just happened to be there when the sun was in a particular position?
 
2012-11-05 04:28:37 AM  

Krieghund: Stop making sense, subby.


Done in one.
 
2012-11-05 04:28:56 AM  
LOL, look at the same place but from a different photo done by another guy.

farm9.staticflickr.com

Yup, WAY TOO MUCH Photoshop.
 
2012-11-05 04:29:25 AM  

moothemagiccow: So New Layer is out?


Depends on the blend mode.

You can do many layer effects in the darkroom by duplicating negatives and using masks and interpositives.
 
2012-11-05 04:31:11 AM  

rocky_howard: Ah, you're a curves guy.


I am.
 
2012-11-05 04:35:35 AM  

rocky_howard: LOL, look at the same place but from a different photo done by another guy.

[farm9.staticflickr.com image 640x366]

Yup, WAY TOO MUCH Photoshop.


i.imgur.com
 
2012-11-05 04:40:45 AM  

moothemagiccow: The whole damned art is manipulation.


THIS.

Whether you do it with chemicals or software, the end result is the same.

Software is just easier. And less smelly.

I like to do it sold school every now and then because it forces you to be a better photographer.

I also like the idea of hybrid processes - shoot on film, scan it to digital, print to a negative transparency, and make a silver gelatin contact print from that (possibly using alternative processing). I've done a couple prints that way and they're amazing. There are a couple good books out there to get you started.

Basically you're replacing the enlarger with the computer.
 
2012-11-05 04:42:12 AM  
www.youmoron.org
 
2012-11-05 04:45:15 AM  
lootie hasnt made me smile so much in ages
 
2012-11-05 04:48:49 AM  

American Decency Association: lootie hasnt made me smile so much in ages


You're welcome.
 
2012-11-05 05:04:00 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: It's a disservice to those who work hard for their pure shots.


Exactly. Quality isn't defined by the final product, it's defined by how much work you did to get there. Which is of course why I refuse to use a keyboard and do all my data entry by manually triggering a sequence of bits to the serial port of my computer (which is itself built from boards with hand-etched tracings, which I created using a knife I forged myself in a furnace powered only by my sense of righteousness). Anything less would lead to low-quality text, that while indistinguishable from high-quality text, required much less work to create and therefore is not "pure" enough for my standards.

If you want to have a "waiting for good lighting conditions contest" go ahead. I'm sure there are some people who love the idea. But you don't get to redefine "photography".
 
2012-11-05 05:12:06 AM  

profplump: AverageAmericanGuy: It's a disservice to those who work hard for their pure shots.

Exactly. Quality isn't defined by the final product, it's defined by how much work you did to get there. Which is of course why I refuse to use a keyboard and do all my data entry by manually triggering a sequence of bits to the serial port of my computer (which is itself built from boards with hand-etched tracings, which I created using a knife I forged myself in a furnace powered only by my sense of righteousness). Anything less would lead to low-quality text, that while indistinguishable from high-quality text, required much less work to create and therefore is not "pure" enough for my standards.

If you want to have a "waiting for good lighting conditions contest" go ahead. I'm sure there are some people who love the idea. But you don't get to redefine "photography".


Horsecrap. Pure horsecrap.
 
2012-11-05 05:15:22 AM  
Back in the days of film all those darkroom tricks were not allowed in most comps either, there were, and are, special comp categories for manips.

I take part in a super-amateur online series where the winner of each one sets the next subject and rules. Most people say no shopping beyond the usual post-proc. When I win I usually set a 'free' rule for my subjects for a change of pace.

The only important thing is that everyone involved is clear what the rules are and are playing to the same set, and judges know what they are judging. In this case that was not the way of it.
 
2012-11-05 05:25:10 AM  
The guy who took this picture had his own system of developing film to get the tonal structure he wanted and then heavily manipulating light when he printed the photos, and he did pretty well as a photographer...both financially and with the critics besides. Maybe you've heard of him...Ansel Adams.

sfreporter.com
 
2012-11-05 05:27:07 AM  
I think this also depends on which genre of photography you're judging in. Photojournalism should be minimal manipulation (or else stuff like this happens), landscape/nature/architecture should allow a little more, then fine art should be open to the imagination.

That said, if you're going to be judging photoshopped photographs, the photographer should have to submit the RAW image with the PNG to show the original photograph and the manipulations they apply to their artwork. Not only would this assure they followed the rules, but would show the extent of their work they put in to the photo. Photoshop is a learned skill, and being able to use it well is, I think, harder to effectively use a camera.

At the end of the day, it's all how the artist uses their tools to get the end result. Some photographer's have achieved much better effects in a dark room than with photoshop. Same the other way around. There just has to be some rules when reality is demanded because even though photography is the closest we've come to capturing the real world, it's really easy to fool people with.
 
2012-11-05 05:29:30 AM  

Iplaybass: Horsecrap. Pure horsecrap.


I'm afraid I have no "pure" horsecrap. As soon as it becomes available I mix it with grass clippings (from the lawn that I cut by hand, one blade at a time, using flint blades rendered from Chert nodules in the limestone deposition I've laying, grain-by-grain) and bake it into bricks.
 
2012-11-05 05:29:32 AM  

Drunk Astronaut: The guy who took this picture had his own system of developing film to get the tonal structure he wanted and then heavily manipulating light when he printed the photos, and he did pretty well as a photographer...both financially and with the critics besides. Maybe you've heard of him...Ansel Adams.

[sfreporter.com image 607x792]


I remember watching the NG special on Ansel Adams where he went through his process of taking and developing a photograph. The level of expertise and sheer magnitude of equipment he was proficient with was staggering. It also really made me want a large format camera.
 
2012-11-05 05:30:06 AM  
i.telegraph.co.uk

When your photo resembles a prog rock album cover, it's over-photoshopped.
 
2012-11-05 05:39:58 AM  

Cornelius Dribble: [i.telegraph.co.uk image 620x283]

When your photo resembles a prog rock album cover, it's over-photoshopped.


I think the way the sun is clearly straight ahead but the shadows are waaay over to one side is a bit much. Tweaking one image seems rather different from gluing two together.
 
2012-11-05 05:50:27 AM  
Guys you HAVE to have limits on manipulation or people who take actual photographs will be effectively excluded... it is photogrpahy not 'imaging'.

We can render amazing pictures in 3D of things that never existed, should those be acceptable entries? All agree not, so have agreed there is a line, it is simply a matter of where it should be.
 
2012-11-05 06:05:14 AM  

rocky_howard: AverageAmericanGuy: No photoshopping should be acceptable in a photography contest.

Uh...where do you think Photoshop got its name from? It's been done for decades.


img824.imageshack.us
 
2012-11-05 06:08:48 AM  
Didn't read thread, but anything past color correction and cropping is basically cheating. You cannot add new information into the picture.
 
2012-11-05 06:36:50 AM  

gaspode: Guys you HAVE to have limits on manipulation or people who take actual photographs will be effectively excluded... it is photogrpahy not 'imaging'.


That seems reasonable, but I don't see why those limits should be set by what was possible back in Ye Olde Days of silver nitrate.
 
2012-11-05 07:17:17 AM  

orbister: Mock26: If what you did could be duplicated in a dark room then it should be allowed. Anything beyond that should not be allowed.

For how long should photographic skills be limited by the possibilities of a chemical process which has already been obsolete for ten years or more? In fifty years time there will be hardly any photographers around who have ever used film or paper.


Exactly. I've never used film in my life or a darkroom, and neither have a lot of my generation (millennials). We don't have the learned sense of how it was done before to transfer that theory over to Photoshop, and it's be quite a time and money investment in something you are not going to use. That's like forcing prospective drivers to master equestrianism first, because a lot of the rules of the road stem from that era of transport.
 
2012-11-05 07:34:01 AM  
learn how to use a paintbrush to apply paint on a canvas.
 
2012-11-05 07:37:58 AM  
This guy should have submitted it to an Iranian photo contest instead.

I couldn't find it but I remember just a couple of years ago there was a winning photo from an international contest that was also later disqualified when they discovered any kind of photoshopping. It was a photo with a Chinese worker injecting a birth control drug into a pigeon with tens of pigeons filling out the frame behind her in a dramatic fashion. Turns out they discovered that the photographer went back and cloned two of the birds to fill in a bit of a gap so they tossed the image out.
 
2012-11-05 07:52:19 AM  
It's a photography contest, not a digital art contest.

When you get in to adding elements, taking away elements (I'd allow dust spot removal, personally), creating something that you didn't see and photograph - that's digital art. Levels and light adjustment, sure. A camera still can't take what we can see for a photo and those adjustments are often needed to make it how we saw it.

I was disappointed to read in a major photography magazine about a photographer that added mist to flamingos in a swamp to add drama. That's not a photo, he didn't see it. He created it.

The other example was birds flying between two trees with the sun as the backdrop. He said he took a picture of the trees and sun, looked down at his bag for something, looked up, saw the birds to the right of the tree and took the photo. He later moved the birds to between the trees. His reasoning was that it had happened he just missed the photo. Assuming the birds did fly through the middle he still missed the photo - too bad. It's still digital art.

I don't enter contests because I'm not good with photoshop and I don't want to be.

Tired of wondering if a photo is a photo or if it's digital art - it does a disservice to the great photographers.
 
2012-11-05 08:07:39 AM  

wildcardjack: I think that adjusting levels might be okay, but any movement of elements of the image would be well into PS territory. I've been told that a big part of the genius of Ansel Adams was the result of tweaks in the development process.

Although we do appreciate the works that show up here.


Pretty much this. Adjusting light levels, color balance, compositing images to create an HDR image -- which, I'm told, the newest generation of cameras will actually do in-camera -- are OK IMO.

When somebody starts moving, removing or adding elements to create an image of something that never existed, it's no longer landscape photography or wildlife photography (remember that guy who got busted faking award-winning wildlife shots). It's some kind of photography, sure, and it's art, but it's not qualified for this competition.

JohnNS: I don't enter contests because I'm not good with photoshop and I don't want to be.


You need to find the competitions with good judges. Mrs czetie is a pro nature photographer who judges a lot of club competitions -- you've probably seen one of her photos because after it took her three days of getting up before dawn and returning to the same spot to get the exact right mix of light and weather and fall leaf color, it was ripped off for one of those downloadable wallpaper ads that used to show up in pop-up ads -- and she is very strict (and pretty effective) at excluding overly photoshopped stuff.
 
2012-11-05 08:14:35 AM  

rocky_howard: Now, Photoshop or no Photoshop, how did the former winner beat the new one? It's a much better photo in every sense of the word.

Disqualified Photo:

[i.telegraph.co.uk image 620x283]

New Winner:

[i.telegraph.co.uk image 450x620]


That second picture is of Bouverie, Port Glasgow, I think. I used to live not far from there. Surreal place.
 
zez
2012-11-05 08:15:11 AM  
www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk

/not photoshopped
 
2012-11-05 08:15:13 AM  
in my personal view, as long as you are not editing out, or adding in content, its ok. 50% of photography is what you shoot, and 50% how you process the image. Its been that was since Ansel Adams.

You can take a large-format camera, and go set up where Adams set up, wait for the exact same time if day and weather conditions, and the output image will likely not be as good as his, because of the magic he worked in the darkroom. darkroom = photoshop.
 
2012-11-05 08:19:26 AM  
I used to be a 'wet' photographer. Icky liquids and getting the timing right was a pita.

Now I'm a digital photographer. I live by the following: If I could do it wet, then it is OK to do in PS. 1 Negative, 1 Print. Ansel did this, and his saying was "The negative is the score, the print is the performance". I've seen the original negative displayed with 8 different prints next to it. Each print was cropped, dodged, lightened or otherwise different from the others. No 2 were the same.

What was done with this photo to modify it went beyond simple digital darkroom manipulation and into the realm of digital art. That wasn't the contest and from what I read about it the DQ was justified.
 
2012-11-05 08:19:31 AM  

Drunk Astronaut: The guy who took this picture had his own system of developing film to get the tonal structure he wanted and then heavily manipulating light when he printed the photos, and he did pretty well as a photographer...both financially and with the critics besides. Maybe you've heard of him...Ansel Adams.

[sfreporter.com image 607x792]


He stayed with the sky in the image he took rather than replacing it with a more interesting but physically impossible sky for dramatic effect though...

JohnNS: It's a photography contest, not a digital art contest.

When you get in to adding elements, taking away elements (I'd allow dust spot removal, personally), creating something that you didn't see and photograph - that's digital art. Levels and light adjustment, sure. A camera still can't take what we can see for a photo and those adjustments are often needed to make it how we saw it.

I was disappointed to read in a major photography magazine about a photographer that added mist to flamingos in a swamp to add drama. That's not a photo, he didn't see it. He created it.

The other example was birds flying between two trees with the sun as the backdrop. He said he took a picture of the trees and sun, looked down at his bag for something, looked up, saw the birds to the right of the tree and took the photo. He later moved the birds to between the trees. His reasoning was that it had happened he just missed the photo. Assuming the birds did fly through the middle he still missed the photo - too bad. It's still digital art.

I don't enter contests because I'm not good with photoshop and I don't want to be.

Tired of wondering if a photo is a photo or if it's digital art - it does a disservice to the great photographers.


Also a great big bag of THIS.
 
2012-11-05 08:23:53 AM  
i.telegraph.co.uk

Cornelius Dribble: When your photo resembles a prog rock album cover, it's over-photoshopped.


www.pxleyes.com

They both have two suns in the sunset for example...
 
2012-11-05 08:25:15 AM  
They didn't have photoshop in the 40's!!!

media.tumblr.commedia.tumblr.commedia.tumblr.commedia.tumblr.comi758.photobucket.comi758.photobucket.com
 
2012-11-05 08:26:42 AM  
The big problem comes down to the rules and to what extent the person who set the rules is aware, not just of what can be done today digitally, but what could be done a decade or two ago with film.

My late father was an active participant in his local color slide club, Some competitors entered spectacular pictures they got by "sandwiching" slides -- that is, if they had one with a great silhouette of a tree, and another with a great sunset, putting both in a single slide mount so they got a tree silhouetted in front of a sunset. That's easy to do in Photoshop, of course -- but, while it was permitted in film (though I agree with my father; it shouldn't have been) it would never be allowed today if done digitally.

If you limit someone to "just what the camera saw" you're not limiting them to what could have been done with film; you're limiting them to a lot less than could have been, and routinely was, done. As has been pointed out up-thread, the genius of Ansel Adams was not just in pointing a camera in the right direction at the right time, but in the work he did in the darkroom. That's why one photo is a spectacular piece and another is a vacation snapshot.

But where do you draw the line?

Is cropping legal? Never mind a darkroom, you can do that with a pair of scissors! In fact, you can still do it with a pair of scissors; print your picture out at a larger size and physically cut it to the size required for the contest. No digital manipulation at all, not even any chemical manipulation, but the picture has been changed.

How about adjusting the exposure? Make it a bit lighter, a bit darker, etc? Not only a common darkroom technique, but one so common that it would be considered irresponsible and/or sloppy work not to do it during development. So how about digitally?

What about ... well, I can go through the gamut of Photoshop tools and list film analogs for many of them. As has also been pointed out up-thread, that's where they came from. Sharpening an image, for instance, would seem to be over the line ... but "unsharp mask" (a powerful image-sharpening filter) is a digital implementation of a film process.

This isn't a new problem. My father was annoyed about people physically enhancing photos in the 1970s (the sandwiches). They also cropped them with black tape, they sandwiched them with gradients, they did all kinds of things. And this was just slides, where you're looking at the original film.

Photographers have been manipulating images pretty much since the process of printing was developed. The minute you move beyond a glass-plate camera to one that requires some intermediate step, whether it is simply projection like those slides or more complicated prints like the works of Ansel Adams, something is being changed along the way as an inherent part of the process. How long do you leave the print in the developer tray? That can make a huge difference, and it's an integral part of darkroom work; you have to pick some time, and whatever that time is affects the final result.

Another example: I have a DLSR and an iPod Touch. The pictures I take with that DSLR are going to be better, technically, than pictures I take at the same time in the same place with the iPod. All else aside, it's better glass. Do we want to judge equipment? Am I a better photographer, more worthy of a prize, because I'm carrying one camera instead of the other?

People who don't know much about photography say "no Photoshopping" because they think that will produce the "pure" prints of the film era. They don't realize that those prints were never "pure"; there was always some type of manipulation, some artistic decisions (even "how long do I develop this?) involved.

The other problem is that there is no good answer, or at least no one answer. I think most of us can agree that cropping should be allowed, and everyone except the people who used to do it with film can agree that adding or removing elements from an image should not be allowed. But what about things like adjusting the exposure? Tweaking contrast? Removing red-eye? (I was printing out some small signs for a client last week, and the Kodak print kiosk kept trying to get me to let it remove some imagined red-eye ... from close-ups of flowers) Adjusting color channels? Sharpening the whole picture? Sharpening part of the picture? Blurring part of the picture? In between cropping (you can do it with scissors) and adding, removing, or replacing elements (that sunset never happened in that place) there's an enormous gray area.

The only answer, I think, is for the people setting contest rules to be photographers themselves, and be fully aware of the types of both physical and digital image manipulation so they can determine what they do and do not want to allow. They have to pick a spot and draw that line, and in order to do so they need to thoroughly understand the continuum the line is being drawn on.

By the way, my personal rule of thumb for what I consider acceptable in my own photographs (non-competitive) is that anything which affects the whole image -- as someone said, basically somethingI can do with the RAW file -- is okay, but modifying only a part of the image takes it from photography to artwork. That said, I do occasionally do the digital equivalent of airbrushing ..."hey, there are some white specks on the black blanket the kitten is sitting on, I'd better fix that" ... but for a picture I'd send to my mother-in-law, not a picture I'd enter in a contest. I still haven't made up my mind about exposure gradients (I suppose I could just buy a neutral gradient filter and screw that onto my lens, and avoid the whole problem!) but they feel "wrong" to me.

So, really, the rules have to be spelled out. They can't be "not too much Photoshopping" but, rather, how much and of what elements is acceptable. And unless someone knows photography well, they're going to have a very hard time there.
 
2012-11-05 08:32:11 AM  
Any photo manipulation is too much 'shopping. Force straight RAW submissions and the problem goes away.
 
2012-11-05 08:33:44 AM  

orbister: Mock26: If what you did could be duplicated in a dark room then it should be allowed. Anything beyond that should not be allowed.

For how long should photographic skills be limited by the possibilities of a chemical process which has already been obsolete for ten years or more? In fifty years time there will be hardly any photographers around who have ever used film or paper.


it is not longer photography and becomes more of an illustration or painting once you go beyond the normal "darkroom" processes.
 
2012-11-05 08:43:07 AM  
Water dissolving and water removed.
 
2012-11-05 08:44:28 AM  

Christian Bale: [i.telegraph.co.uk image 620x283]

Too much photoshop? Nah, looks the same as it ever was.


Is this what's left of Manhatten?
 
2012-11-05 08:48:52 AM  

pkellmey: Any photo manipulation is too much 'shopping. Force straight RAW submissions and the problem goes away.


Except it wouldn't. For instance, if a straight RAW submission is required it would be simple to make a decent sized exhibition print as shopped as one would like, put it on a copy stand, and shoot it RAW with, for instance, a nikon macro lens on a canon 5D using a fotodiox adaptor. No lens data exists using a non-chipped lens, and one would just use an appropriate color temperature light source and exposure time and there is no way any one would be able to tell.

/hasselblad, tri-x and rodinal ftw
 
2012-11-05 08:48:57 AM  

pkellmey: Any photo manipulation is too much 'shopping. Force straight RAW submissions and the problem goes away.


so then it becomes about the equipment, two people taking the exact same photo, the high end raw photo will look better.
 
2012-11-05 08:49:47 AM  

pkellmey: Any photo manipulation is too much 'shopping. Force straight RAW submissions and the problem goes away.


I agree especially in the context of a competition, I'd add that the only manipulation allowed is at the moment of exposure - stuff like lens filters, f/stop, etc.

Manipulating stuff in your own free time is fine, I remember compositing, burning, etc. in the dark room as well as messing around in photoshop, tho if somebody asks you should probably own up to manipulating the shot... Or just call it art and move on, no need to lie
 
2012-11-05 09:03:26 AM  

rocky_howard: LOL, look at the same place but from a different photo done by another guy.

[farm9.staticflickr.com image 640x366]

Yup, WAY TOO MUCH Photoshop.


Maybe it is the same photo.

/came for the Lootie level of PS, leaving satisfied
 
2012-11-05 09:07:29 AM  

Waldo Pepper: pkellmey: Any photo manipulation is too much 'shopping. Force straight RAW submissions and the problem goes away.

so then it becomes about the equipment, two people taking the exact same photo, the high end raw photo will look better.


As long as they are not shooting the exact same scene from the exact same angle, it does not necessarily come down to the equipment. I know of several local photo contests where they used the same subject, but allowed them to change the angle. A lot of the cheaper equipment absolutely kicked butt over ridiculously expensive cameras because the photographer knew how to use their level of equipment to its fullest potential. That is where the skills really show.
 
2012-11-05 09:19:56 AM  

Waldo Pepper: orbister: Mock26: If what you did could be duplicated in a dark room then it should be allowed. Anything beyond that should not be allowed.

For how long should photographic skills be limited by the possibilities of a chemical process which has already been obsolete for ten years or more? In fifty years time there will be hardly any photographers around who have ever used film or paper.

it is not longer photography and becomes more of an illustration or painting once you go beyond the normal "darkroom" processes.


You miss my point. Will photography be defined by "darkroom processes" in ten years? fifty? a hundred? Should film users today be restricted to the manipulations possible in the daguerreotype process?
 
2012-11-05 09:30:52 AM  
It's gone much too far whenever Mr. Lootie makes an appearance. Tragic, really.
 
2012-11-05 09:39:11 AM  

orbister: Waldo Pepper: orbister: Mock26: If what you did could be duplicated in a dark room then it should be allowed. Anything beyond that should not be allowed.

For how long should photographic skills be limited by the possibilities of a chemical process which has already been obsolete for ten years or more? In fifty years time there will be hardly any photographers around who have ever used film or paper.

it is not longer photography and becomes more of an illustration or painting once you go beyond the normal "darkroom" processes.

You miss my point. Will photography be defined by "darkroom processes" in ten years? fifty? a hundred? Should film users today be restricted to the manipulations possible in the daguerreotype process?


And to extend this idea of "darkroom processes" a bit. HDR photography is pretty much a digital application of using the zone system. Unsharp masking is a darkroom process. Perspective correction can be done in camera, or in darkroom. Analog photography is currently inhabiting roughly the same space in art as printmaking right now. Photography simply means "writing with light". To try and define what constitutes an unmanipulated image is very blurry. As there is really no such thing.
 
2012-11-05 09:45:54 AM  
orbister

Will photography be defined by "darkroom processes" in ten years? fifty? a hundred? Should film users today be restricted to the manipulations possible in the daguerreotype process?


Exactly.

I don't do contests, because I feel they're crap. Imposing rules on what is "good" or "bad" only limits art. What matters is that the person looking at it (in the case of art or photography) or listening to it (music) gets something out of it.

Sometimes I don't do anything to the photos I shoot. Sometimes I shop the Hell out of them. I have an idea of what I want something to look like before I shoot it. Granted, II try to get it as close to that idea right out of the camera as possible, but if it needs shopping, I won't hesitate to do it 'til it looks like I want it to.

I don't do photography to please some uppity purist judge with a stick up his ass. I do it for me, and for the people who wind up looking at it.
 
2012-11-05 09:54:39 AM  
I've been a photographer for 40 years. In film days, the rule was, if it is in the negative, and you can draw it out by dodging and burning the image, it's legit. Ask Ansel Adams. If you are adding crap, it isn't

RAW is the equivilent of a negative. If the camera captured those dark clouds and such, and you can draw them out in the digital darkroom, it should count.

I shoot lots of architecture, and a compress the dynamic range so that, in most cases, you can see the inside and outside of the home at the same time. I don't consider it "photoshopping".

Link
 
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