27 August 2009

Photography and photoshop

Earlier this week I guest posted at Garden Rant about altered and enhanced images in catalogs, and got a lot of really interesting comments that got me thinking.
First, many people pointed out that any image is always an approximation of the real thing, and though image editing tools can be used to alter and enhance an image, they are also used to make images more true to life. Which is an excellent point -- my request that they "just STOP" doesn't really address the complexity of the problem.
Following up on that, a comment by Sysiphus's Gardener hit the nail on the head: What we need are standards.
I don't write or photograph catalogs, but I do blog, so I thought I'd come up with some rules to blog by.

The Three Laws of Plant Photos:

1. Correct, never enhance.
Only use image editing software to make the plants look accurate, not better. Check your finished image against the real thing to make sure you haven't succumbed to the urge to enhance.

2. Show us everything.
Don't post plant closeups without also showing the whole plant -- unless there is an overriding reason only the closeup is relevant, ie, disease symptoms on a leaf or a tiny detail of a flower you never noticed before.

3. Talk about it.
Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but if a photo comes out looking better or worse, redder or bluer than the real thing, a little text goes a long way.

What do you think? Does that cover it?

I'm going to try to blog by those rules. Though I admit weening myself off closeups might be hard -- they are so easy and always look great. But this will challenge me as a photographer (if I win the bidding on the camera I'm trying to buy on ebay, that is.)

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