Critique the Community

Unedited Photos

Submit your best unedited photos for a chance to win a free Fstoppers tutorial.
  • Submission Deadline: Tue, 08 Jan 19 04:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

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Photoshop is so prevalent in the industry that the line between photography and digital art often blur. With the theme of this weeks' Critique, we hope to focus only on photography skills. 

Between now and January 7th, 2019 we invite you to submit up to two unedited images. In this case "unedited" refers to any picture that has not had any compositing, cloning, dodging, burning, warping, etc... Since some photographers prefer to shoot in raw, we are allowing images that have had color correction and tone curve adjustment. Obviously it will be impossible for us to tell for sure if you've stuck to these guidelines so we're trusting the community to be honest. We will be selecting to winners of a free Fstoppers tutorial. One will be based on the highest community rated image and the other will be chosen at random.

Once you've uploaded your pictures, we invite you to scroll through the rest of the submissions and give honest ratings of your own. The easiest way to do this is by using your keypad and number keys. For the sake of improvement, please leave encouraging, instructive comments if you notice how an image could be improved. 

  • Submission Deadline: Tue, 08 Jan 19 04:45:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • 761 people have cast a total of 68,428 votes on 810 submissions from 502 contestants.
  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

188 Comments

would a a stitched image be considered "edited" ?

Bill Peppas's picture

Stitched as in "panorama" ? If just stitched and basic RAW adjustments done, I believe it counts just fine to be eligible in this contest.

Tom Milam's picture

I can't see a pano being a problem. Maybe message staff directly to check

John Dawson's picture

Isn't stitching "editing"?

Tons of photos are „slightely” edited...
Shadows max, highlights max, contrast, clarity, even HDR...
What the heck is wrong with the people?

Crystal Johnson's picture

They don't read the description. Of course, if I were running this I would ask for a screenshot of the RAW file just to make sure.

Chris E's picture

What if I don't have the RAW. The pic I'm uploading was like from 8 years ago. And I never shoot RAW back then.

Terry Waggoner's picture

Chris..........they doesn't have to be in raw format...........post what you have........but with no post editing except that cropping, is allowed.

user-195495's picture

Umm...both the video and the contest txt says global adjustments allowed...I don’t get why people are so upset about this. If you shoot raw you have to add back contrast, saturation and sharpening just to get it to match a out of camera jpeg (the camera’s jpeg engine does all of this for you in camera), and if you shoot with any jpeg mode (ie vivid) you need to do even more global adjustments to get the raw to match the in camera jpeg...

Judging by the comments I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what an in camera raw vs jpeg actually is...

Joshua Barclay's picture

Yeah this always happens when contests say use unedited photos. Like, I Shoot raw, I have no idea how far I’m allowed to adjust the image according to the rules because I don’t want to personally do that. I just used an unedited image completely just to not have to worry about the headache. 🤷‍♂️ Understandable arguments both sides though I get it.

Crystal Johnson's picture

RAW file or not, if you have an original unedited copy that is what should be shown.

Viktor D's picture

You can't upload a raw and whenever converting a raw to a jpeg, you'll get some kind of editing at least w/ regards to tones, basic color characteristics etc. But then again, that's what also happens when shooting jpeg and selecting a picture profile.
I don't see any issue with adjusting the overall contrast to match what has been seen on the camera preview since that is also what Chris said in the announcement of this topic.

Crystal Johnson's picture

I didn't say upload the RAW, I said provide a screenshot. Converting to JPG does not inherently create tonal changes, contrast, sharpness etc... You can upload a DNG, or TIFF to dropbox and it be RAW. What you see on the back of the camera is what your body determines is the best. Sorry, but , if you're editing a RAW you're still EDITING it. If you shoot JPG, that is still your RAW file, as in it was determined by said camera body what would be the best, but it is still your base file. Micro adjustments are still edits. I find it amusing this contest is about unedited work, and people keep posting clearly edited shite. What I've posted is 100% out of the camera, no cropping or adjustments. I guess when next time they host one of these contests it should be 'slightly' edited, or RAW conversion, instead of unedited because some of us are too literal in what UNEDITED means.

Viktor D's picture

Watch the video of the last CTC on youtube and you'll know the intention of this topic. They clearly state that you may do certain corrections and that is the boundary where everyone has to stick to. It's also mentioned in the description here on this page:
"Since some photographers prefer to shoot in raw, we are allowing images that have had color correction and tone curve adjustment."
I don't understand your point to insist on something that the contest is not requiring.

Angelo Duarte's picture

I think somebody has missed that bit Viktor ;-)

user-195495's picture

Thats silliness. An unedited raw is not the same as a camera produce unedit jpeg. Heck different raw software has different defaults for the same camera, ie take a straight from camera raw then convert it with adobe camera raw, capture one, and then the camera makers software. You’ll get three different jpegs. Now try the same thing with different cameras from different companies. Thats why some basic global adjustments should be allowed (and are).

Jacob Szetela's picture

Even putting a raw into Lightroom applies a range of settings. So if my Lightroom is set up to use adobe standard, is changing it to adobe portrait now “editing” lol this was basically a no photoshop-no local adjustment contest.

I think what Crystal is missing is that a screenshot of the RAW photo isn't going to give you an accurate view of the RAW photo because the programme you use to view the photo imposes settings on what you are seeing just as your camera does when you look at it in the picture playback. The only way to see the RAW photo is while it's in develop mode, which strips away the imposed settings so that you are actually seeing the RAW picture. For instance, if you have shot a black and white photo in RAW, the programme will show you the black and white photo until you put it into develop. Then it strips the camera imposed black and white macro from the photo and you see a colour shot which you then develop in black and white. Totally took me by surprise the first time I saw this.

Angelo Duarte's picture

I'm guessing she knows how raw previews work (would be shocked if she didn't based on the work she has on her page), it's just she hasn't read or watched the explanation of what is being considered "unedited" for this critique before commenting / arguing with people.

Well, I would have thought that, but she doesn't seem to be showing evidence of it in this discussion. Thought I'd talk to her about it differently than the others have been.

user-195495's picture

And there’s quite a bit that can be changed in camera that effects the in camera jpeg (https://www.nikonusa.com/en/learn-and-explore/a/tips-and-techniques/pict...). I know when i was shooting jpeg i’d play with these controls to get a jpeg i like and then just keep them set and then re-adjust when the subject looked weird...whereas a raw is always the same and needs some processing to get the converted jpeg to look good (i’m not saying it needs crazy over the top processing, but when you switch from jpeg to raw you sign up for more processing work in order to get the raw to look just as good as the in camera jpeg)

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Well, aren't you doing the same thing with your submission:

"... I was able to bring all the details back.
User DXO Optics Pro for RAW decode."

https://fstoppers.com/entry/322755

The quote is out of context a little bit. I brought only exposure slider, since I underexposed. No other adjustments.

Bill Peppas's picture

From what I can "decode" from their description of the contest, RAW Developing is allowed, yet limited to:
Exposure Compensation, WB & Tint, Blacks, Shadows, Whites, Highlights, Contrast, Clarity, Saturation, Vibrance, Dehaze, Sharpening, Lens Profile Corrections.

As in: local adjustments not allowed ( e.g. dodge tool burn tool ), no cloning stuff out or pasting in, no sky changing, etc.

Actually, the wording regarding RAW photo developing is that the contest allows colour correction and Tone curve adjustments. That's it. No clarity, contrast, saturation, vibrance dehazing, or sharpening. I would imagine that lens correction has to be allowed because the RAW photo doesn't include those and the photo becomes somewhat warped. You don't need saturation or vibrance or contrast really if you use the colour corrction and tone curve adjustments well. I'm still working on that, personally.

user-195495's picture

The video says more is allowed, for example bringing up the shadows. You have to sharpen a raw photo to get it looking as sharp as a camera produces jpeg. I’m making the assumption that any setting you can change in camera that affects the jpeg is fair game to change in the raw proccessor. Heck even take it back to film, you can change a lot about your image based on what film you shoot. Shooting raw and then doing some minor global adjustments is basically like choosing Fujifilm over nikon, or a high iso film over a low one.

Of course it would be nice if fstopper could clairify this so we can all just play by the same interpretation of the rules (and looking at the photos entered there’s a broad range)

I don't watch video for instruction; just the written word. If they are saying different things in each then they need to fix that.

One other thing ... I didn't even know there was a video. Where is it? It's not on the page I'm looking at.

Jacob Szetela's picture

Unedited, per the description, basically means no photoshop tools or local adjustments. Adjustments to the image as a whole are allowed in this category.

A B's picture

I disagree what if the photo is shit as an her from a smartphone using the mode, it is unedited and totally fine.

Yavor Kapitanov's picture

Editing light, color, and temperature is okay, that's still an original photo. If we have to enter with raw photos that would be a pretty stupid contest.

michaeljin's picture

How would you verify something as being unedited?

Chris E's picture

And what if I don't have the RAW file because I used to shoot JPG 8 years ago because CF cards back then were expensive.

Yavor Kapitanov's picture

Then make a new freaking photo with your newest equipment, geez are you people babies? Do you need somebody to hold your hand?

They've acknowledged in the contest description that they have no way of knowing for sure if someone has edited outside the allowed perameters. They state they are relying on an honour system ... relying on the honesty of the contestants.

John Dawson's picture

Answer: They can't, given the current rules.

Taylor MacDonald's picture

I actually like the idea in principle of an unedited critique.... My main problem is actually in the rating system with this topic.

The criteria that we use to give a rating doesn't work with this genre!

No one would ever include an unedited image in there portfolio...

So most images I've looked at look like either snap shots or 2 stars, but this doesn't necessarily mean they aren't good images. But they may just require some cleaning up which would normally be done in post by the photographer.

As an example: portrait photography requires a fair amount of editing, at least most of the time. unless you have a studio, a photographer will often do a tremendous amount of editing and skin retouching in order to make an image worthy of being in their portfolio.

Some genres have an easier time with this... Sports photography because they look more for authentic capture, and a great sunset often requires nothing to improve it....

Anyways I just feel the rating system is not going to work on this one.

Couldn’t agree more.

user-216690's picture

I actually have quite a few unedited images in my portfolio. Sitting in front of a computer is not my idea of fun, and I try to get it right in camera.

Yannick Desmet's picture

Edit : Moved post

Yannick Desmet's picture

If you would take a look on my website. I would say that 95% of all the images you can find there is not edited. That means, no skin retouch, no liquifying and so on. I work mostly with my own made presets in Camera Raw.

That makes my work mostly from 1 to 2min, just tuning the sliders once in a while.
(I have around 25 presets to date)

The two pics I sent for the contest are also not retouched. I needed 20sec for the black and white one. I needed a bit more than 1min for the colored one.

There will be for sure a lot of people thinking I edited my pictures, but it's all just sliders in Camera Raw from PS.
In my opinion, that's global adjustment and no retouch..

Maybe somebody has another opinion, I don't know, but in the past people also used different films, different ways of developping a picture. I don't see all the problems that people talk about here?

Edit : Posted on the right post

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Yannick... I hate you. Just kidding. ;) But I do envy you. It takes me weeks or even months to sit down to the picture, and another days or few weeks and multiple sessions to finish my pictures. Very rarely I can take a picture, sit to it and say after (lets say 2 hrs): yeah, I'm done here. But that's my style, I guess. I just hope that time will shorten at least little bit in the future. Editing part can get shorter, but "incubating" probably won't...

Brent Thompson's picture

Is cropping to a specific frame size permitted? (e.g., square, or 8x10 for example)

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

It shouldn't be allowed.

On the contrary, I think cropping is fine... In the spirit of what they asked for, they just want something without the crazy custom sliders in photoshop, no Orton effect, no dodge & burn, no spot removal for pimples and fences and stuff like that, no color shift to make a yellow sunset pink, no magic wand of any sort, luminosity masking, cloning and what not. Even dehaze shouldn't be allowed I think. It would have been easier if they just said unedited jpegs only, since you have to edit a raw file a bit, with the basic sliders. They said nothing about filters, so I'm assuming ND, ND grad and polarizers are ok.

Jacob Szetela's picture

I think it’s fine to crop to a new aspect ratio, but I think cropping a 3x2 differently would be outside the spirit of the contest.

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