When Does Photo Editing Go Too Far? Insights from a Veteran Photographer

The question of how much editing is too much is one that every photographer asks. Understanding the boundaries and ethics of photo editing is crucial for both the integrity of the work and the trust of one's audience.

Coming to you from David Bergman with Adorama TV, this enlightening video tackles the nuanced debate of photo editing in the context of various genres. Bergman shares insights into the evolution of photo editing from the darkroom days to the digital age, emphasizing how technological advancements have expanded the toolkit available to photographers. This discussion is particularly pertinent if you're navigating the ethical considerations of editing, especially in sensitive fields like journalism. Bergman's exploration into what editing used to mean versus its modern connotation provides a valuable perspective on how the digital revolution has transformed photography.

In addition to clarifying the definition of editing, the video addresses the critical question posed by many in the field: where do we draw the line? Bergman uses his extensive experience, including his time with Sports Illustrated and as a tour photographer, to illustrate how editing standards vary significantly across different photography disciplines. From minimal adjustments in sports photography to more extensive edits in promotional and fine art images, the video offers a glimpse into the ethical and practical considerations that photographers must juggle. Bergman's personal anecdotes and examples serve as a practical guide for understanding when and how much editing is appropriate, depending on the context and purpose of the photographs.

Furthermore, the video looks into the implications of editing for trust and credibility, particularly in news and sports photography. It brings to light the delicate balance between enhancing a photo and altering the truth it represents. This discussion is crucial in developing an informed approach to photo editing, one that respects the viewer's trust while leveraging the creative potential of modern technology. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Bergman.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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1 Comment

Really, when is it acceptable for a photograph to become a blatant lie?
Imagine how close the camera has to be to be able to capture the steely look of a apex predator as they are chewing on the leg of some deceased pray like a fat deprived fast food addict.
You feel like your only feet away in the river loaded with Salmon as a Grizzly Bear plucks a fat and juicy one out of the appendage shrinking ice water that the photographer blindly snaps away in(on Auto) . The Shutter speed perfectly captures every drip of water . The F stop captures every shadow even if it is opposition to the suns position. The bokeh is the stuff of a portrait photographers erotic dream as the sun set the perfect Tahitian sunset even in ( insert Grizzly Bears nation state or area here). Honestly photos of people and shadows not in context . Every Mountain has a Sir Edmond Hillary on a out crop. Every animal ,mammal, insect, bacteria is now photogenic .
Every landscape a debased object of software fantasy That people who travel to see these Apple icons are left feeling empty because the imagery is totally created by what the softwares limitation.
How many times in reviews people complain about using a camera in manual? If you can not compose , see or imagine a creative moment with emotional input and you are content or desperate enough to use software to create the imaginary belief that you can take a photo dream on. Welcome to the era of Flogography. ( before using this term please seek permission)
Keep it real and reveal the original. Prove me wrong.
Gary (get off my lawn) P