Is It OK If The Camera Sometimes Lies?

Last fall, Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj lost his job for Photoshopping extra smoke, extra “missiles” (actually flares), and possibly even extra “victims” into photos of the Israeli air raid on terrorist group Hezbollah. Digital photography has made image manipulation easier than ever. But how can you use this powerful tool for legitimate ends?

Talented Photoshop users can find many outlets for their skills. Here are some photography careers that require Photoshop image adjustment: 

  • Forensic Photography–forensic photographers rely on Photoshop to help investigators examine photographic evidence. Digital enhancement can make faint impressions visible (such as fingerprints on a weapon), control perspective, zoom in on fine details, and adjust tone
  • ‘Beauty’ Retouching for Media–Magazines and advertising agencies hire Photoshop experts to perform virtual plastic surgery on models: refine their complexions, alter features, change body shape, and even create composite images using by superimposing body parts from multiple photos. Warning: the latter practice may result in a celebrity lawsuit.
  • Photograph Restoration & Alteration–Want to see your grandmother as a baby? Want your ex-husband out of all those family photos? Photoshop experts can treat antique photographs for fading, stains and tears, overexposure; and yes, remove unwanted backgrounds or family members.

Take a Photoshop Course Online
Today’s photographers sometimes spend more time in front of the computer screen than behind the lens. The emphasis on computer training means aspiring photographers can learn the ropes via online education.

Powerful tools like Photoshop have introduced new possibilities–and new professional responsibility. When planning your photography education online, find a program that includes not only online technical training but also a broad education in the professional standards of your chosen field.