How far can we go with Photoshop?

Do you rely on the photos you find on books and/or on the internet at time of planning your travels? I was used to but now I pretty much don’t, anymore. In most of the cases such pictures are manipulated with graphic design programmes such as photoshop, thus the final result is pretty different from the real shot. Although I understand there is an Art behind graphic design, I believe it should be limited to minimal adjustments when photos are concerned. From my point of view, an excessive digital manipulation of a picture turn a place or a landscape into a destination which does not exist and makes our expectations grow beyond reality.

For such a reason I usually do not manipulate my pictures, nor the ones I publish on my social media, neither those I keep for my own memories. First of all, as you know, I am not a professional photographer. I am just a big traveller who likes to take pictures, who also doesn’t spend all of his travel time through the lenses of a camera. Through the years I have been using a wide range of digital cameras, from entry level ones to semi professionals, both Nikon and Canon (and here is another big question: are you a Nikon-ist or a Canon-ist?) as well as my smartphone when bringing a camera with me was not safe enough and would not allow me free and secure movements. What I do with photo manipulation programmes is just to add more luminosity when the picture is too dark, or maybe I simply convert into black and white those shots that, in my opinion, would be better that way. That’s all.

In my opinion, the excessive use of photo manipulation programmes such as photoshop or lightroom is limiting the development of our skills: anyone can nowadays become a good photographer just by clicking the right button on such programmes, mostly increasing their digital skills rather than their photographic attitude. Before digitalisation a good shot was totally in the hand of the photographer. They were able to capture the right shades, the right light, the right subject, at the right moment, without the help of digital applications to later turn their pictures into good looking ones. I believe digitalisation is compromising our understanding and our development of actual skills, thus I feel there is a need to keep photo manipulation at a reasonable level.

However, despite the worldwide covid tragedy, 2020 is supplying us with a a neverending Fall Foliage. Due to an extra-ordinary warm autumn, leaves are still resisting on our trees (at least here in Northern Italy). Colours are not as bright as in mid October anymore, but still they offer nice landscapes. After a stroll I took inside one of the biggest parks in my own City (Torino), I couldn’t resist the temptation. I decided to manipulate some pictures a little more than what I am used to. Here below you wil find a series of pictures I took last week, in both versions: the original shot and a black an white version of the same picture in black and white with a coloured detail.

I’d like to ask you which one you prefer so that I also can understand what is the limit to give to photo manipulation.

Please note that I am not a professional in the subject and my photoshop skills are very limited, thus forgive my imperfections. I used an open source programme called Gimp.

So, which one do you prefer? The original shot or the manipulated ones?

I understand in most of the cases your decision might be driven by the quality and the subject of the picture, so it’s just to understand what we consider a sustainable and reasonable manipulation and what turns a picture into a mere graphic design excercise.

Write your opinion in the comments section here below.

2 thoughts on “How far can we go with Photoshop?

  1. I love all of them! The originals as well as the photoshopped ones. The originals are beautiful in their own right, the photoshopped ones look more arty. Professional or not, you take some lovely photos ✨


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