Why The Debate Over Image Manipulation Is Mostly a Waste of Time

The debate over whether or not image manipulation should be done and whether it is ethical or not rages on and in my opinion, much of it is unnecessary.

The opinions vary widely over disclosing what is real and what is not and some question whether any digital photograph can be believed. There are now even attempts to set ethical standards for digital photography manipulation.

Images have been manipulated since photography was invented and some of the most recognized photographers in history were heavy manipulators, like Ansel Adams among many others. You have probably already heard this argument. His and many others works are celebrated today as the Master’s of the medium.

Magazines, ad agencies, and other end-users routinely manipulate both stock and assignment photos. Most of the time the viewer never knows, unless a poor manipulation lands the image on the Photoshop errors sites. Rarely does anyone cry foul, unless of course the photographer did the poor job or cheated some rules.


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What is Success in Nature Photography?

Do you feel successful as a nature photographer? Are you getting out and shooting regularly and satisfied with the results? If you are in the business of nature photography, do you have enough business to make you feel successful?

Success is measured in many ways and is different for each of us. Some might measure success with the creation of an image they find beautiful while others measure it in dollars every time they license an image or sell a product.

With the markets for photography tougher than they have ever been, you may not feel very successful in the current business climate. There may not be enough image licensing opportunities or product sales to stay in business let alone feel successful. But if your success is measured solely on the monetary benefits of nature photography, then you may feel more like a failure than a success.

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Keywording Made Easy

by Drake Fleege

For a brief minute, think of yourself as an image posted on an on-line stock agency or on your own web site.  Your colors are vibrant; focus is tack-sharp; composition is stunning; subject (that is you!) is well sought-after.  You are on the internet, you are ready to be licensed for publication, yet it just does not happen.  Not only are you not licensed, you are not even viewed.  Even though the caption proudly proclaims “Bright white and yellow flower”, you just do not show up in the searches.  What a lonely feeling!  If only our images could speak.

I doubt any of us want our images simply taking up space on a server.  We want them reviewed and evaluated for publication consideration, and ultimately licensed.  That is, after all, the goal for each image submitted to the stock agency, isn’t it?

Recently, through PhotoSource International’s PhotoStockNotes, I was listening to a pre-recorded interview Rohn Engh (Director of PhotoSource) held with Gary Crabbe, longtime photo researcher and professional photographer (Enlightened Images).   As Rohn pointed out in the introduction, Gary not only works behind the camera creating his wonderful photography, he also searches for images on behalf of his own clients. 

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How I Shot The Snowshoeing Photography Assignment

I am lucky in that I have had a client for 10 years. In fact I have had many clients just as long, but this one is always a lot of fun because it is always outdoor related subjects.

The client is a tourism alliance and I started by selling them outdoor stock imagery which later evolved into assignments resulting in many of them over the years.

In this recent post here: The Future May Be the Commercial Nature Photographer, I suggested that outdoor and nature photographers may need to expand into commercial type subjects as the markets change. There may be more work and income generating opportunities for those who provide more services from video to assignment photography.  And I bring this up because I got this client from marketing my outdoor stock.

I recently completed a winter activities assignment for them in February and we covered a lot of territory from snowmobiling to inter-tubing, the bar in the warming hut to snowshoeing, and more. I plan a few posts the next few weeks to share some of these images with you.

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5 Tips for Photographing Marketable Waterfalls

One highly marketable nature photo subject is waterfalls. Water is crucial to life on earth and it’s connected to all living things. Anywhere there is water, life often thrives and it is for these and many reasons that waterfall photos are often needed by publishers, designers, and product companies.

Flowing water is forceful, mesmerizing, soothing, and even magical.  Waterfalls are powerful and strong and humans love to look at and visit them. Waterfall images and the concepts they portray are something clients are occasionally looking for.

They are not hard to photograph and I have shot many waterfalls in different ways and will share what have sold best for me.

One thing is for sure and that is the water in almost all cases needs to have a nice blur and flow to it. Tack sharp or even semi sharp water has never been in demand, at least in my office! 

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