I have to say this topic came to mind today as I shot a couple hundreds of photos at an international dog show. I came back home, downloaded them all of them to my laptop, deleted the out of focus ones and opened Photoshop to start tweaking them.
As I started to review them one by one, cropping them and applying contrast, brightness, shadow and color correction I realised that these beautiful, natural animal photos started to look somewhat artificial. They just didn’t feel like they captured the real atmosphere anymore.
After I compared a couple of before and after shots, I decided to uploaded them as they were. Some were shot inside of this huge tent, some outside in the sun, others under a green or yellow tarpaulin. Each had character which would have faded by editing them.
Everyone is doing it so it must be the right thing to do
One thing is for sure: almost everyone is editing their photos for social media. After all it’s easy and there are thousands of apps for that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against it, but how far shoud you really go with editing the images you post on your social media accounts?
There are many opinions out there on this topic. Most of them encourage you to use certain filters ( like Mayfair for Instagram) or apps ( like Snapseed) to get the most out of your photographs. Leaving out all the silly alterations, like stickers and Snapchat filters, or immoral photo manipulation, most professionals advise you not to overdo it.
Public shaming for editing you photos
Then there are those who receive public shaming for altering their social media photographs. This mostly happens to celebrities who edit their selfies or body shots in order to hide certain imperfections.
Fans or followers can get pretty angry if they detect you are trying to lie to them. Yes, photo editing is sometimes viewed as a lie and you will suffer the consequences.
There isn’t a right or wrong path
I believe in balance. I don’t think editing your photos is something you should be ashamend of. On the other hand I don’t believe that you should spend time modifying every photo till it’s perfect.
I believe in correcting lighting and white balance aspects, but I don’t think that removing pimples or wrinkles will get you more likes or followers.
Yes, it is important to deliver the best quality images, especially if you’re a professional photographer. But if your camera skills are bad, photoshop isn’t going to be of much use to you.