OPP #004: TIDBIT TUESDAY – Photo Editing VS Photo Manipulation: Is There A Limit?

Today's Tidbit Tuesday: Photo Manipulation in Outdoor Photography

We Discuss:

  • The practice of photo manipulation throughout the history of photography
  • The debate about photo editing versus photo manipulation when it comes to landscape and nature photography
    • Is there a difference or line between the two? 
    • What’s considered acceptable and what’s not?
    • Does it matter?
  • Three points to consider when deciding how much editing is acceptable in your own photography
  • And more!

Resources and Links:

Brief History of Photography Blog: https://notquiteinfocus.com/2014/12/15/a-brief-history-of-photography-part-12-movements-pictorialism-versus-straight-photography/ 

Professor Jeff Curto’s lecture, Photo History – Class 12 – The Manipulative Impulse: http://photohistory.jeffcurto.com/archives/1573

Group f/64’s Manifesto (1932): http://photographyhistory.blogspot.com/2012/04/group-f64-manifesto-1932.html 

National Geographic, How We Spot Altered Pictures: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/editors-note-images-and-ethics 

NANPA’s Truth in Captioning Statement: https://www.nanpa.org/wp-content/uploads/Truth-in-Captioning-Statement-Revised-3-2018.pdf

Kenneth Brower article in The Atlantic, Photography in the Age of Falsification: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1998/05/photography-in-the-age-of-falsification/377107/

University of Washington Magazine, The Call of the Wild Beckons Photographer Art Wolfe: https://magazine.washington.edu/feature/the-call-of-the-wild-beckons-photographer-art-wolfe/ 

Guy Tal’s book, More Than a Rock


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Thanks for Listening!

Enjoying the podcast?  

Please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes.  It only takes a minute, and ratings and reviews are extremely helpful in getting the word out about the show, convincing hard-to-get guests, and are greatly appreciated by me! 

I read each and every one of them, so thank you!

Submit a Question:

Have a question you’d like to have answered on the podcast?  It’s easy!  Just find a quiet location, hit the button below, and record your question.  We’ll do our best to answer it on an upcoming Tidbit Tuesday episode.  Thanks!

Don’t forget to follow or subscribe to the show to get automatic updates about new episodes.

iHeartRadio logo

Want to help support the show?  Show some love by buying me a coffee!  A little goes a long way – and I appreciate it!

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Mariana

    Hello Brenda,

    Thank you for the great podcast and also for the resources and links you have provided. Very well researched and presented!

    I was not aware that people were manipulating their images well before the invention of the digital photography!

    Best wishes,

    1. Brenda Petrella

      Hi Mariana – Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad you enjoyed the info. 🙂

  2. Egídio Leitão


    I have been enjoying your podcasts tremendously. I especially like the topics you’ve been addressing in all episodes. They relate so much to things I have been pondering lately in my photography hobby, such as ethics and post-processing. The guests you have featured have been great and provided plenty of food for thought. I also enjoy the background information and history you provide in your presentations. Ever since I saw your presentation at the Happiness Hour a few weeks ago, I became an instant fan of your work and information you provide. Please keep up the good work. I look forward to more of your podcasts.


    1. Brenda Petrella

      Egídio – that means so much to me! Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad that the content has been helpful and enjoyable too. Hope to see you at another Happiness Hour soon!

  3. Wayne Chase

    Very nice podcast, food for thought. I appreciate when photographers state their settings and techniques such as focus stacking, use of lightroom, long exposures, multiple images (astrophotography) ect.. I am a novice and helps me become better and appreciate their work and craft better.
    I have picked up trash that was originally going to be in the image and carried it out, removed power lines from my images to make for a better image and some other lightroom editing.

    1. Brenda Petrella

      Thank you, Wayne! And thank you for sharing your thoughts. You make a great point about carrying away trash found in a scene – that is definitely a “scene change” I support! 🙂

  4. Paul Rodden

    Outstanding Episode #4 Tidbit Tuesday. Your historical perspective really made a difference. It gave me a lot to think about as I am in the camp of the less I do to my photos, the better. I think identifying what you do to your photos is probably the ethical thing to do. Maybe I need to broaden my beliefs a bit, in light of what I learned today.

    1. Brenda Petrella

      Hi Paul – I’m so glad it gave you something to think about! Thank you again for your submitted question – I think it really added to the whole discussion.

  5. Matt Payne

    I really enjoyed the way you brought this topic up in a non-threatening way and I loved the historical references. Lastly, the questions you raise at the end are highly relevant and are a much more effective framework for discussing the topic than what we are used to seeing.

    1. Brenda Petrella

      Awesome – thanks so much, Matt! I appreciate that. Let’s hope the framework helps to spur more productive conversations when the debate comes up.

  6. Larry Kurfis

    Excellent topic and podcast. Paintings have always been interpretation of reality. Photos have been composed your effect. It is debated that the 1947 Hollister CA motorcycle photo was staged. Many of the photos of civil war battle dead we staged.

    It’s nothing new just easier. I don’t know that there is a “right” answer.

    1. Brenda Petrella

      Hi Larry, I agree! I hadn’t realized how age-old the debate has been. It was interesting to research the topic. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  7. Willy Verstraeten

    Great episode Brenda. I have a question, English is not my native language, to be able to follow your podcasts better maybe you could talk a little slower, it would be more followable.
    When I take pictures in nature, I will never take anything away, but I will try to bend something so that it is not in the composition. If it is not possible to keep a branch or something out of view, I will, if it is not too big an intervention, remove it with photoshop.

    1. Brenda Petrella

      Hi Willy – I appreciate the feedback! I do talk too quickly sometimes, and I also had edited out some of my natural pauses in an attempt to make a better audio experience. Others have mentioned that it wasn’t that effective, so I’ve since re-edited it to keep the pauses in there. Hopefully, that helped! And thank you for sharing your approach as well. Sounds like we have similar ones.

  8. Excellent Tidbit Tues. Episode #4, I appreciated the historical analysis and looking at the issue from different POVs.

    1. Brenda Petrella

      Thank you! I’m really glad to hear that :). Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Want the inside scoop?

Join the OPS community of photographers and outdoor enthusiasts! 

We will never spam you.  Unsubscribe at any time.

Learn | Create | Explore | Connect

Outdoor Photography School is owned and operated by Brenda Petrella Photography, LLC.

© 2021 Brenda Petrella Photography, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.