Is processing an image allowed for a Salon?

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      A question that came up in the session held on Salon Participation on 02-July taken by Satish H and Raju A K:

      Usually salons specify that the processing of an image is not allowed. But you insisted that a photo artist must know and do processing to get the best out of a picture. So, what kind of processing can we do?

      Answer given and some more information:
      During the film era, we used to shoot on a film. Lets say we took it for development to Colour Lab-A, Lab-B and Lab-C. The processing done by these 3 labs were different than each others. If we took the negative processed by say Lab-A to three different printers: Printer-A, Printer-B and Printer-C. The prints by each of these printers looked different than the others. And you might have felt that none of these prints resemble the actual scene that you shot: in terms of the colour tones, shades or highlights. So, if you knew how to process and print, perhaps you could do a better job of making the actual scene in its right form reflect in the prints.

      Same is applicable in today’s digital era also. The camera, however good it is, can’t reflect the real world scene and hence processing the image is a must. And it helps if the photo artist knows processing himself/herself.

      However, what level of processing is allowed is a good question and let’s take a look at it.

      Firstly, any salon in any section does allow techniques such as burning/dodging/cropping to recompose the picture. Level corrections, Colour corrections, Highlight/Shadow corrections are allowed.

      In the section Digital Creation, a picture can be totally created in a tool like Photo Shop with some elements taken from a picture shot in the camera. In Open Colour/ Open Monochrome, multiple images can be put together and an artistic frame can be created if needed with some Digital work also. Thus, these sections are mostly creative sections that allow the use of Software tool to create an image. Note that in case a salon has specifically Digital Creation section in addition to Open Colour and Open Monochrome sections, then they expect no manipulated images in latter 2 sections.

      Other than these sections, there are some that expect ‘candid’ images. These include sections such as Photo Journalism, Photo Travel and Nature. In these sections, adding extra elements or manipulation is strictly not allowed.

      However, some senior artists opine that in Nature, while some minor distractions can be touched, the main subject is never to be touched and no cloning/deletion is allowed on the main subject.

      Hence, do a good job in using your camera to it’s best capabilities but do the required processing to get the best of what you’ve seen in the actual projected or printed image.

      Akshay H

        I cannot recall a salon where image processing is not allowed. Especially; since most of the salons going digital nowadays, I don’t think there are such restrictions at least as of today. Perhaps the questioner wasn’t aware of it I guess!

        • This reply was modified 7 years, 11 months ago by Akshay H.
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