Photo vs. Image

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Many traditional photographers consider a “photograph” as a picture that has not been retouched or altered in any way, that remains completely unedited in the original version that came straight out of the camera. Whereas an “image” is any type of photograph or picture that has been digitally altered in any way, whether that alteration be subtle or obvious.

So, according to that definition, this picture would be considered a “photograph”:


This picture would be considered an “image”:


The first picture is straight out of the camera (“SOOC”). The second picture has been sharpened and color-boosted. To me, the second picture is representative of what I actually saw with my own eyes, “in real life”. The first picture, in my mind, failed to capture the actual vibrancy of the landscape as I experienced it.

I don’t mind editing my pictures to make them more “real”, to me. My personal philosophy is that a little editing is grand, as long as it doesn’t so alter the photo as to make it look unrealistic.

I would love to hear other people’s opinions on the subject. Are you a believer in strict, unaltered photography, or do you enjoy some judicious editing of your pictures?

(The pictures are of Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Forest, Wyoming. A truly stunning spot and a photographer’s dream.)

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