The Evolution of Photo-Editing

Images cut through all our critical defenses, or so we've been told. Whereas text has to be slowly digested by our brain, images head straight for the nerve centers. This is why images are an essential tool for advertising, and why society is becoming increasingly visual as technology advances.

 As the toolsqa photo of Lenin addressing soviet troops was famously altered to remove Trotsky per Wikipedia, complex techniques such as darkroom manipulation and airbrushing have been replaced by more accessible digital editing tools like Photoshop. A consequence of the prevalence of doctored images is that people no longer readily accept what their eyes tell them.

Sometimes the evidence of photo tampering is easy to detect, but, in the hands of a skilled Photoshop artist, manipulated photos can look very convincing indeed.

According to Business Insider, advertising regulators in the USA have taken steps towards banning the use of Photoshop in images promoting cosmetics due to the potential for false advertising. This will also, hopefully, avoid the barrage of Photoshop accusations that routinely greet any controversial image posted on the net.

A Tool for Photographers, Advertisers and Artists

Photoshop can make an old picture look like a new picture, or make a photo look like a painting. Its ability to combine text and graphics in creative ways is a powerful tool for advertising, and its photo-editing capabilities have created awe-inspiring works of art, as well as the mass production of countless hilarious memes.

According to Rafin O’Hara, the tools provided by Photoshop allow photographers to challenge certain limitations, such as:

  • Time: Old photos can be scanned and loaded into Photoshop, where healing brushes and patch correction can be used to remove the effects of deterioration.

  • Human error: Mistakes such as bad lighting, red eye, over-exposure, and blotches can be rectified.

  • Reality: Paintbrush techniques can be used to create fantastical imagery, effectively combining the arts of photography and painting.

So, while some worry about the effects of false advertising, others take the opportunity to unleash their creativity in ways that were never before accessible. Whether your goal is to produce high-quality photographs, create cybernetic snails or simply insert cats into ancient Greek paintings the opportunities presented by Photoshop are numerous.

 About The Author

Matthew Flax writes for Now Learning, which offers a range of Photoshop short courses in Australia.