Photoshop is Fair Play - Sometimes

Last week I filled you in on the different requirements for model releases when you sell your photos for editorial or for stock. This week, I'd like to cover another difference when it comes to these two markets.

I've offered tips on editing your photos in Photoshop before, but if you want to sell your photos for editorial, you should know a few things, first, before you go fiddling with your images.

When you hear the word "editorial" what do you think of?

Newspapers and magazines most likely. And that would be correct. Add to that text books, the internet, and TV news and you're more-or-less covering the "editorial" bases.

Now, when you look at photos in a newspaper that are used to illustrate a story, you expect them to be "factual." You assume that every bit of every image is "true."

You expect that nothing was changed, taken out, put in, or in any other way altered. For editorial use, that is, in fact, industry standard. (And more than one person has lost his job for not adhering to it.)

But outside of editorial, it's a free-for-all.

Photo manipulation for fine art purposes -- or simply to improve some basic aesthetics -- is fairly common practice. In stock, for instance, it is not only acceptable -- at times it's required if a shot's to be salable for commercial purposes.

Take this picture of a little boy in his baseball uniform here:

If this shot were used for an editorial story in the local news paper, it could be printed exactly as it was shot. But for stock, that "Red Sox" logo would have to come off (and you'd have to secure a model release).

Again, for editorial purposes, this shot (see it here: of three Italian doors could go unchanged... but for fine art or stock purposes, the photographer could play with the image to his heart's content.

Keeping in mind how you intend to use an image while you are shooting can help you decide not only what you want to shoot but how to take the shot.

Just remember that different markets have different guidelines and requirements -- especially when it comes to altering the final image.

[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Perry from Portland, Oregon, specializes in people photography, what she calls documentary or lifestyle portraits. She is known especially for her imaging of children. Shelly's concern for people is reflected both in her sense of purpose and the images she produces. Her images have been seen all over the globe on music CD covers, books, magazines, catalogues, web sites, ad campaigns and even on TV. Her work has also appeared in several local exhibits and gallery shows.

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