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By Massimo Usai

How many times you have heard this question?

“I love photography, but I’m having difficulties with digital photography using photoshop or lightroom and in the use of pre-sets for my photos to make it more appealing. Is this to be considered a form of Cheating?”

My logical and simple answer should be:

“Is driving a car with an automatic transmission or cutting boards with an electric saw cheating? Photo software and pre-sets are simply tools.”

What constitutes “cheating” in photography is a discussion that has been going on for pretty much as long as photography has been practised.

I’m reminded of the furore over Arthur Rothstein‘s famous 1936 “moved skull photo for the Farm Security Administration.

If I’m shooting photojournalism, then adherence to subject matter and documenting what-was-there is a thing to consider. But otherwise… it’s art, and art need not be subjected to the constraints imposed by authenticity.

Even back in the time long before computer editing and digital photography, photographers could “edit”, leaving the picture longer or shorter in the developing liquid.

So, change colours, expositions, crops and whatever you want.

Digital Photography
Sopot, Poland by @massimousai

Anyways, try to learn Photoshop and use a digital camera to eventually develop your own style instead of complaining. You will see that digital photo could provide delivery to you.

It all depends on your mindset at the end of the story.

 Although I use my own, few pre-set, there isn’t anything wrong with exploring what other people have made. In fact, you might end up learning new things and tweak them from there.

SO, IT'S CHEATING? 

All-digital photography is one big “cheating” because rarely you will find a photo that hasn’t been manipulated substantially, so, no, it’s not cheating, in my opinion.

So it was “film” at a pro-level.

So don’t feel bad about editing because it belongs to photography.

Massimo Usai

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