Editing Etiquette

Editing Etiquette means different things to different people. What is considered going too far when pertaining to nature photography? I have a standard that I abide by, as do most photographers, but some will change the image entirely. First I will discuss my standards. I try to capture the image as my minds eye sees it. What does this mean? Well first off my style and vision is very colorful. I like saturated colors and clean simple images. I do process my images in a way that highlights the colors present in the scene. You have to remember that the camera sees differently than the human eye, and it will pick up colors that we can't perceive.  I do not change the colors I merely add a bit of vibrancy to them. Sometimes I will adjust color temperature, but this is different than changing a blue sky to a purple sky.

I only remove man made items from my images. This includes, trash, light poles, power lines, occasionally people, etc... My goal is to capture nature, and while humans are part of this, I tend to like the solitude of a grand landscape. I think the trash, light poles, garbage bins, is a no brainer as to why I remove them in post. Its just ugly. Now if I were a photojournalist I would leave these items in the photograph, but I'm not. so I don't.

I don't replace, or add to the sky, foreground or any other part of the image. I want to accurately represent the landscape as I saw it and I feel adding or replacing key elements is a misrepresentation. Other image makers on the other hand, will do so. They may replace the sky, foreground, the subject matter etc. This doesn't bother me, and some of the results are breathtaking. I don't do it, but it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy when others do it.

So where do you fall? Is there a line you just can't cross? Do you feel when photogs overly alter the image, they are misrepresenting, or are the artists?

This is a simple edit. I shoot RAW, so even when a image is perfect in camera, I always add, contrast, and a bit of vibrancy, and some sharpening. If you shoot Jpeg, the camera will usually do this automatically for you. Whichever format you shoot, the results would be pretty similar.