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National Geographic won't 'cheat' with digital photos

It has measures that keep Photoshop manipulations out of the picture.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 5, 2016
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There's been a backlash against digitally manipulated photos in the media, and frequently for good reasons: heavily edited shots set unrealistic expectations at best, and are outright misleading at worst. And National Geographic is no exception to this truth-in-pictures trend, apparently. The magazine has published a piece both promising "honest" shots and explaining how it screens for Photoshop trickery. It insists that photographers (both pros and Your Shot amateurs) hand over RAW files when possible, and will question anyone who doesn't have those files on hand. This isn't just a theoretical exercise, either -- Nat Geo says there have been times when it rejected images.

This doesn't meant that the publication is completely against the concept of tweaking photos. It's fine with some processing, which is understandable -- a photographer may need to punch up the colors or brightness to reflect what they saw with their own eyes. However, Nat Geo is determined to avoid a repeat of the mistakes it made in the 1980s, when it doctored a few high-profile photos (such as a 1982 shot of the Pyramids) to make them look better on the magazine cover. As a rule, you can assume that dramatic landscape shots or cultural portraits are just as impressive as they were in real life.

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