Ethics in editing photos

24 views July 16, 2018 December 11, 2018 collegianadviser 0


The Collegian adheres to the National Press Photographers Association’s Code of Ethics. This includes:

  • Being “accurate … in the representation of subjects.”
  • Resisting “being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.”
  • Providing “context when photographing or recording subjects.”
  • Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups.
  • Treating “all subjects with respect and dignity.”
  • Not intentionally contributing to, altering, or seeking “to alter or influence events.”
  • Not manipulating images or adding or altering “sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.”
  • Not paying “sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation,” or accepting gifts.

For the complete list, visit the NPPA website:

Limits on manipulation

Generally speaking, photos shot under the auspices of journalism should not be altered any differently than you would alter an image in the dark room.

What does that mean? You are mostly limited to cropping, dodging, and burning.

Cropping: Adjusting the frame of the image via cutting it down to a smaller size, or removing something extraneous from the frame.

Dodging: Allows for lightening of specific parts of an image, essentially exposing the “dodged” areas to less light.

Burning: Works the opposite of dodging, exposing area being “burned” to more light to darken down an area of the image.

You may also adjust the color through Photoshop, but not in a way that makes the image look unauthentic from the real world, i.e. don’t make the sky purple. Generally you want the image to be as close to reality as possible. Make someone look real, not better.

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