No effect photos wanted by National Geographic

While Instagram and other smartphone photo effects spread as much as other software manipulations, the magazine known for its wonderful photos National Geographic doesn’t want these tricks. The editors published their professional expectations to be met by photos submitted by readers.

As digital photography becomes more popular the digital alterations of the photos become more common as well. These interventions however need to be set boundaries to be able to call the images photos instead of becoming graphics or rather paintings surrounding us everywhere.
In press photography there are strict rules for developing photos, and many have lost their jobs and reputation for breaking these rules. This time National Geographic Magazine published its guidelines (nyomán pedig a PetaPixel, és más oldalak is), hogy utat mutassanak a képeiket lelkesedésből, talán némi hírnév reményében (ingyen) beküldő olvasóknak, akik képeivel a lap weboldalának Your Shot rovatát töltik meg.

A message from the Director of Photography of National Geographic:

I encourage you to submit photographs that are real. The world is already full of visual artifice, and we aren’t running Your Shot to add to it. We want to see the world through your eyes, not the tools of PhotoShop.
Please do not digitally enhance or alter your photographs (beyond the basics needed to achieve realistic color balance and sharpness). If you have digitally added or removed anything, please don’t submit the shot. We look at every photo to see if it’s authentic, and if we find that yours is in any way deceptive, we’ll disqualify it.

DODGING AND BURNING: Dodging (to brighten shadows) or burning (to darken highlights) is OK, but it should be minimal. Do not overdo it. Your goal in using digital darkroom techniques should be only to adjust the dynamic tonal range of an image so that it more closely resembles what you saw. And don’t oversaturate the color.

SOLARIZATION, MEZZOTINT, DUOTONE, ETC.: No. If you use one of the myriad alteration “filters” available in your digital photo software, please stop.


HAND-TINTED IMAGES: OK, but only if you’re experienced in this art.

CROPPING: OK, if it makes the photo better.

STITCHED PANORAMAS: OK, but only if the segments were all made within the same time frame. We don’t want panoramas with sections made at significantly different times. Do not change focal length when you create a stitched image. Do not stretch the meaning of panorama to include elements that weren’t in the scene as you saw it. If your entry is a stitched image, please indicate this in the caption. (A stitched panorama is created from multiple images, each taking in a different angle of view from the same position, then combined using digital techniques. It results in a wider view than can be achieved with most wide-angle lenses.)

FISH-EYE LENSES: OK, but enter at your own risk – editors tend to dislike such optical gimmicks.

HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE IMAGES (HDRI): OK, but like panoramas, only if the combined parts are made at about the same time. We don’t want final images where the foreground was shot at noon and the sky at sunset. If your entry is an HDR image, please indicate this in the caption. (An HDRI image is created from multiple images of exactly the same scene, made rapidly but at different exposures, then combined using digital darkroom techniques. The final image, when done successfully, allows one exposure for shadows to be combined with another for highlights to produce a final image that has a greater dynamic range than is possible with a single exposure.)

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