View Full Version : Competition images retouched and manipulated from someone else?

04-15-2009, 03:58 AM
Ok. Looking for clarification on rules for the Photographic Open Print Competition. I know in order for an image to be entered, it must have been captured by you, the photographer. After the image has been captured, are you allowed to have an outside source fully retouch the image, change backgrounds, manipulate and do whatever to the image to make it fully polished for competition (using an artists expertise; with or without your input)? Is this within the rules of the Photographic Print Competition? Thanks for your input and expertise.

04-15-2009, 04:35 AM
with or without your input)? Is this within the rules of the Photographic Print Competition? Any modifications done by another individual are supposed to be done with the direction of the photographer. PEC take's the word of the photographer that is what occurs. Just as they take the word of each person who signs the entry stating that they created the images. I am sure somewhere out there there are people who do not follow the rules as stringently as others. Each person has to decide for themselves how thier own integrity allows them to interpet this rule. Whenever I offer an opinion on print modifications or even if I actually work up a print for someone, I never do it on the actual entry print. I make suggestions to show them one way it could be handled. Then they either decide they agree with my suggestions and do the work themselves or they choose to go another direction. I interpet this as following the rules. I guess there are probably people who feel any outside input is in violation of this rule. One thing I can say for sure it is not acceptable to send a file off to someone else and say "make this a merit print". You can certainly send off the file with instructions and have someone else do the work for you. Hope this answers your question. I feel like you have a specific situation in mind with this post. Feel free to PM me if there is something you are concerned about. I am on the PEC Action Team and my job is to answer questions about print competition on the forum.


04-15-2009, 05:15 AM
Thank you Keith. This question was one that I have always wondered. I know there are some who send off their images to "make it merit worthy" and I feel that it is cheating (themselves and their peers). In my own mind, I wanted to know what is "right" and what is truely worthy of that honored "Merit". Your words of knowledge should reach every photographer to make sure what they submit is truely their "own" work. I guess they will have to live with their decisions...

04-15-2009, 01:21 PM
Hi Sherry;

There is an excellent well known photographic artist. She would reject and send back images sent to her with the instructions "make these merit images" without doing anything. The photographer was supposed to know retouching, and enhancement, enough to give instructions and direction. This was in the film days but it holds true today. I took classes on retouching and enhancing so I could do some work myself but, more importantly, could convey to the lab or an artist what I wanted done.

04-15-2009, 03:53 PM
I've worked on the other side of the table, making those images merit worthy. I expect detailed instructions. For their every day work, they'll say...make it like you know I want it but for comp, I want specifics. SURE I know what to do but I'm not entering. SURE others feel differently but they're not ME.

I see nothing wrong with having someone else do your artwork, only with the free hand given. With film, labs did tons more for comp work as few photographers did their own neg and print retouching. I see nothing different doing the digital artwork for them, just as long as the rules are followed.

04-15-2009, 05:08 PM
Does this mean I have to stop doing the artwork on my husband's competition images? He rarely gives me instructions since he knows I have a good eye for what it would need to make it competition ready.

04-15-2009, 05:37 PM
Well Anne, I guess technically the answer is yes, he is supposed to tell you what he wants done. The question is not if "he knows I have a good eye for what it would need to make it competition ready." His entries are supposed to reflect what he knows, not what his artist knows. Refusing to do the artwork for him without his guidance would be following the rules in the very strictest sense. However, I am long time married also and I kinda don't believe that you guys never talk about what to do. The conversation probably goes like this

"I was thinking"
"yes I agree"
"so could you"
"no I think it would be better to"
"Yeah you are right but try"
"Ok that's a good idea"

To alot of people it would seem like he never gave you any guidance but to anyone married for a long time knows you don't have to finish any of those sentences to know exactly what the other person was saying. I am sure you guys communicate a lot more about it then you are even aware. A lot of communication in a marriage especially is non-verbal. So I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. It would be a whole different story if one of your friends just sent you images to work up without thier input. That's my take on it anyway.


04-15-2009, 07:02 PM
Your right Keith, unless of course it goes:

"I was thinking"
"No, I don't think so"
"But I don't think it can"
"I don't agree"
"Well that's your opinion"

In which case, we may not be communicating for the next few hours at all! ;)

Actually, I did tell him I thought we should remove the snow in the foreground of the last image he send to enter in competition and he agreed it had to go. If it was a friend, I wouldn't work on it without instructions. I might give them my opinion on what I think needs to be done to it to make it competition worthy but they would have to give me the final say so on whether to do that or not.

04-17-2009, 09:58 PM
Just wanted to add some thoughts from a long time retoucher. I'm highly in favor of photographers learning retouching and developing that critical eye to know what needs retouching, especially if they are going to do the work themselves. Even if they aren't, it will help them to know what to tell their retoucher to do and maybe even get them to take a minute to correct something (like moving the car in the background) before they take the picture rather than spending time afterwards doing it.

Currently, I'm seeing spots, hot spots. Gary had a b&w image of a girl taken with natural light in the tack room of the stable she keeps her horse at. He entered it in our state competition but it didn't score as well as either of us thought (78). After we got it home and he put it on display where I walk by it all the time, I started seeing the spots.

Do you know how many things there are in a tack room that can catch the light? :eek: There are chains, straw bales, ropes, tack, bottles, and even the ridges in the dirt on the floor! So I'm actually using brush and dye to tone them all down. Neither Gary or I really noticed them on the monitor but once printed, they are really obvious! *sigh*