Is one considered a photographer if he relies alot on photo-enhancing software?

Use of photo-enhancing software (e.g. lightroom) = good photographer?

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Apr 30, 2010
its something a friend brought out to me, that if you need to use photo-enhancing software (e.g. lightroom, cs4, etcetc) to enhance your pictures, or to bring a certain mood to it, would you be considered a good photographer?


New Member
Apr 10, 2010
anyway, i prefer my photos with little to zero PP.


Senior Member
Jul 14, 2008
I think post processing is considered part of the digital workflow. If the changes are subtle without changing the composition, I would think yes. By subtle, I am refering to removal of vignette, sharpen, WB, saturation, contrast, etc. Having said that, there is still a lot of grey area such as cloning out of unwanted objects, merging of multiple images to create multiple exposure, changing of colour to bw as an after thought, introducing more background blur, etc. There really is no hard and fast rule as the possibilities with digital pp is enormous. I would think a competent photographer would be able to visualize what he wants to achieve from the onset of capturing the scene. While a less capable one explore with the possibilities of his image captured in post processing.

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erm, why are we debating on PP?
Personally, I dont see anything wrong. It is part of advancement.

I believe this debate came about when Cavemen were deciding if using colour chalks ruin a painter's work.

Sep 17, 2008
if u REALLY wanna look all the way back...

film age: when u shoot, u have to develop. darkroom techniques were the yesterday's photoshop. no develop means no image. developing is photoshop.

what ur camera records and shows u as an image is the camera inside already render finish and edit one. if u shoot raw, its like shooting film. u can still do some adjustments. jpeg is like ur film that other ppl help u develop already. or u can also say is ur camera photoshop one.

its a misconception that came about with the digitazation of cameras. all photos are still edited... no such thing as original format.

even how ur jpeg is compressed by ur camera is also a form of editing...

this is my impression at least.


Senior Member
Sep 19, 2003
In this small world
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Depends on where you are coming from. If it is a photo competition, then editing is unlikely possible. Then you might want to use lens that vignette to create certain effects, or filters that create certain effects like soften image, star effect, gradual ND filter, or use predefined setting for that punchy and high contrast look.

The key is, as long as the photo is taken by you, no matter what you do to the photo, so long as it is good and satisfy official rules, you are good.


Aug 12, 2007
Small Island
Personal question from my POV though the most important in the end is the end product.

Anyway, if you worry about that, suggest you only shoot with instant polaroid. :p

Anyway even when you shoot with your camera, you set HDR setting, there is already editing if you count that. Camera took 3 shots and try to intelligently create a higher dynamic range photo. But one thing rude is when people despise another of not being a photographer with remark like "kids nowaday holding big DSLR not know how to use it running around". Bear in mind that the casual remark can means a turn around when the kid improves while you are still stuck with your own complicent.

Dec 12, 2009
I am not good with digital workflow but i think photography is art. Hence using heavy pp is like taking the role of artist after using the camera to increase the beauty of his work. So it is about the style of photography each of us is into. Some artist love to paint using brush while some loves to use digital technology.


Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
Upper Bukit Timah
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The very act of taking photographs with a camera is in itself, a form of manipulation so to the purists..... stop taking photographs with your cameras.


Aug 25, 2006
in 2011,

let's start a count on all the common topics.

i volunteer to start a thread for this, with the links to the repeated topics. can update as we go along. will be an amusing, enlightening experience.

i've replied to this so many times, i can't be bothered anymore.

zero o

New Member
Aug 8, 2007
Is the title "photographer" so important ? Unless you are making a living through photography, being called a photographer (or not) is immaterial, other than a ego trip.


Aug 25, 2006
its something a friend brought out to me, that if you need to use photo-enhancing software (e.g. lightroom, cs4, etcetc) to enhance your pictures, or to bring a certain mood to it, would you be considered a good photographer?

i am very confident in my ability to produce out of cam pictures.

nice right, is art.

my friend told me he felt that there was a delicious piece of shio bak in the picture.

boy, is art. cos actually is a cake. hee hee hee :) :) :)

i am an artist! i am a photographer. i don't use lightroom, i don't pp my photos. when i look at my pictures, i feel that picasso is entering me. :)

tell you secret, actually if give to those photoshop wizard, he can produce things like this from my picture. but eeyer, is cheating........ so cheater de.



I AM STILL COOLER. you better know it k.

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Jan 28, 2010
Ha Noi, Vietnam, Vietnam
I think the line is reeeeally blur here. It's how you define the term photographer also, because imo everyone who has taken a photo (whether with a large format or a handphone) is a photographer... I myself avoid pp and only use it for lens correction and cropping, and try to keep the image as real-looking as possible. But then taking crappy photos then try to hide it with copious amount of photoshopping and call yourself a good photographer is laughable

Sep 13, 2009
to me

Acceptable editing/PP
  • White Balance Shift
  • Lens Correction (distortion, CAs, vignettings)
  • Cropping
  • Levels Adjustments
  • Saturation/Vibrance Boost
  • Noise Reductions
  • Skin Softening
  • Red Eye Removal
  • Sharpening

Unacceptable editing / Cheating
  • Super Super Impost (introduce complete new elements into the picture which was absent, e.g. fake sky, fake animals, fake lines, fake background, fake everything)

but that's just me
moreover, it also depends what field of photography one is at
advertising, fashion , edit as much as you want, as long as the end product is good, it is acceptable

National geographic types of shoots like landscape, journals, and perhaps documentation should be not very tolerant on the amount and degree of edits you make

btw: lightroom provides a very very mild form of photo editing and i think it's totally acceptable

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in my opinion,you are damn good if you can take both good pictures and digitally enhanced/manipulate intensified you enhanced it, that's subjective. even a simple PnS already have Auto Scenery,Macro,Sports,Portraiture,Aperture and Shutter modes. aren't those technically enhanced settings can help the user?

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