1.2 Working with Digital Images

Photoshop has change the way images can be edited but, as cool as it is to add wings to your profile picture or change your eye colour, image manipulation also has the potential to induce a lot of moral and ethical implications .

Primairly, Photoshop excels at altering and amending photos. For example, you can use the Crop tool to select and rotate an image so that it is no longer tilted. Photoshop even provides a rule of three grid to help align the image acurately:

Photoshop can also be used to amend and alter images, which can be useful for practical reasons and also aesthetics. Here, the blue has been selected with the Magic Wand tool to create a marque selection. Then the selection was adjusted with the Hue/Saturation to make it more of an orange tone.

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The Magic Wand tool isn’t the only tool used to make selections. The Rectangle and Lasso tool can help make more accurate selections. Selecting ‘Add to Selection’ means you can keep adding to a selection to help you make more accurate marques.

Like the Hue/Saturation adjustment, you can also alter the brightness and contrast of the selection, making whites whiter etc.

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Long gone are the days of developing film in a dark room. You can also use Photoshop to adjust the level on over or under exposed images. Here is an example of an over exposed image with the  levels adjusted.

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We’re also able to use the Red Eye image tool to remove red eye. ‘See’ below:

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Ethical Implications

There are also means of changing an image subtly to make it more appealing. This is where the grey area photo manipulations start to creep in.

Manipulating an image like this can raise questions of morality, especially is skin colour or facial structures have been modified. Likewise there are lots of concerns over the effect of photo manipulation on personal body image. A constant barrage of subtly edited images creates an unreal perception of normal and is linked to a rise is anxiety in the generations that have grown up with photoshopped media.


From a corporate stand point, the use of image manipulation may raise issues around false advertising. If you use an image that has been altered to present an unrealistic expectation of the results of using the product, you have to add a disclaimer that the image has been edited.

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You can also use Photoshop to create composite images. This is where you use layers to insert things into an scene that were not there originally. This can be useful for editing stock images (think adding a coffee cup to a desk) but again, it can be used to create images that are misleading, such as celebrities in places they shouldn’t be or dinosaurs in the garden (my image) .

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