- Associated Press.
AP pictures must always tell the truth. We do not alter or manipulate the content of a photograph in any way. The content of a photograph must not be altered in PhotoShop or by any other means. No element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph. The faces or identities of individuals must not be obscured by PhotoShop or any other editing tool. Only retouching or the use of the cloning tool to eliminate dust and scratches are acceptable. Minor adjustments in PhotoShop are acceptable. These include cropping, dodging and burning, conversion into grayscale, and normal toning and color adjustments that should be limited to those minimally necessary for clear and accurate reproduction (analogous to the burning and dodging often used in darkroom processing of images) and that restore the authentic nature of the photograph. Changes in density, contrast, color and saturation levels that substantially alter the original scene are not acceptable. Backgrounds should not be digitally blurred or eliminated by burning down or by aggressive toning.
No additions or deletions to the subject matter of the original image. (thus changing the original content and journalistic integrity of an image)
No excessive lightening, darkening or blurring of the image.
(thus misleading the viewer by disguising certain elements of an image)
No excessive colour manipulation. (thus dramatically changing the original lighting conditions of an image)
Only minor Photoshop work should be performed in the field.
(Especially from laptops). We require only cropping, sizing and levels with resolution set to 300dpi. Where possible, ask your regional or global picture desks to perform any required further Photo-shopping on their calibrated hi-resolution screens. This typically entails lightening/darkening, sharpening, removal
of dust and basic colour correction.
When working under prime conditions, some further minor Photo-shopping (performed within the above rules) is acceptable.
This includes basic colour correction, subtle lightening/darkening of zones, sharpening, removal of dust and other minor adjustments that fall within the above rules. Reuters recommendations on the technical settings for these adjustments appear below. The level of Photoshop privileges granted to photographers should be at the discretion of the Chief/Senior Photographers within the above guidelines. All photographers should understand the limitations of their laptop screens and their working environments.
- Getty specifies file formats and camera functions that can and cannot be used.
- National Press Photographers Code of Ethics Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.”
Photo manipulation presents us with ethical dilemmas of varying degrees of severity. In some cases, the photographers or editors are fired when unethical images are used. In other cases, such as this first magazine cover from the Economist, the ethical issue is debatable.
Photoshopped photo of Obama after the BP spill
Mother Jones Photoshopping the News
Originals versus composite – False light
Two photos from Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Compare these captions
Did Time Magazine act unethically when it darkened the face of OJ Simpson to make him seem more sinister?