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With the power of Photoshop and other image manipulating programs, when do you cross the line to just creating a fake image?

I run a Photoshop action that color corrects my Canon 10D. Some of the color levels are auto-adjusted. Is that too much? Should manipulating the image's color be considered too much manipulation? Adjusting while balance?
 

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Adjusting colors to adjust for bad white balancing etc is what
I consider normal adjustments. Cropping the image to improve the
composition. Rotate, flip, adjust contrast are other functions I
use frequently. Just like with film cameras, its upto the 'developer'
to draw his own lines. Super saturated, over sharpened, color enhanced
pictures are easy to spot - more so with amateaur adjustments. Pro's
can adjust quite a bit without making it seem obvious.
Most cameras already have algorithms built within them to adjust
digital pictures to look better as you're taking them. However, with
more and more cameras supporting RAW format - I think
post production with digital images will become the norm within the
next few years.

The BEST thing you can do - is proper white balance adjustment
when you're taking the picture. It'll give you the best color results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ghazanfar,

Thanks. I've read the manual on white balancing but I still don't think I know how to do it. How do you do it when going to take a picture of the aquarium? Do you use a white piece of paper under the lights?
 

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What I used to do was to take a white peice of plastic, attached to
a short bamboo stick and I'd just stick it into the tank and use that
to white balance off of. However, I recently found a easier way.
Now I simply flip the strip light over, and bounce that light off of
something white and balance off that. I'll be taking this to an even
more accurate level by using white balance 'cards' that are sold in
photogrpahy stores. Using those ensures that the object you're
using to white balance off of is truly white. The other thing I'll
start doing is to only white balance at night with no other source
of light but the strip light. This will eliminate white balancing errors too.
With my Sony DSC-F707, I can only 'store' one custom white balance
setting. I wish I could store more so that I wouldn't have to adjust
the white balance from tank to tank. If you've got a camera that supports
RAW mode - you don't even need to white balance. That can be done
using software in post production - very convinent.
 

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I wonder about flipping the strip light.

The GE 9325 bulbs are very pink in air. But when they shine into the tank everything looks much more neutral. I think the absorption of certain wavelengths by the water make the GE 9325s look better than other bulbs.

This would indicate taking the reading off of a white card in the tank to be much more accurate.

If you use flash from above, as is often recommended, you may not need to do a white balance.

Steve Pituch
 

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True - water will absorp the red section of the spectrum but
at what depths does this really start to be noticible? Any info
on that? Regardless, I do agree that a card in the tank will
result in better white balancing but the problem I have not solved
yet is finding something that's pure white that's also waterproof to
use. I used to use the lid off a yogurt container but I wonder how
accurate a white balance that'll give me.
 

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Ready to spread frosting containers are very white with a little more area. Maybe cutting a piece from the container and flattening it out would work? Or just using the lid...??

This is very useful info to me too. I've always struggled trying to figure out the white balance on my Canon G2, but I didn't know using the raw mode could take care of that. I'll have to experiment.... Raw mode can be such a memory hog, though...
 
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