Using Photoshop is cheating! Well, let’s not be too hasty. If I super-impose a photo of myself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower using Photoshop, with the caption, “I was there”, then that would be a little white lie. I’ve never been to Paris, France. But, is it cheating?
Dynamic range: in a recording device such as film or a digital camera, it is the difference between the maximum and minimum amount of light that the device can accurately record with detail. The human eye has a greater dynamic range than most digital cameras, or at least the out-put image which, in most cases, is in the .jpeg file format. Using Photoshop, one is often able to able to increase that range and more closely match what your eyes saw – more so with raw image format than jpeg.
Harsh light produces harsh shadows. Facial wrinkles are more pronounced. Who wants to remember grandma with harsh wrinkles. Facial blemishes, like maybe a zit or two, are usually just temporary. With Photoshop these things can be diminished or eliminated. So, why not cheat a little?
Before: Note the difficulty seeing detail in the bush or grass in the foreground, or the tree trunk on the right. Also, the horizon line of the water is slightly sloped. (click on photo to enlarge)