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To enhance or not enhance?

Recently I, along with others, was on the receiving end of some criticism for the style of images that I post on a certain user group on Facebook. The group is comprised of outdoors enthusiasts that specifically enjoy the number and variety of waterfalls in Hamilton, Ontario (The Waterfall Capital of the World – 140 waterfalls) Many of the members post images of the various falls that they visit on their outings and the comments (usually positive) ensue.

Recently however one member decided to post his image (which was very good) but added the caption “This was taken with a camera” to which he followed “My photos are not “PLAYED WITH”. All I do is a little color correction and exposure setting and maybe a little unsharp mask. I try to get it right in the camera first and not rely on photo shop to fix what should have been done in the camera.” 

As you might expect the flaming arrows started to fly back and forth. I sat back and followed the thread with interest to see where it would go. Part way along the moderator intervened to control the situation and to his credit he did not delete any of the posts. There were a few additional posts of support for the original “not “PLAYED WITH”” guy as well as his detractors who like me “PLAY WITH” our photos.

Below is one of my photos (before and after) that I am sure was the subject of the “PLAYED WITH” comment. My minds eye saw an image that my camera could not capture. With the help of Adobe Lightroom I got pretty close to the image I had envisioned when I pressed the shutter release.

So here is my question, when is it OK to edit a photo and when do you stop?


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