Photo manipulation is a process to transform a photograph into a desired image. There are currently many different software applications to choose from ranging from professional applications to basic imaging software for the casual user.
Photo manipulation involves transforming or altering a photograph using various methods and techniques to achieve desired results. Some photo manipulations are considered skilful artwork while others are frowned upon as unethical practices, especially when used to deceive the public, such as that used for political propaganda, or to make a product or person look better.
Depending on the application and intent, some photo manipulations are considered an art form because it involves the creation of unique images and in some instances, signature expressions of art by photographic artists. For example, Ansel Adams employed some of the more common manipulations using darkroom exposure techniques, such as burning (darkening) and dodging (lightening) a photograph.Other examples of photo manipulation include retouching photographs using ink or paint, airbrushing, double-exposure, piecing photos or negatives together in the darkroom, scratching instant films, or through the use of software-based manipulation tools applied to digital images. There are a number of software applications available for digital image manipulation, ranging from professional applications to very basic imaging software for casual users.