Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

The photographic ad with no Photoshop

Using Photoshop, or any other image manipulation tool, is almost a given in today’s busy world. In particular, when the images are for widespread use, such in the case of advertising. For an experienced editor, Photoshop is a tool which helps one achieve results much more quickly, with much less physical effort, with less cost and less hassle than using raw, unedited images.

For example, car adverts for everyday manufacturers are pretty much all “Photoshopped” these days. A stock street scene and a studio photograph of the vehicle are merged together, corrected to varying degrees of accuracy. The public is unlikely to notice, as the message of the image is to present an imagined lifestyle they could enjoy, if they were to buy the product.

The emergence of websites like Photoshop Disasters are a sign that poor effort and quick work are noticed and ridiculed: often making the effort produce negative promotional results than were hoped for.

Photographers and visual artists, in particular, are keen to pick up on inaccuracies and although everyone expects ad images to be faked, Nikon took the brave step when commissioning their ads for the new D810 to produce images which show just what can be achieved without Photoshop. It’s quite logical, really: were they to promote their camera using retouched photos, it could logically give the impression that you can’t get truly professional results with their new flagship camera without a little help in post-processing.

“Miss Anelia” (British photographer Natalie Dybisz) gained a lot of attention through her series of heavily modified images between 2006 and 2009, which would’ve been impossible to capture without post-processing. Since then, she’s moved on to produce a much wider body of work and has run many courses around the world on a series of topics. Most recently, she’s probably best known for her surreal fashion photography.

Miss Anelia and her team were able to produce a number of images for Nikon using a range of sets, props, live animals and well-conceived lighting to produce the kind of image one would usually associate with a Photoshopped set of individual images. The “making of” video linked in this post gives a behind-the-scenes look into how they were achieved, and gives some examples of the strengths of the new camera.