Lesson Fifteen

In this lesson you will learn ways to edit your photographs. You will also discuss when it is right or wrong to edit photographs.

This lesson provides some ideas for entering the Best Dressed Pumpkin Category in the Electric Garden GIANTS competition. Make sure you have permission to edit your photograph before you start. You may not enter an edited photograph into any other category.  


Photo Editing

Photo editing or photo manipulation are the names given to the act of changing the appearance of a photograph. Pixlr Editor is a browser based program that allows you to modify or change a photograph. Here are some basic instructions to get you started, and here are some more detailed tutorials. You could also use vector graphic software such as Paint or Inkscape. If you don’t have your own photo, you can use one of ours!

Can you add a smiley face to your pumpkin? How about a top hat?


Ethics of Photo Editing

The word ‘ethics’ refers to the things that are considered right or wrong in your society. For instance, lying and cheating is considered wrong in our society because it’s unfair and hurts people. Those rules are our society’s ethics. The ‘ethics of photo editing’ means the ways in which our society believes it is right or wrong to edit a photo.

For example, by changing the way a photograph looks, we risk changing the story that it tells. Take a look at the photos below. Can you identify the changes that have been made? How has the editing changed the story in the photograph? (Hint: Which sunflower looks healthier?)


Think about the places where you might come across an edited photo, such as in a magazine or on the news. Chat with the people around you and discuss when you think is it okay to use an edited photograph, and when is it not. Take a look at the situations below to help you. Can you come up with a list of guidelines for photographers and editors?

  • An editor changes the skin of a model so that it looks smoother.

  • You edit out a spot on your face before posting a picture to social media.

  • An estate agent edits out a crack on the side of a building they are selling.

  • A photographer alters the lighting on a photograph of a couple at their wedding.

  • Somebody crops a photo so that it looks like your friend didn’t attend a party.

  • An animal shelter adds bows and hats to pictures of dogs that need homes.