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Photomontage & Photo manipulation: The Difference


Photomontage and photo manipulation are actually two different techniques to make a final image. I am going to share with you the difference between these two. We find many examples of photo manipulation on the web but don’t know exactly whether its photomontage or photo manipulation.


Photomontage is the process (and result) of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining a number of other photographs. The composite picture was sometimes photographed so that the final image is converted back into a seamless photographic print. A similar method, although one that does not use film, is realized today through image-editing software. This latter technique is referred to by professionals as “compositing”, and in casual usage is often called “photoshopping“.

The 19th century tradition of physically joining multiple images into a composite and photographing the results prevailed in press photography and offset lithography until the widespread use of digital image editing. Contemporary photo editors in magazines now create “paste-ups” digitally. Creating a photomontage has, for the most part, become easier with the advent of computer software such as Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshopping is slang for the digital editing of photos The term originates from Adobe Photoshop, the image editor most commonly used by professionals for this purpose however, other programs, such as Paint Shop Pro, Corel Photopaint, Paint.NET, or GIMP, may be used. Adobe Systems, the publisher of Adobe Photoshop, discourages use of the term “photoshop” as a verb out of concern that it may undermine the company’s trademark.


Other methods for combining pictures are also called photomontage, such as Victorian “combination printing”, the printing of more than one negative on a single piece of printing paper (e.g. O. G. Rejlander, 1857), front-projection and computer montage techniques. Much like a collage is composed of multiple facets, artists also combine montage techniques. Romare Bearden’s (1912-1988) series of black and white “photomontage projections” is an example. His method began with compositions of paper, paint, and photographs put on boards 8 1/2×11 inches. Bearden fixed the imagery with an emulsion that he then applied with handroller. Subsequently, he enlarged the collages photographically.

Some Examples of Photomontage

We find some of the images from Advanced Photoshop Magazine’s Photomontage Category.










The ethics of photomontage

A photomontage may contain elements at once real and imaginary. Two-dimensional representation of physical space in a picture is, by definition, an illusion. Such combined photos and digital manipulation can set up a collision between aesthetics and ethics – for instance, in faked news photographs that are presented to the world as real. In the United States, for example, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) have set out a Code of Ethics promoting the accuracy of published images, advising that photographers “do not manipulate images  that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.”

Photo manipulation

Photo manipulation is the application of image editing techniques to photographs in order to create an illusion or deception (in contrast to mere enhancement or correction), through analog or digital means.  Its uses, cultural impact, and ethical concerns have made it a subject of interest beyond the technical process and skills involved.

In digital editing, photographs are usually taken with a digital camera and input directly into a computer. Transparencies, negatives or printed photographs may also be digitized using a scanner, or images may be obtained from stock photography databases. With the advent of computers, graphics tablets, and digital cameras, the term image editing encompasses everything that can be done to a photo, whether in a darkroom or on a computer. Photo manipulation is often much more explicit than subtle alterations to color balance or contrast and may involve overlaying a head onto a different body or changing a sign’s text, for example. Image editing software can be used to apply effects and warp an image until the desired result is achieved. The resulting image may have little or no resemblance to the photo (or photos in the case of compositing) from which it originated. Today, photo manipulation is widely accepted as an art-form.

Surreal Darkroom manipulation

Despite the popularity of digital photo manipulation, darkroom manipulation are regarded as traditional art rather than job related skill. Techniques are very similar to digital manipulation but they are harder to create than ones that are created digitally. For those who digitally manipulated and traditionally manipulated photographs in the past will undoubtedly know the fact that the similarities of techniques are strikingly similar:  Masking, dodging, burning, fading and cutting.

The main reason that it is much difficult to manipulate photographs in the darkroom is the fact that there’s no preview of your work unless it has been processed through the print developer and it is far more difficult to create something that is very surreal. However, it is known that people have wasted an uncontrollable amount of photographic paper because encountering with human error is inevitable.

Some Examples of Photo manipulation.

45+ Amazing Underwater Photo Manipulation
45 Brilliant Examples of Photo Manipulation Art

80 Excellent Examples of Photo Manipulation Art | Inspiration
Browsing Photomanipulation on deviantART

Content courtesy of Wikipedia

Written by lava360

Blogger who is Passionate about blogging to share world of design and freebies to viewers, designers, photographgers, graphic and web designers.

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