Summary: This article outlines the requirements for photomanipulations, composites and collages.
Photomanipulations & Composites
Photo Manipulations are images based on a photograph that has been significantly enhanced, altered, or combined with other photographic or graphical elements to create something more or different than the original photo (more than simple post-processing enhancements such as coloring).
In addition to our General Photo Technical Requirements, please refer to the following guidelines when submitting photos that have been manipulated or composited.
- Photo manipulations and composites must be based on actual photographs/make use of actually photographed elements.
- Use of digital graphics and illustrated elements are acceptable when manipulated/composited with real photography.
- Do not submit images that are entirely based on illustrations.
- Do not submit photos that have been manipulated so that little of the original photographed elements remain.
- Photo manipulations and composites must display a high degree of realism, make sense visually, and have a clear and well thought out purpose.
- Composited elements must all be related, nicely and evenly blended, and work together to create a single cohesive and believable image/concept.
- Edits and manipulations must not be overly apparent or distracting.
- Do not cut and paste elements together.
- Do not submit images where the elements are not well-integrated.
- Do not submit images with basic overlaid text or graphics.
- Surrealism, fantasy, and futuristic scenes/styles are also acceptable where realistically and believably achieved or for artistic/conceptual value.
- Do not submit photos with poor compositing technique.
- All composited elements must fit together seamlessly, and must feel like a single cohesive image (should not feel simply cut-and-paste).
- All composited elements must have similar and realistic lighting and should feel like they belong in the same location/scene/time of day.
- Do not composite elements that have very short or mixed depths of field as this is unlikely to fit together seamlessly.
- Do not composite a sharp subject element over a blurry background, e.g. as an artificial setting or to imitate a faux depth of field effect.
- If the subject itself is properly isolated, you may submit it on its own as an isolated object. Please see our Technical Requirements for Isolated Objects article.
- Always try to shoot the subject in a real environment whenever possible, unless that environment would not be practical/possible in reality (e.g. an astronaut in space)
- All individual elements within a photo manipulation/composite must each also display a high degree of technical and aesthetic quality on their own.
- The underlying photograph or photographic elements must be of high quality and meet all other photo requirements described in our submission guidelines.
- Any added digital graphics must be well designed and executed technically and aesthetically to a high standard.
- Do not submit photos with any added borders or framing.
- Do not repeat/duplicate/clone individual elements multiple times within a photomanipulation or composite, even with minor modifications (e.g. resizing, rotating, flipping).
- When using people/models in a photo manipulation or composite, pay very close attention to their exact pose, facial expression, and where they are looking. Do not submit photos where it seems as if the subject is looking at invisible objects or interacting with them in a false/forced manner.
Examples of acceptable Photomanipulations/Composites for PhotoDune:
Examples of unacceptable Photomanipulations/Composites for PhotoDune:
A collage is a particular type of digital composite where multiple photos have been stitched together in a meaningful way so that as a whole it conveys something more than the individual photos on their own and offers unique value. When submitting a collage, there are few additional things to keep in mind.
- All individual images in a collage must be of acceptable quality
- Each underlying photo must meet our technical quality requirements and should be acceptable on its own.
- All images in a collage must be consistent
- Each should have a consistent and common perspective, composition, styling, and processing.
- For example, don’t submit a collage with five close-ups and one wide shot, or of three black and white and one vintage filtered photo.
- All individual images in a collage must be related and have a cohesive and clear concept.
- Do not submit a collage that is a group of mostly similar images (e.g. alternate takes of the same subject, alternate crops, etc.)
- Do not submit a collage of all of your top selling photos.
- When using borders to visually separate images in a collage, you must only use 100% white borders (do not use black or any other color).
- The spacing/thickness of borders is flexible so long as it is consistent throughout the collage, intentional, and reasonable (e.g. the collage should not have a majority of white-space).
- Do not use any other images, shadows, or graphical elements as borders or backgrounds of a collage (e.g. do not add fake polaroid borders)
- Do not split apart or add additional borders/spacing to adjacent portions of the image that are part of the same photo.
- Using no borders/spacing is also acceptable. Consider what works best for your photos together.
- A collage may be cropped/masked into a meaningful and relevant shape.
- We recommend simple straight/square edges.
- Do not crop or mask your collage or photos in a way that removes a useful part of the photos without providing any unique value or additional skill.
- For example, slightly rounded corners may be okay, but do not mask out your photos into full circles for no real reason.
- Do not add any artificial or altered perspective to your photos that reduce flexibility or does not otherwise provide any unique value or additional skill.
- We recommend only using front-facing perspective for both the individual photos and entire collage.
- Do not skew, tilt, or rotate the entire collage in any way.
- Do not overlap photos in a collage.
- There is no minimum or maximum number of photos for a collage.
- We recommend not using too many photos as it can become too distracting, too cluttered, and confuse the concept.
- Even a collage of 2 photos may be acceptable (e.g. as a before & after concept), however, try to avoid using beyond ten photos unless your concept benefits from the additional images.
- Do not use duplicate or very similar photos in a collage.
- Do not submit collages that are fake piles/stacks of photos or polaroids.
- Do not submit collages that are fake video walls/displays.
- If the collage is not a digital composite, e.g., it’s a photo of a photo collage or pile/stack of polaroids, that’s okay, and it should be submitted as a regular photo.
Examples of acceptable Collages for PhotoDune: