I am frequently asked about the term "photo manipulation." People look at the fine art prints of my photography and think they are ink drawings, or watercolors - anything but photography.
"The Enola at Paris Landing" is frequently mistaken for an ink drawing, but it is actually an artistically manipulated digital photograph.
"The Well House at Paris Winery" is mistaken for a watercolor because of it's painterly look, but it is actually a digital photograph.
The "digital" part is easy. It's digital photography instead of photography using film. Film photography can also be converted to digital. When you scan a photograph into your computer, it becomes digital. Artwork, such as watercolors, ink drawings, paintings of any sort can also be converted to digital by scanning them or photographing them and then scanning the photograph.
You probably see manipulated images all the time on the covers of magazines, particularly fashion magazines. Photo manipulation is also known as "photoshopping."
Per Wikipedia: 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 examples. 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 from which it originated. Today, photo manipulation is widely accepted as an art form. For more of this article visit Wikipedia here.
In my case I use different filters, adjustments, colors, etc. to alter the image. Just as an oil painter looks at a scene and uses oil paints and brushes on canvas to create an artistic interpretation of that scene, I use Photoshop and eventually print my finished interpretation of the scene on archival paper with archival inks.
Perhaps these before and after samples will help.
An original, untouched, digital photo of one of the fishing piers at Paris Landing State Park. I became obsessed with these piers a few years back. You can see at lot of them here.
This was my first interpretation of the scene - reved up the drama with some filters, enhanced details and color, and borrowed some clouds from another one of my photos. I take lots of photos of just
clouds just for scenes like this. I like it okay, but it just didn't have the look I wanted. So ....
In "Pier 2, Image A"
I took out the clouds, reversed the colors, played with the colors a lot and finally arrived at a much more dramatic and artistic impression of the scene.
On the lighter side, photo manipulation can be used for fun.
Like taking a cute photo and making it 4 times as much fun.
Or creating a memorable collage.
Or to create photos of your friends whacking giant golf balls.
You can click on any of these images to get a larger view.