What we see is what you get: Our rules on photo manipulation

Updated 12/2/2019 9:45 AM

If you see a photo in the Daily Herald, you can rest assured that, yes, whatever you're looking at is just what the photographer saw.

Clearly-identified photo illustrations aside, what you see is what happened and how it looked through the viewfinder.


We take the authenticity of our photography very seriously. Saturating a photo with too much color to create a dramatic effect is like making up a source in a story.

We. Don't. Do. It.

We have a photo manipulation and ethics policy that states the only changes one can make to an image in Photoshop or any other photo editing software is to make the photo look as much like it did at the time the subject was photographed.

This can include minimal burning and dodging and exposure and white balance adjustments.

We will never add content to or remove content from an image that was there when the image was made. We crop, of course, but we will never, say, remove a distracting pole from someone's head.

For sensitivity reasons, we may digitally obscure a license plate or an address from an image. But if we do that, it will be noticeable that we are doing so, and it will be noted in the caption.

We will not set up a photo to make it look like something is happening that is not. Our mission is to capture real moments as they happen. We have award-winning photojournalists with sophisticated cameras that can stop action or isolate subjects the way your cellphone's camera cannot.

Our readers have to know that what they are seeing is a real and truthful moment. If we create a photo and pass it off as a real moment, you will never have confidence that any image -- or story -- we publish is real.

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