Charlotte Observer Photo Correction/Editing Guidelines

Digital photography raises the need to clarify ethical issues regarding the correction and editing of photographs for publication in the Observer. The same principles that have guided us in traditional photojournalism should be the principles that guide us today.

Photo guideline policy

  1. Adjustments to any image will be limited to standard industry “dodging and burning” practices to accurately reflect the scene which was photographed.
  2. No colors will be altered from the original scene photographed. This includes excessive changes in density and saturation levels.
  3. Backgrounds cannot be eliminated (“burned down”) or aggressively toned under any circumstance.
  4. All original digital images must be downloaded into Pix Box for editing or review if necessary. When transmitting on location, original files will be downloaded upon return. All printouts for editing will be from original digital camera files.
  5. Cloning (rubber stamp tool in Photoshop) can only be used as a touch up tool for excessive dust or other imperfections.
  6. All photos prepared for contests will follow the Observer‘s photo correction guidelines and should be toned as originally corrected by the photographer.
  7. Photo illustrations are the only format where our correction guidelines do not need to be followed. The image must clearly be an illustration (not confused with a documentary image) and labeled photo illustration.
  8. Backgrounds of an image will not be dropped out or cloned without the specific approval of a photo editor during the page design process. These images should be bylined as photo illustrations.

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