Photographs are blended with emotions & iconic moments and can be seen as small pieces of a jigsaw that complete the wider picture of our thoughts. If a picture expresses millions of thoughts, would photo manipulation enhance it or deteriorate it? While some consider it to be an art form, for others it may be glorified fakery. But no one can deny that photo manipulation is a very useful and creative process. It is basically a collaboration between photography and graphic design.

To better understand the technique, we talked to some of the experienced professionals. Ted Chin was one of them, a skilled photo manipulator who aims “to turn impossible thoughts into realistic photos”. He retrieves spark from dreams, nightmares and day-to-day living and brings them to life. His photographs seem to stem from another world where everything is possible. We came up with a list of hacks for photography manipulation that could give a realistic view of an unreal scenario.

Learn to work with photographs in this Post-processing workshop by Arun Kumar

photo manipulation

Photograph by: Ted Chin

1. Work with stock images

After you have finalized your idea, work with a pen and paper to sketch the design. Decide where the stock images will go and the kind of images you need, then work towards the composition. Pick a picture which is fine and sharp and the one which would provide you with all the angles.

photo manipulation

Photo by: Arun Kumar

2. Pick the right resolution

Thinking of combining photos from several different sources and the possibilities that the final piece may appear distorted or blurry?
To avoid this it is very important to choose pictures of high resolution, as it makes the task easier and provides you with better results. Also, keep in mind that the images you choose for manipulation should have a similar resolution so that it blends well.

Photo by: Ted Chin

3. Light and shadow

One of the most important things about photo composition is that you have to figure out where the light falls from. Make sure the lighting of your images matches. According to the lighting of the background image, figure out photos that would match the same light source so that you can use them together. For creating shadow you need to duplicate the original image that you need for the shadow, convert it to black and add some Gaussian blur and resize it. Manipulating the shadows and colors makes the picture look more real.

photo manipulation

Photo by: Ted Chin

4. Grasp the correct proportion

The proportion is one of the most important things a person has to understand while working on photography manipulation. To get a realistic proportion is an important factor.

5. Use appropriate Texture

Adding a high level of texture provides the required details and adds to the depth of your art. If you chose a photo that is dark you can use a rough ground surface as a background texture. It helps in blending the images evenly.

6. Colour Blending

It is not necessary that every image would match your background. Opt for color blending which either gives a certain image boost or takes away the extra color making it a coherent work of art. You can use photoshop photo filters or gradient maps to manipulate colors.

photography manipulation

Picture By: Ted Chin

7. Learn to Dodge and Burn

It usually contributes to the fun and fantasy mood of photography manipulation. It styles your image with extra vibrant colors and providing highlights and deep shadow areas. One can use this technique to affect the shadows, mid-tones, or highlights. While doing this you can even out skin tones, darken or lighten one part of image or dodge shadows to get an even better effect.

8. Accentuate the details

While portraying an idea, remember the place where you want to draw the viewer’s attention. Make it sharper and clearly approachable by emphasizing its colors and sharpness.

9. Consider your Actions

Actions have the potential to induce a very complex effect much more quickly than by manually creating the effect. Through some recording of filter and layers of operation, effects can be achieved. It is a very crucial part of your photograph as it has the ability to bring life to your photo.

photo manipulation

Photo by: Arun Kumar

Learn to work with photographs in this Post-processing workshop by Arun Kumar

Lights Camera Action!

Somebody rightly said – ‘Practice makes a man perfect.’
Photography manipulation requires a lot of labor, practice and constant effort to build up superior skills. So keep yourself inspired and keep practicing.

photography manipulation

Picture By: Ted Chin




Written By: Ted Chin

A skilled photo manipulator who aims to turn impossible thoughts into realistic photos, Ted Chin pulls inspiration from dreams, nightmares, and everyday life and brings them to life with wild images that teeter on the edge of reality.


  • Article writing is also a excitement, if you be familiar
    with then you can write otherwise it is complex to write.

  • Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thanks for supplying these details.


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