How often has it been said ‘you’ve Photoshopped’ that image, often the opposite is true but hang on a minute what is ‘Photoshop’. A digital darkroom, yes you can do a lot with this program but the basics come from the the days of film and the darkroom
Before Photoshop in days gone by there were numerous photo manipulation techniques such as dodging and burning, vibrating while exposing, scratching the negatives, blurring, airbrushing, painting the negatives, coloring, etc [more about them here]. The photographers used photo-montage, or combination printing to manipulate records of historical events or to create painting-like imagery.
Photographers manipulated negatives using a double-exposure method or by piecing photos or negatives together. They apply bleaching to artfully lighten or totally wash-out parts of the photograph. They also used hand coloring for fine art painting.
Photographers used many tools for image manipulation such as magnifying glass, pastes, ink, cotton, light, cutter, palettes, opaque paints, brushes, eraser, charcoals, scale, etc. These form the very basics of ‘Photoshop’ so the next time says ‘its been Photoshopped’ you can tell them!
As for myself yes I use photoshop but only normally to remove the odd blemish, sensor dust. On the very rare occasion like in the photograph below there were too many distractions in the image so I removed nine items. Why, simple so the viewer can immerse themselves in the scene before them.
There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.
Ansel Adams 1902 — 1984