Photography is, more often than not, a subjective tool for capturing and seeing an objective world. This means that some degree of photo manipulation is bound to happen. Whether it’s physically altering the scene or using digital tools, it remains a tricky topic of discussion. There are no hard and fast rules and yet, many photographers often find themselves uneasy when quizzed about it. It may be an even more puzzling topic for beginners who may be wondering if and when it’s ever acceptable.

In his insightful video above, Orange County, CA photographer and instructor Nick Carver gives his own personal and professional take on photo manipulation. When is it acceptable and even expected? When does it make a photo or the photographer lose credibility? When does your own artistic integrity come into the picture? He also gives some specific examples to illustrate his points on photo manipulation and explain why it is frowned upon in specific genres. However, his goal is not to impose his beliefs, but to help fellow photographers formulate their own.