photo manipulation

media ethics

photo manipulation

media ethics

Photo Manipulation

Photojournalist are well aware of how important a great photo becomes for the media industries; an influential photo could potentially make greater ROI for any magazines, newspaper, or sales of products, thus, it becomes very appealing to make use of the many digital skills and techniques acquired in order to maximize the potential of a photo.

Photojournalists have to deal on a regular basis with ethical decision making about the manipulation of photographs that could create controversy or negatively impact their job.  So “How much manipulation is too much? Probably, just simple manipulation should not pose an ethical concern, like correcting colors or lighting. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is that reporting is all about the truth, and too much manipulation will be deceiving to the audience; improving the smile of someone, by tooth whitening might be “safe”, however, adding things to a photo that weren’t actually there or correcting the skin tone of a person will certainly be considered too much, or even racial bias. 

Always keep in mind the following principles of media ethics: 

principles of media ethics:

Ethical Principles and Decision making

Code of Ethics


An ethical decision should be explainable to others in a way they will appreciate, regardless of wether they accept it. Ethics is the way make choices between competing moral principles.

  • Seek truth and report it as fully as possible.
  • Act independently. 
  • Minimize harm.

What Constitutes Ethical Behavior?


The though ethical decisions are not between right and wrong but rather "What do you do when nothing seems right? We shouldn't ask, "How this affect me? behind this veil, everyone is equal. Make decisions without questioning if the subjects were powerful or powerless, rich or poor, black or white, male or female.

Ethical Decision Making


  1. Consult your conscience, How do you feel about the action?
  2. Seek alternatives, is there another way to achieve the same goal? 
  3. Ask yourself "How will my actions affect others? Discuss the issue involved from the points of view of each of the people whom it will affect. 

Our Team

Elaisa Acosta, Communication Strategist

Elaisa is the founder of our team. She is our lead communications specialist and will be advising you on the most efficient ways to reach a your audience maintaining an ethical and persuasive communication.


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Hanson, Ralph E. Mass Communication: Living in a Media World. 6th ed., Sage, 2019.