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I think there is a good chance that a new word or phrase has been coined to mean fake photograph.

Is there a single word to express it?

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Altered is a good term that doesn't imply negative intent. –  Jarrod Roberson Jun 27 '12 at 14:03
    
I think there's a good chance Thale already knew the verb to photoshop, and simply wondered if there was a corresponding derived single-word term for a photoshopped image. –  FumbleFingers Jan 22 '13 at 23:51
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@FumbleFingers Is photoshop relevant to all photo image manipulation? There are other digital applications capable of digital image manipulation besides photoshop. What about image manipulation on non digital imagery? Photoshop is an overused and often incorrectly used term. –  spiceyokooko Jan 23 '13 at 0:09
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@FumbleFingers Well that's my point, according to OED, it would not be a photoshopped image if produced by another digital editing program: Photoshop, v. To edit, manipulate, or alter (a photographic image) digitally using Photoshop image-editing software. You probably think I'm being pedantic, but this site is supposedly about correct English word usage, so I'm being no more pedantic than anyone else here. Either a word is correctly used or it is not. –  spiceyokooko Jan 23 '13 at 12:12
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@FumbleFingers Image manipulation on non digital imagery is exactly what it says it is - it's photographic retouching on a non digital image, in other words a conventional photograph. If you were referring to a photograph that was modified/retouched in the 1960's before Adobe Photoshop was invented, you would not claim it had been photoshopped would you? –  spiceyokooko Jan 23 '13 at 12:16

9 Answers 9

up vote 50 down vote accepted

You can say that the photograph has been doctored if it was changed to deceive people.

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Normally if a photograph has been faked it is said to have been Photoshopped, or called a Photoshop, after the popular image editing software.

Sometimes this is shortened to shopped or shop, as in:

That photo's a shop [or been shopped], I can see the pixels!!1

More general terms include forgery, counterfeit and of course fake.

enter image description here

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I've heard people use the same phrase used for plastic surgery, i.e, 'It's had a little work done.' –  John Lawler Jun 26 '12 at 22:17
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The term "shop" has morphed even further into shoop. –  MT_Head Jun 26 '12 at 22:43
    
@MT_Head shoop de woop! –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jun 26 '12 at 22:50
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"shopped" is too casual a word. I would simply go with "illegitimate." –  ak84 Jun 27 '12 at 4:23
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I think "photoshopped" and its derivatives are slang technical terms. I think they should be avoided unless its clear that the listener understands them. –  Nick Jun 27 '12 at 5:49

It would be perfectly legitimate to say such a photo was a forgery.

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Forgery requires intent to deceive –  Bulwersator Jun 28 '12 at 6:45

CG is a term that could be used for a created (or faked) photo. It is short for a computer-generated image. "CG" is not exactly equivalent to "fake," but CGs are often contrasted with "real photos."

This is an interesting site that lets you guess if a series of photos are real or CG: http://area.autodesk.com/fakeorfoto (I was so-so at the challenge.)

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This doesn't seem to be an answer to the question asked, and may therefore be better as a comment. –  Christi Jun 26 '12 at 23:31
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@Christi, CG is a term for a created (or fake) photo. I will edit my answer to say that, I guess. –  JLG Jun 27 '12 at 1:33
    
The link to the site is down. Could you provide a new one? –  Epitorial Feb 3 '13 at 16:25
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@Epitorial, I have done so. –  JLG Feb 4 '13 at 17:28

It can be a

  1. Staged photograph (To imply the things going on in the photographs have been planned)
  2. Manipulated Image
  3. Digital Manipulation
  4. Edited in Post
  5. Photoshoped
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I've personally never came across a fake photograph, unless somebody was a really excellent painter, drawer, etc... –  Mallow Jun 27 '12 at 2:35

A snarky coined term that I have seen is "fauxtograph" (pronounced the same way as "photograph"). Similar terms are "fauxtography" and "fauxtoshopped". This is a jeu de mot with the French word "faux", meaning "false".

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These are nice terms, but unfortunately I would think they only work when written; when spoken they would sound too similar to the originals. –  Adam V Jun 28 '12 at 15:34

It's strange, that no one has mentioned hoax yet. It's a bit broader term, because it is not used to describe photographs only.

More about the term here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoax

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Instagram/Instagramming is another - "aura" enhancing - form of photo manipulation.

In old days, it was airbrushing. "Just airbrush the b------ out" a famous movie actress once told a fashion photographer who didn't know what to do with a photo that included her and her husband (a Pepsi executive) who had recently died. But even in the 19c clouds were "burned into" otherwise eggshell white skies. Red, blue or green filters were used to soften or roughen the appearance of skin.

"Digitally manipulated" as above, "post-processed" or "photomontaged".

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The technical term is retouched.

From Oxford English Dictionary:

retouch, v

To improve or repair the appearance of (a painting, composition, photographic negative or print, etc.) by small alterations or fresh touches; to touch up.

In use:

1979 N. Farah Sweet Sour Milk v. 78 There was the photograph of the All-Powerful retouched to make him look much younger and handsomer.

In general usage (particularly within the print industry) the original meaning has been expanded to include photographic prints or negatives that have been significantly altered or changed from the original to constitute a fake photograph. A fake is clearly defined as having been manipulated to represent something that is not real.

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