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4 Tips To Help You Determine If A Photo Has Been Altered

Years ago, a picture could automatically be taken as proof that something happened -- or that an item actually appeared as shown in the image. But thanks to advancements in image altering technology, you can no longer be certain, after just a passing glance, then an image portrays the truth. How do you know if a picture you're looking at is authentic or if it has been altered to show what the photographer wanted to show? Here are four ways to find out.

1. Look for distortions in the background.

Often, when someone alters the foreground of the photo, they cause distortions in the background. These can be corrected, but they are often overlooked because the person editing the photo is so focused on the foreground, rather than the background. These distortions may show up in the form of bent lines, wavy fence lines, warped trees, and the like. Basically, if the background of a photo looks wavy, that photo has probably been edited.

2. Look for even focus.

When you take a picture, the camera focuses on one item. The rest of the picture will be slightly out of focus. If you are viewing an image and everything in that image seems to be on focus, then the photo has probably been altered. Elements of one photo may have been transposed into another photo. In other words, the image just looks too "clear" and perfect to be real.

3. Look for faces that are too smooth.

Very, very few people have perfectly smooth skin with no wrinkles or folds -- even when they are wearing makeup. Look closely at any faces in the photo. If they all look just a bit too smooth, then the image has probably been edited. Pay specific attention to the eyes. An absence of any sort of fold under the eye is a good indicator of editing.

4. Look for repeating patterns.

When editing photos, editors sometimes take one piece of the photo, copy it, and place it in another part of the photo. For instance, they may copy some flowers to cover up an ugly gas can that was sitting in front of the flower bed. Repeated pieces of the image or consistent patterns can indicate that editing has been done.

If you are not sure whether a photo has been altered, there are imaging analysis experts who provide this service for you. They use software and their own eyes to make a determination.