We are aware that the purists amongst transport photographers want to capture a vehicle and scene on electronic media and also previously on film exactly as they first saw it.
We have always tried to get the best image that we can and in 35mm film days had the processing house enhance images if they needed it.
Now with digital media it is much easier to get the ideal image. We don’t go overboard but at times will get vehicles moved around into the best position for lighting - it’s not always possible but we do our best.
Most of our editing is done in Photoshop and we try and restrict it to removing unsightly items that distract and lead the eye away from the intended image. These can be foreground shadows, harsh road markings, damaged road surfaces and the dreaded lamp post and pylon sticking out the tops of vehicles.
The two images below are the original, straight out the camera image, and the version that has been edited. We know which one we would like to look at but recognise that you might not agree.
However, there are times when it might be necessary to manipulate an image to serve a particular purpose or product launch. One such example we worked on many years ago was the launch of a fleet of upgraded vehicles for the Virgin Trains VT99 Milton Keynes Rail Station to Luton Airport service, which was operated from Stagecoach’s Bedford depot. The launch photoshoot was done at Shuttleworth and yes, the plane had to a be added afterwards but I’m sure you will appreciate that in this case it adds to the image.
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.