Young photographers are conflicted about this. They have mentors who are strongly against using apps like Photoshop while there are others who are very lenient with it. As a professional photographer, I think photo manipulation is helpful way for fellow photographers to tell a story.
It also depends on how the photos will be manipulated and for what purpose. For example, when working on a travel magazine, fixing the lighting and enhancing some colors could be helpful. Adding unnecessary “artsy” elements might not represent a place faithfully and may be harmful when it alters important details.
When exhibiting a photo for a creative project and not for reportage, a photographer can do as he or she wishes. Being good at Photoshop can be similar to having skills with drawing and painting. If the photographer’s goal is to go beyond what the lens can produce for art’s sake, then there’s nothing wrong with manipulation.As for retouched photos of people for magazines and advertisements, minimal photo manipulation can be used to lessen the blemishes and add glamour. These materials exist to feature products and personalities. When it misrepresents standards and images, then this raises a concern.
People should be aware that the moment a photo is taken, reality is already being manipulated. A photographer encapsulates a moment and interprets it with his own perspective, making it a reproduction of the past. Manipulation through apps like Photoshop and Lightroom add another layer to this replication. At the end of the day, the photographer and the editors must be responsible for representing extra details. Whether manipulation is helpful or harmful depends on the one fixing the shot.