They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, some photos are so astounding that a thousand questions bubble to the surface of our thoughts the moment we see them. In the 21st century, one of the first questions usually is: “Was this photoshopped?”

Whether you think that Photoshop should never be used to edit pictures ever or you believe that it’s an inseparable part of a photographer’s existence in the digital age, the fact is, more and more pictures are being post-processed than ever before. Simply because of how easily accessible cameras and editing software is nowadays. However, once in a blue moon some very intriguing photos pop out from the woodwork. Photos that look photoshopped, but that aren’t.

We love collecting stunning eye-candy for you to gaze at all day long. And today’s no exception. We’ve gathered the finest examples of fascinating pictures that definitely weren’t photoshopped. Grab a cup of tea, coffee, or cocoa, get your scrolling finger ready, and enjoy what our team of hard-working Pandas prepared for you. Upvote your favorite photos, share this post with your buddies, and let us know in the comments what you think of each picture. And check out our previous posts about incredible photos that weren't photoshopped right here and here.

Scroll down for Bored Panda’s exclusive and in-depth interview with professional photographer Anna Chii about the ‘morality’ of editing pictures, her take on ‘all-natural’ photos, her philosophy of photography, what clients usually expect, as well as the importance of trust between a photographer and their clients.

#1

My Friend Just Got This Once In A Lifetime Picture

My Friend Just Got This Once In A Lifetime Picture

nimo4749 Report

Slinkman 1 month ago (edited)

Looks like a giant planet close to earth, like you encounter in sci-fi video-games.

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#2

The Water Also Looks Like An Elephant

The Water Also Looks Like An Elephant

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Danish Dynomummy 1 month ago

Aww, it even has an eye

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#3

Landscape Perfectly Divided By The Rails Of A Fence

Landscape Perfectly Divided By The Rails Of A Fence

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Kala Subramaniam 1 month ago

Looks so cool

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Whether it’s a house almost completely blending into the sky, a dog covered with Holi powder that looks like it’s on fire, or a highway that seems to extend into the heavens, some pictures are able to addle, befuddle, and confuse our senses without needing even a byte of editing software.

Anna Chii talked to Bored Panda about photography, photo-editing, as well as what she thinks of ‘all-natural’ pictures. Bored Panda started off by asking Anna, who has worked with portraits for many years now, to go into detail about how much she and other photographers use editing software to alter pictures.

“Often when people hear the word “Photoshop,” they imagine Instagram girls which make their faces unrecognizable by “photoshopping” them and think that Photoshop is used just for that. Actually, people mistake it with other apps like “Facetune.” Photoshop is a software package for working with digital imagery and is used not only for photography but also for design, video editing, photo manipulations and more,” Anna gave a run down of the basics.

She then continued: “When we talk about photography, there is no single proven way of using this software when it comes to editing pictures. Every single photographer or retoucher has his or her own style, way of editing, or set of skills used for making the final image. That’s why photoshopped pictures can look wildly differently: from waxy or plastic faces to an absolutely natural look. From drastic changes in face or body features to just color corrections. From creating a fantasy world around your subject to simply removing unwanted objects from the background.”

#4

A Forest Service Worker Photographed A Fire Burning Inside A Tree While He's Fighting Western N.C. Wildfires

A Forest Service Worker Photographed A Fire Burning Inside A Tree While He's Fighting Western N.C. Wildfires

Grown_Man_Poops Report

DforDorothy 1 month ago

Sad, but magical!

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#5

The Golden Rays Of The Sunset Entered The Cave At Just The Right Angle To Light Up This Section Of Ice, Making It Look Like Amber

The Golden Rays Of The Sunset Entered The Cave At Just The Right Angle To Light Up This Section Of Ice, Making It Look Like Amber

sarah.bethea Report

Rismee Potter 1 month ago

More like a liquid gold trapped in between ice crystals

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#6

Halfway Sunset

Halfway Sunset

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Koalamonster 1 month ago

Looks like those clouds are creeping across to cover everything in their red color.

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“From personal experience, after many years of learning and experimenting, shooting takes the least amount of time in comparison to the other parts of the process — planning and retouching,” Anna revealed. “I mostly take portraits. Usually, my clients are not professional models with heavy makeup, which covers all of their imperfections and barely requires any retouching. My models are people who want to have lovely pictures of themselves, who want to portray their lives and experience fun time while freezing those moments – without pressure or fear of being imperfect.”

According to Anna, she retouches her pictures every single time. “I do believe that my clients need to get the best result they can get. And making a regular picture great requires not only taking pictures correctly from a technical point of view, but also adding some magic to each and every one of them.”

“And it’s not about changing features, or making people look perfect and not representative of the way they look in real life,” she went on. “It’s about the small details, which make the photo stand out without making it look unrealistic. It’s about colors and lighting. About mood. Every person that I shoot has their own story and a unique aura. I want to make my pictures reflect the feeling I get when being with the person and share it throughout the final image. And it can take from half an hour to a couple of hours per image. Depends on the emotion I want to portray in the final picture.”

#7

Me And My Girlfriend Were Walking In The Woods The Other Week And Saw A Rainbow Pool For The First Time

Me And My Girlfriend Were Walking In The Woods The Other Week And Saw A Rainbow Pool For The First Time

brentenross Report

A B C 1 month ago

Found on bbc.com: Jeff Ripple, a former Florida swamp walk leader, told the BBC: "The rainbow sheens found as a thin film on top of pooled water in swamps and marshes are the result of natural oils released by decaying vegetation or the biological processes of anaerobic bacteria reducing iron in soil."

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#8

This Spot On I-80 In Wyoming Is Known As The Highway To Heaven

This Spot On I-80 In Wyoming Is Known As The Highway To Heaven

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Toujin C'Thlu 1 month ago

Nice that Heaven allows visitors now

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#9

My Drive In To Work This Morning (I-90 In The Berkshire Mountains, MA)

My Drive In To Work This Morning (I-90 In The Berkshire Mountains, MA)

the-crooked-compass Report

EpicFangirl 1 month ago

its so beautiful and serene... i love how it just looks so perfect with the snow

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Anna the photographer also talked to Bored Panda about how ‘all-natural’ pictures can compete with heavily photoshopped images. “We need to define what kind of photography we are talking about and what are “heavily photoshopped” pictures. If we are talking about portraits, I do believe that If you have a great team (assistant, makeup artist, hairdresser, stylist), you have a beautiful location with the lighting set up correctly, you have a model with clear skin and everything is under your control, then you can take really good pictures and editing could be almost unnecessary.”

“But usually, you don’t have all the people and props which could help to create a great image. When you work alone, sometimes mistakes slip past the cracks as you need to cover many areas during the photo shoot,” she noted that everyone makes mistakes and that no photographer is perfect.

“For me, Photoshop is not about changing the person in the picture, but about enhancing the quality of the picture. Correcting shadows and lighting, enhancing colors, correcting small details like wrinkles on clothes or makeup makes a huge difference. It can be done with the help of professionals — makeup artists, assistants, stylists. Before and during the shoot they will correct makeup, clothes, hair, hold a reflector for better light. And it can also be done during post-production in Photoshop. Almost the same result, simply a different way of achieving it. Producing a quality photograph requires time and effort. So Photoshop is not an easy way to get beautiful pictures with just a few clicks of a mouse.”

#10

Perfect Timing

Perfect Timing

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DforDorothy 1 month ago

The eagle is taking pictures of you,taking pictures of him.

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#11

This Window That Makes My Back Yard Look Like It’s In 4 Different Seasons

This Window That Makes My Back Yard Look Like It’s In 4 Different Seasons

pommiegurl130 Report

Samantha Lomb 1 month ago

I see winter spring summer and fall

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#12

My Boy Climbing An Old Rotten Tree Stump Looks Like A Giant Climbing Mountains

My Boy Climbing An Old Rotten Tree Stump Looks Like A Giant Climbing Mountains

AidenAsh15 Report

Koalamonster 1 month ago

Love this. Obviously Rick Moranis was involved.

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What’s more, Bored Panda was interested to hear what Anna thinks of photography purists who detest any use of editing software and want everything to be ‘natural.’ According to her, a lot depends on an individual’s perspective and how they perceive the purpose of a specific picture.

“The purpose of a picture can be very different. Photos are like a form of art, images for advertising, family pictures, nature, product posters and many other genres. All of them serve a different purpose. The viewer should also have critical thinking while looking at the images and understand the nuance and the nature of the photos in question.”

“People have different beliefs on every subject possible. Some think girls with makeup are unnatural, some think it makes them prettier and more feminine. Same goes for photography. I think it’s a really lovely thing to have something you do like as well as something you don’t like about the final images.”

The photographer continued: “If you like pictures without Photoshop and want to have a photo shoot for yourself — that’s great. Find a photographer that takes “natural pictures” and hire her/him. And yet, I don’t believe that, if they are professionals, they will give you a photo without any (at least slight) retouching. Maybe the picture will look natural, but will it really be, is a different question (unless all a photographer cares about is to get the money and get rid of the client as fast as possible).”

#13

Rosie Caught The Sunlight Just Right. She Was Sitting At The Curb Edge With The Sun Setting Just Under The Car. One Hell Of A Cool Effect

Rosie Caught The Sunlight Just Right. She Was Sitting At The Curb Edge With The Sun Setting Just Under The Car. One Hell Of A Cool Effect

Itsmeerl Report

frank0ys 1 month ago

...She's got a quest for you.

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#14

The Pole In This Picture Makes It Look Like Two Different Pictures

The Pole In This Picture Makes It Look Like Two Different Pictures

morphdarko Report

Boredtomuch 1 month ago

I thought they were two different pictures!!

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#15

The Dog Is Covered With Holi Powder, Looks Like He's On Fire

The Dog Is Covered With Holi Powder, Looks Like He's On Fire

the_malociraptor Report

Daniel Lewis 1 month ago

It's a hot dog.

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“As time passes in your photography journey, you want to take better pictures and improve the quality of your work. And for that you need to learn new techniques. And get new skills. Including Photoshop. I think, if a photographer has good Photoshop skills, it’s only a plus,” Anna said without any reservations.

“But you can’t produce good photographs if you can’t take good photographs. Photoshop won’t help you create a good picture out of a terrible shot. If you don’t know how to use Photoshop, probably it will end up being the opposite. You can make a picture even worse than it was before. But if the photograph itself is good, then Photoshop can enhance it and make it a little bit better in a different way — depends on the goal.”

“I believe that the best way to get natural, unretouched picture is to shoot on good old film. Film cameras take lovely pictures. And it’s so fun to make. I would say, film cameras have a certain magic about them,” Anna exclaimed that sometimes old cameras are the best. “After all, it’s all about your preferences. There is no good or bad photography. There are just the photos which you like and the ones you don’t. Remember, you are the one who chooses the photographer for your own photo shoot. So talk with a potential photographer, look at his/her work and decide if the style, mood, colors, outcome, attitude are the ones you would like to see in your pictures. And trust. Trust and believe in your photographer.”

#16

6 Years Ago I Posted My Wife's Eye That Her Doctor Told Her Was The Weirdest He'd Ever Seen. Since Then My Photography's Improved Quite A Bit, So Here's A New Pic I Took A Couple Days Ago

6 Years Ago I Posted My Wife's Eye That Her Doctor Told Her Was The Weirdest He'd Ever Seen. Since Then My Photography's Improved Quite A Bit, So Here's A New Pic I Took A Couple Days Ago

AlwaysSpinClockwise Report

Daniel Lewis 1 month ago

What planet is she from?

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#17

In Cute Cat News, My Mom Put Up An Easter Decal On Our Front Door And It Makes Gigi Look Like A Dr. Seuss Character

In Cute Cat News, My Mom Put Up An Easter Decal On Our Front Door And It Makes Gigi Look Like A Dr. Seuss Character

drewsoulman Report

BusLady 1 month ago

Kitty has no clue how beautiful she is.

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#18

This Black Car Looks Like A Mirror After Being Washed

This Black Car Looks Like A Mirror After Being Washed

Tittzo Report

Mihran Hovnanian 1 month ago

Took me a minute to understand where the car was !!

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The Wall Street Journal writes that social media and editing tools have altered the landscape of photojournalism. Sometimes, people are accused of digital manipulation even if the picture is genuine and unaltered. For example, when Tamina-Florentine Zuch won an international contest with a picture of a woman in the open door of a Mumbai train, some online critics accused her of having composited the image and doctoring the photos.

The use of Photoshop and other digital editing programs has been compared, by some, to doping in sports competitions. Some recent photography contests have been tarred by accusations of cheating and using digital tools to enhance photos in order to snag top prizes. It’s a good thing that not all accusations are true and that there are plenty of pictures that look so amazing that people think they’re photoshopped.

#19

This Photographer Was Probably Excited

This Photographer Was Probably Excited

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Koalamonster 1 month ago

What a great shot!! (Ha.)

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#20

The Black-And-White Costume Was The Best One I Have Ever Seen. No Masking... Honest

The Black-And-White Costume Was The Best One I Have Ever Seen. No Masking... Honest

Andy Thomas Report

Koalamonster 1 month ago

That's so cool! You can see a SMALL spot where makeup has rubbed off her neck- which I kind of like because it shows definitively that it's a real image. That dedication to looking awesome.

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#21

These Burnout Marks Look 3D

These Burnout Marks Look 3D

Zevyn Report

Monika Soffronow 1 month ago

They are acceleration marks. Back to the future, anyone?

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#22

This Photo From Inside A Tent Looks Like Photoshop Trick

This Photo From Inside A Tent Looks Like Photoshop Trick

Ingelo8Jean Report

Koalamonster 1 month ago

It fits look like it could've just been put over the image. Nice view to wake up to though.

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#23

The Way My Closet Separates This Light

The Way My Closet Separates This Light

weepysplash Report

Kaan Öner 1 month ago

rgb components in "white" led bulbs have little offsets between them which causes this divergence

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#24

This Viaduct In South England, UK

This Viaduct In South England, UK

naypenrai Report

Koalamonster 1 month ago

That's an amazing structure. Can't imagine how massive it seems when you're there.

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#25

The Frost On The Fence This Morning

The Frost On The Fence This Morning

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European other 1 month ago

Looks furry

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#26

This Cow Eating Grass

This Cow Eating Grass

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HC 1 month ago

This is where Skinny Cow ice cream comes from.

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#27

Very Clear Water In Sweden

Very Clear Water In Sweden

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European other 1 month ago

What water ?

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#28

World's Tallest Tram

World's Tallest Tram

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#29

Perfectly Timed

Perfectly Timed

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Daniel Lewis 1 month ago

It's the new typeface called Fountain Water.

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#30

The Rain Turned Our Yard Into A Van Gogh Painting

The Rain Turned Our Yard Into A Van Gogh Painting

ericb303 Report

Sue Grigg 1 month ago

Pretty !

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#31

Wasp On The Water Surface

Wasp On The Water Surface

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Ben Smith 1 month ago

So that’s how they do it!!

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#32

This Falling Clock That Took The Wall With It

This Falling Clock That Took The Wall With It

i_was_a_lemur_once Report

Colin Leetham 1 month ago

That took time.... oh.

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#33

These Teacups Look Like They Have Little Holes In Them

These Teacups Look Like They Have Little Holes In Them

UncannyDonuts Report

Koalamonster 1 month ago

I love those and I want them.

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#34

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Starlings Migrating Across The Region Covered The Skies Of Rome Making It Appear Like TV Static

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Starlings Migrating Across The Region Covered The Skies Of Rome Making It Appear Like TV Static

MrRubberBurner Report

Koalamonster 1 month ago

Really cool image- but also looks like one of my actual nightmares.

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#35

Russia Hasn't Got Anything On The Monterrey Stadium In Mexico

Russia Hasn't Got Anything On The Monterrey Stadium In Mexico

beachdogs Report

Edan Min 1 month ago

You can watch the match for free if you're willing to hike hehe

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#36

We Recently Had A Storm In Germany

We Recently Had A Storm In Germany

mybliss Report

Stimpy 1 month ago

If the car were on it's side too, that would be exactly how a small kid would paint the scene

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#37

This Unicorn Picture Is Different In The Mirror

This Unicorn Picture Is Different In The Mirror

scsilly Report

PandaPiñata 1 month ago

A 3D Lenticular Poster is my guess.

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#38

The Way My Cup Broke

The Way My Cup Broke

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Daniel Lewis 1 month ago

You can still use it.

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#39

Waterfowl Lake In Banff National Park, Alberta / Canada

Waterfowl Lake In Banff National Park, Alberta / Canada

ANJCI ALL OVER Report

Colin Leetham 1 month ago

Too many skylines!

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#40

The Paint On This Building Is The Same Shade As The Sky

The Paint On This Building Is The Same Shade As The Sky

pachew96 Report

BusLady 1 month ago

Soon to be completely invisible.

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#41

The Reflection Of The Light On My Coffee Looks Like A Glowing Castle

The Reflection Of The Light On My Coffee Looks Like A Glowing Castle

MadnessDreamer Report

EpicFangirl 1 month ago

that actually does looked photo shopped XD its so cool how that real tho

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#42

Standing In A Huge Pond That Sinks Every Dry Season

Standing In A Huge Pond That Sinks Every Dry Season

bradyboh Report

Koalamonster 1 month ago

I've seen this before but it's still impressive. Such a clean line.

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#43

This Photo I Took Of Fog Over A Lake Makes This Warning Sign Look Like It Is Surrounded By Nothingness

This Photo I Took Of Fog Over A Lake Makes This Warning Sign Look Like It Is Surrounded By Nothingness

N_O_A_H Report

Rob Lucchetti 1 month ago

Creep-o-rific!

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#44

Levitating Horse

Levitating Horse

ConsciousCamel Report

Colin Leetham 1 month ago

UFH: Unidentified Flying Horse.

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#45

Simple Yet Creative

Simple Yet Creative

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BusLady 1 month ago

I had to tilt the picture to see what was going on here.

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Note: this post originally had 146 images. It’s been shortened to the top 45 images based on user votes.