Do I “Photoshop” my photos? The answer is “of course I do!” I have spent thousands of hours over 15 years or so learning to use Photoshop both creatively and efficiently. Photoshop is basically a bag full of tools named metaphorically after what they do: there are “brushes” to paint with, a “pencil” tool to draw lines and other stuff, a “paint bucket” for flooding an area with color, an “eraser,” etc. There are also “adjustments” that can be applied, and probably the most used by all photographers is the “levels” tool which makes it possible to darken the darks and lighten the lights in a photograph, and in the process get rid of dark or light overall fogginess.
But what most people mean when they ask whether I “Photoshop” my photos is whether I falsify them. The answer to that is “it depends.” For a photograph meant to document a wildflower or family gathering or landscape, I don’t alter the photo to falsify it, but I often alter the photo to emphasize certain colors, de-emphasize other details in the background by darkening them, and removing that “fogginess” that comes from an excess of black or white pixels.
On the other hand, when I am working creatively, I feel I am free to mess around with any aspect of a photo. I like to draw, rearrange things, juxtapose parts, and so on and the process is playful and engaging.