Photo Forensics: How to Tell if a Photo’s Been Faked


Seen this 1940’s photo floating around the net with a “time-traveler” seemingly sporting an SLR, shades, and NIN t-shirt? Wondered if it’s real? So did we.

So, we decided to turn to photo forensics: the Error Level Analyzer!

Slip a photo URL into the Analyzer, and like a CSI computer, it instantly highlights possible alterations. Turns out our time traveler’s legit — there are no distinctive color differences. (Here’s the full story.)

Try this shark-meets-helicopter photo though, and the sharks show up pink and white. This photo’s been ‘shopped!

How does it work? The analyzer looks for decreases in the quality of a jpeg that happen every time you save it. Those areas are most likely to contain edits.

Sleuth away! Analyze internet photos that you’ve always wondered about: time traveler pics, anti-gravity photos, or fashion spreads.

Extras: Check out photo tampering through history and the Cottingley Fairies Hoax.

The Error Level Analyzer
[via Forgetomori]

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Posted in Guides, Post-Processing