Mar 12, 2024

National Geographic and Hany Farid Discuss Digitally Altered Photos

From National Geographic

It’s harder than ever to identify a manipulated photo. Here’s where to start.

By Allie Yang

After months of speculation about Kate Middleton’s absence from public life, a digitally altered family photo released by Kensington Palace only fanned the flames as eagle-eyed observers identified details like a strange cuff and mismatched zipper. 

Though the Princess of Wales later admitted to editing the photograph, experts say most times you should leave image verification to the pros.

“It’s very easy to go way too far here and suddenly everything is suspicious,” says Hany Farid, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in media forensics. “By eye, you’re not going to be able to figure out what’s real with any reliability whatsoever...”


Hany Farid is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences and the School of Information at UC Berkeley.

Photo of Hany Farid smiling
Hany Farid (photo by Brittany Hosea-Small for the School of Information)

Last updated:

March 13, 2024