Detect if the Image is Photoshop Fake or not

“A picture is worth thousand words.”

Now imagine, what will happen if this picture is fake or manipulated.

Photoshop is undoubtedly the best photo editing program ever. But like everything useful, Photoshop can also be used with wrong intentions.

The majority of ‘Photoshop fakes’ are harmless. But sometimes, Photoshop can also be used to forge documents and other illegal stuff.

And thanks to Photoshop tutorials on YouTube; Photo manipulation is not just for experts anymore. Anyone can learn the basics of Photoshop in few hours.

But, these newbies often leave traces. We can use these loops and check if the image is photoshop or not. So, let’s see how we can do that.

How to detect Photoshop fake –

1. Look for signs of compression:

When in doubt, whether the image is manipulated or not, you can take help of an online tool called fotoforensic.

Start by uploading the picture on the website. It will run some test on its server and then display a ‘compression heat map’ as an output.

Although they have, their detail guide on how to analyze the compression map. In my opinion: “The area where compression is done, appear brighter than the rest.” So if you see, compression varied, non-uniformly then there might be by chances of manipulation.

This trick is best suited to detect fake documents.

Detect if the image is photoshop fake or not

2. Check Metadata: 

Whenever images are captured or created, information like date, time, camera model and sometimes the editing software, etc. but, are passed on as image’s metadata by default.

Although this information cannot be viewed directly, we can use online image’s metadata viewer to pull up all the metadata.

Check Metadata- to find if the image is photoshop fake or not

If the metadata tells a different story then what the image provider has to say, then it can be a possible case of image manipulation.

However this method is not full proof. Often legit photos have to be manipulated to remove background objects and to make it look better. Therefore if the metadata says, that images was edited using Photoshop then it doesn’t necessary means that it is fake. Moreover if a person can fake a picture, they can easily faked their metadata as well.

3. Look for the shadow:

If the picture consists of some scenery or similar stuff then always look for shadows. It is hardest thing to perfect even for a Photoshop expert. Many newbie forget detailing the shadow intensity and viewing angle. And thus leaving a blind spot to detect if the image is Photoshop or not.

4. Pay attention to the image’s size:

‘Photoshop fake’ are often too big in size as compared to what the average size should have been. This is because, Photoshop work with layers and when an image is heavily Photoshopped, the image size tends to increase from normal.

5. Think:

The best way to detect if the image’s manipulation, is by using common sense. For instance, what do you think, when you see images of ‘Aliens eating sushi in Chinese restaurant’ or ‘giant cobra swallowing adult human’. A Photoshop fake, that’s it.


To find out if an image is ‘Photoshop fake’ or ‘not,’ is simply a question of “who is doing the editing.” For instance, if the editor, is a noob, then he or she will leave enough trail and above mentions methods will be sufficient to detect image manipulation.

However, if the suspect is an expert, then you will also need an expert. And that is why we have people working on photo forensics department.

Also Read: 10 Best Ways to Open and Edit PSD files without Photoshop

About Mrinal Saha

Mrinal is a tech geek who spends half of his day reading and writing about tech. While the nights are spent on shooting or editing YouTube videos. Feel free to geek out with him on-