Everything from the popular Farting Santa to fake Lottery Ticket stocking stuffers.

Techniques of Fakery
There are six basic techniques of faking a photo, none of which are mutually exclusive.

1: Inserting details. This includes placing an element from one photo into another to create a composite image, reproducing a detail of the photo by cloning it, superimposing an image onto another, or drawing-in details.

2: Deleting details. This is usually done by extending background elements over the unwanted detail. Or one can crop out the unwanted detail.

3: Manipulating elements within the photo. For instance, one can adjust the color, resize details, or rotate or move details.

4: falsifying the caption. (In a sense, every fake photo has been falsely captioned.)

5: Staging the scene. This is considered fakery particularly when it occurs in photojournalism. Varieties of staging a scene include using models and cutouts and inserting a prop into the scene.

6: Taking a photo at a trick angle. The most common example of this is the use of forced perspective.


Time Periods
hoax photo database

Thumbnail Gallery: Present-1840
The Hoax Photo Database catalogs examples of photo fakery throughout the history of photography. Included in the database are photos that are "real," but which have been suspected of being fake, as well as images whose veracity remains undetermined. The images are listed here in reverse-chronological order (you can also view them in chronological order, 1840 to the present). They are categorized by theme, technique of fakery, and time period. Other Viewing Options: Full Text Mode: Present-1840 or 1840-Present

Hand with no thumb
Fake (composite)
Found on the internet, June 2008

“Not What You Want To See”
Fake (composite and false caption)
Circulating online since early 2008

Charlton Heston’s Home Gun Collection
Real pictures, false caption
Apr 2008

Barack Obama Smoking
Fake (composite)
Circulating online since early 2008

Vote for Dean Hrbacek
Fake (composite)
January 2008

Paper Tiger
Fake (staged with paper cut-out)
October 3, 2007

Sarkozy’s Disappearing Love Handles
Digitally altered
August 2007

Giant Tomatoes
Forced perspective
Feb 2007

Suicidal Teens Welcome
Fake (composite)
Found on the internet, early 2007

Oscar Mayer Wiener Jet


Hercules, the World’s Biggest Dog


Katie Couric Slimmed Down
Fake (digital plastic surgery)
September 2006

Fake Smoke Over Beirut
Fake (cloned-in details)
August 5, 2006

“Qinghai-Tibet railway opens green passage for wildlife”
Fake (composite)
Published in 2006. Debunked in 2008.

Holiday Greetings, from Spain’s Royal Family
Fake (composite)
December 2005

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