1. Everybody loves a good fake picture.
Helicopter Shark. A classic.
2. Of course, picture hoaxes were popular long before the internet.
Not actual fairies, no matter what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle thought.
3. But the internet’s taken them to a whole new level.
4. Pictures about shocking and frightening events get shared a lot.
The infamous World Trade Centre “Tourist Guy” was actually a Hungarian man who edited a picture he’d taken years before as a joke for friends.
5. And massive animals always go down well.
That is not, and never was, the world’s biggest dog.
6. You can Photoshop pictures to make the world seem more dramatic.
7. Or to make a political point.
In the original photo, Mitt Romney and his supporters were able to spell his name right.
8. Or just because it looks cool.
Not an island in Ireland - a German castle stuck on top of a Thai rock formation.
9. Or possibly you wish to defame koalas.
Wet koalas are pretty angry, but not that angry.
10. Your Photoshopping doesn’t even need to be that good. People will still buy it.
Not a picture of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami - an altered picture of the Chilean coastline.
11. And the picture doesn’t have to be especially plausible.
Those aren’t the hands of God, emerging in the aftermath of a hurricane. They’re the hands of Goatse.
12. The golden rule: if somewhere has become flooded, you must add sharks.
Sharks did not invade New Jersey’s streets post-Hurricane Sandy. It’s Photoshopped.
15. If you can’t be bothered Photoshopping something yourself, just take a picture from a TV show.
This is not a picture from the crash of Air France flight 447 in 2009. It’s a picture from Lost.
16. Or a film. A film that even used this as a promotional image.
The Day After Tomorrow, not Hurricane Sandy.
17. In fact, you can normally just find a picture of anything vaguely similar and misattribute it.
Also not Sandy - just a thunderstorm from the year before.
These pictures always make good fake hurricanes. They get wheeled out pretty much any time there’s a big one.
They’re actually supercell thunderstorms, which look a lot more interesting than real hurricanes.
18. If there’s a tear-jerking story that can go alongside the picture, so much the better.
The bike is real, but was abandoned in the 1950s - the story of its owner going off to war is fictional.
19. Or an inspiring message always goes down well.
Really a false-colour composite of images taken over the course of a decade, showing how the distribution of light in India changed over time. Which is actually much cooler than the fake caption.
20. Or a jaw-dropping concept - like the idea that this is the Earth, Jupiter and Venus seen by a rover on the surface of Mars.
21. Failing that, nobody ever went wrong with a fabulous owl.
Look, obviously that’s not real.