Photos are the perfect way to capture moments or send messages across. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but they can be even more powerful and engaging by going through post-production processing or editing.
Editing images can be subjective and up to the prerogative of the photographer. After all, photography is an art. However, there are times when instead of making a shot stand out, it makes a turn for the worse because of photo editing booboos. Here are five of the most common ones.
1. Applying edits to the original file
When it comes to photo editing, it always pays to be risk-averse and make enough wiggle room should you commit a mistake along the way. That’s why it’s highly recommended to create a backup file of your raw images.
However, it’s surprising to know that some photographers apply their edits on the original file and never create a separate folder for raw duplicates. If that’s the case, what will happen if your client didn’t approve of your initial edits and want to have a completely different feel for the image?
Apart from that, having a separate file folder for raw images will allow you to look back on previous works and see how you can improve in the future. Also, it provides a buffer should your current hard drive or computer suddenly crash in the middle of an ongoing project.
2. Too much cropping
Before you crop an image, you need to know how and where it’s going to be used. Yes, you have a creative vision for it, but it pays to know what your client wants first just to be sure that what you have in mind goes well with the look that they’re trying to achieve.
3. Going overboard with skin smoothing, saturation, and sharpening
Most of the time, tweaks that are applied in photo editing are for improving the skin, saturation, and sharpness. However, you should also avoid going overboard with these adjustments.
Skin smoothing is not about making your subject look like plastic. Real skin has texture, lines, highlights, shadows and even blemishes and it’s not your job to make these totally disappear.
Adjusting the saturation can make the colors of your image pop. However, overdoing it can lead to loss of details and a blowout of colors. It should be about creating a balance between wanting your image to standout and retaining the factors that make it naturally look beautiful such as light and color.
Sharpening is done to enhance the focus and other details of an image, but overdoing it may result in a photo that looks too digital and unnatural. It’s also important to note that sharpening is not the solution to an unfocused image.
4. Thinking Bokeh can be achieved in post-production
Bokeh or the aesthetic blur coming from out-of-focus parts of an image can evoke an emotion or amplify the look of an image. However, it requires the right type of lens and technique to achieve this. If you simply try to make a Bokeh happen during post-production, you are in for a visual disaster.
5. Wrong use of selective color
Selective color is a technique where most parts of a photograph are in gray or monochromatic scale while the subject is in full color. Some photographers say that this is overly done and needs to be avoided.
However, it can still work if it’s appropriate for the image. If you’re intending to apply this technique just for the sake of editing an image though, please. Just don’t. Just choose between going grayscale or colored and just do the edits really well.
As mentioned, photo editing can be subjective and you may or may not agree with the list above. But if there’s one thing that you need to remember, it would be this: No amount of editing can improve an image if it’s not shot properly to begin with. If you want to avoid editing roadblocks along the way, make sure that you get the image right during production.