Many people today forget that editing is and always has been a very important part of photography. The right kind of editing can bring life to a photo, and the results can be mesmerizing when paired with the right camera and lens settings.
But as with most things, all things are good only in moderation. This goes for things like food to things like photo editing.
Going too heavy on the effects can make the photo look tacky, unprofessional and definitely not worth anyone’s money or attention. Worst case scenario, you get no likes on your photos or a bad rep as a professional.
Though when you’re editing photos, it’s not easy to tell that you’re overdoing it or that you need to take a step back. This is why it’s important to keep looking back at your original photo and to check for these signs.
1. The shadows are too dark
Photos take a lot of light balancing and touch-ups. If you go too overboard with the contrast, you can end up obscuring many of the darker details of the photo from view.
Many poses for girls’ selfies put a lot of shadow on the subject’s face and features, which can be tricky to deal with, but there are a lot of great tips out there that can help.
As a general rule, always keep referring back to the original photo, and keep a lookout for areas in the image that are too dark or too light — enough to obscure any details in certain areas of the photo.
On the photos below, the left photo has too many shadows. Whereas the right has not as many shadows present.
2. The image is “crunchy”
Everyone wants their photos to seem focused and sharp, but adding some extra sharpening can quickly go sideways if done wrong. It might be tempting to add this effect to any photos you’re editing, but the results aren’t always desirable.
If you notice a halo around the objects in your photos, or they seem grainy and crusty when you zoom in, maybe it’s time to scale back on the sharpness. Sometimes, it’s not a bad idea to leave your photos looking too out of focus. Besides, your photos — if taken right — shouldn’t need much sharpening at all!
3. There is too much color
Turns out, there definitely is such a thing as too much color. It happens when you end up saturating your photos too much, and it can be pretty distracting.
One tip is to turn the saturation all the way down and then gradually bring it up until it feels right. This helps you make sure that the color is just right, and to avoid making the photo look too bad.
Oversaturated or too-bright photos are never a good look, and while you might not be able to tell the difference while you edit, every person who lays eyes on it will certainly wonder what’s wrong with it.
In the below image set, the image on the left is too saturated; there’s too much color for my liking. Whereas the one on the right is more to my liking.
4. Dark corners
Adding some vignette to your photos is a great way to bring attention to the objects at the center. But as always, doing it too much isn’t a good idea.
This can make the details at the corners look obscure. Blocking parts of your photo from view can be frustrating for anyone who sees it, and it can make many photos look amateurish.
Adding vignette isn’t an option for most photos anyway, since photographers avoid putting the focus of the photo right in the middle anyway.
5. Too much exposure
It can be easy to forget about the other parts of your photo when you’re focused on getting the exposure right for the main object.
But remember! All parts of your photo are important, and while you might have gotten the results you wanted on your desired area, it’s not worth the additional damage.
When editing photos, avoid making any major changes to it altogether. Instead, rely on great photography and the right lens and exposure when you take the photo for great results and edit the photo very lightly.
Achieving the right aesthetic
Take these tips into consideration next time you are editing a photo. There is nothing worse than over-editing a photo and it not succeeding, especially if you are planning to sell it as a print.
There is a fine line between editing a perfect photo that is aesthetic to over-editing a perfectly good photo.