Photo editing is supposed to enhance our images and give us our desired results but the same photo editing can make things go south if it isn’t done right.
While editing pictures, it is normal for a person to get carried away but if you are a professional photographer and your portfolio is supposed to get you to work then poor image editing can do even more harm. But don’t worry, in this article, we will be discussing 10 most common photo editing mistakes and how you can fix them.
10 Most Common Photo Editing Mistakes and How to Fix Them
1. Cropping too much
Let’s start with the simple one. Overcropping is an issue that is needed to be addressed in the industry right now. Sometimes photographers have a certain composition in mind and in order to achieve that, they leave most of it for the editing part.
This can lead them to poor framing choices which they hope to fix during the editing process. But it’s not the best strategy because by the time you reach the editing table, the picture you had in mind is almost blurry and you start improvising which can sometimes lead to cropping the image too much.
There are many other factors that can lead to it but overcropping is surely an issue that needs addressing.
So, here’s how you fix it. If there is extra space around the subject then you can create a nice composition. You can either use the three-point rule or you can make it into a portrait depending on the type of picture you have clicked and the surroundings.
2. Smoothening the skin too much (plastic appearance)
While delivering your clients or editing portraits for your personal project, it is okay to make your subject look good or in some cases perfect. Now to achieve this perfection, a lot of photographers go overboard and turn a real person into a barbie doll or a plastic appearance.
There is a very small number of people who would actually appreciate such an edit but for most, it might come across as offensive due to it lacking the real factor and giving unrealistic expectations to normal people.
Now, this does not mean that it is bad to make skin clear or remove blemishes here and there. This is the reason why all these beauty editors tools exist.
But you can always avoid the mistake of making the photo unrealistic by keeping the original one on the side while editing your picture. This can help in navigating the editing process and help you in doing just the right amount of edit.
3. Sloppy background edit
Another huge mistake while doing photo editing is poor removal of background. It is possible that you might click your subject perfectly and with edit, you are able to enhance it. But while removing the background, there are possibilities that you might ruin it entirely to make your entire picture look unattractive.
One of the hardest things about background removal is dealing with a complex background and getting the lights and shadows to match with your subject. This becomes easy when you are doing the photoshoot in front of a green screen but while shooting somewhere else, it is surely an issue.
But there is a trick to fixing this. The trick is to plan ahead. If you have a certain background in mind, execute your photo in such a way that you can align your picture with that background.
This you can do by doing the photoshoot in the lighting that even remotely equals to that background. Proper planning can really help you remove background with perfection.
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4. Taking HDR too far
This is another spectrum of image editing that can affect your image in a huge way. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. This can help you in getting the details back in your subject when your whites become too white and dark become too dark. It basically reverses the effects from a washed-out image and gives it the detailing back.
Now there is a very thin line between using an HDR right and using it too much. Since HDR mode can be achieved digitally, it is important to handle it with care or the picture becomes too unrealistic.
5. Playing with monochrome features too much
The whole point of doing monochrome photography or turning a colored picture into monochrome is to take away the attention from bold features and create a subtle dramatic picture depending on your goal.
But it can look appealing to play with the features a little by deep sepia tones. This might do the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. Here’s why.
Using deep sepia tones make your pictures look unnatural. They give your pictures a muddy look that can cause your photo to look overdone. This takes away the whole magic of monochrome editing. You can fix that by keeping those monochrome features light.
6. Working on the original file
This is a rookie mistake that any photographer can fell prey to. Editing on the original file might even be considered as a sin in the editing world. There are a number of reasons why it’s definitely not a good idea to do so.
For starters, you won’t have any original picture to refer to while making the edits. So when you are done with the editing, you won’t remember how the real one looked like and you risk going too far with the editing.
Also, if the final edit you have made is not appreciated by your client or your own eyes, it would be impossible to go back to the start since there is no ‘start’ left. This is why it is best to avoid such mistakes by duplicating the file or at least layer while doing editing in photoshop.
7. Not knowing about editing tools
The editing tool that you are using, you must know atleast 50% of it to start off with. When you start using a tool, you see so many features and buttons but it’s possible that you might not know about any of them.
But if you are aware of 2-3 buttons, this won’t cut the deal as there are a lot of processes involved in editing a picture. The most skilled editors have to keep learning about features so the mistake here is not giving much attention to the learning part that might be limiting the growth of your editing and that quality you are trying to achieve in your pictures.
So, make sure that you learn about new tools so that you can be aware of what to use and when to use while making the edits.
8. Sparkling eyes and white teeth
You must have seen those pictures of angels and babies on Facebook in 2010 where their eyes sparkled and their teeth looked so white that it made you question your own dental hygiene.
Well, it’s true that adding a little sparkle to the eyes can make them look alive but going overboard with it can give the picture an alien effect. This means that your subject might start looking like a being from another planet.
So the key is to keep it subtle and start with small changes to the eyes. This way, you can better control the outcome.
The same goes for teeth whitening. It is true that white teeth look attractive but overdoing them not only looks unnatural but it can also be seen from a mile away. If your client posts such pictures on their social media, someone might even call out the edit due to its unrealistic nature. This is why it is important to make small changes and following a simple rule - “less is more.”
9. Ruining the image with contrast
While editing your image, you risk turning your image flat. This happens when you change the contrast of your image. When you increase contrasts too much, you turn your whites into too much white and dark into too dark.
This can take away the details from your picture and make it look unappealing. The key is to start your changes by giving attention to the details rather than making a big general change. This can give you more control over your image and a rather bewitching edit.
Another thing that you must know is that a lack of contrast can do the opposite effect and give you a flat image. So follow the simple rule of paying attention to the details.
10. Leaving everything for the edit
Now, this is something that we discussed in one of the initial points. It is common for photographers to leave everything for editing while not paying much attention to the right camera settings and lighting.
And this leaves all the major changes for the editing part. Now you may not believe this but when you start editing in such scenarios, you take it too far whether you want it or not.
While the key to editing is “less is more”, your focus changes to doing more and more edit so as to achieve a perfect picture. So avoid that by putting more focus on the photography part. This will help you avoid the editing mistakes of doing it too much.
Photo editing is one of those things that require practice that leads to perfection over time. If you want to make perfect edits then it is best to start with capturing more and more pictures. This can give you the idea of different photo compositions and color usage. Also, you will better be able to get the psyche behind editing a picture.
If you are new to photo editing, there are plenty of free editing tutorials on YouTube that you can follow. The key is to know your editing tool and practice more and more. If you are a photographer looking for professional photo editing services, and raise your request.
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