With filters at our fingertips and photoshop always on hand, post-editing has become the norm. But, would you benefit from taking a few steps back and editing your work less?
In this post we take a look at the different types of editing and why stepping away from the editing equipment could not only benefit your photography career, but could result in better images.
In the world of photography ‘editing’ has two different meanings. The first meaning looks at the post-production of an image and focuses on your camera’s settings. These include adjusting the brightness and white balance, cropping, and changing the contrast and exposure etc. Known as ‘simple editing’, the majority of photographers edit their images using these before showing them off to friends, family, or clients.
The other meaning refers to the body of your work with the process of culling. Culling is an editing method used in every style of photography by all kinds of photographers. Basically, it means selecting the very best images from a collection and editing them before sending them to a client, friend or family.
With the rise of the blogosphere, a trend in photography is to capture ordinary images as our audience now wants content to be more relatable. A few years ago aspiration images were trending, especially on Instagram. Since trends come and go, now is the time to publish images that our audience can relate to. Through editing images we can make our food look like it was served by a Michelin Star chef, our holidays more envious and ourselves look much better.
Unfortunately, audiences can see straight through this. In fact travel blogger, Amelia Liana, received a wealth of criticism from bloggers, national press and the public for over editing her travel images. This resulted in a loss of followers and a huge amount of negative comments left on her Instagram feed. So, next time you capture a photo, whether it’s perfect or not, remember to either leave it as it is, or edit it slightly.
When capturing an image your camera either snaps it in a RAW/manual file format, or a JPEG. If you have it set to JPEG, your camera will take a photo and apply some contrast, add some saturation topped with a little sharpening, as well as some other features too. This is exactly what shooting in AUTO does. You have to remember that your camera doesn’t understand what it’s taking a photo of, or what editing the image requires. It simply applies a pre-set level of editing.
However, if you switch the camera to manual you can control how the images comes out and apply your own edits and create the look you want your photo to have. Don’t worry about knowing all of the features. The ones you need to concentrate on are ISO, shutter speed, aperture and basic photo resolution. Knowing these will allow you to capture the photo you want without over editing it.
Editing doesn’t always mean using software, sometimes you can edit the situation you’re capturing. The majority of photographers, or bloggers use props to enhance the scene they are snapping, however, too many props can look unrealistic. This goes back to the expectation vs reality we mentioned earlier. Basically, natural props are okay. But, over editing the image with props that would not naturally be in the image is unrealistic and therefore unrelatable.
If you take a look at images by high profile photographers and popular bloggers, you’ll see that their images have the same filter, or edit on them. This is so their images boast the same theme and look. But, repetition is boring. Repetition means that your clients, or audience already know what to expect. Over time they could become bored, which could result in them unfollowing you. So, push the boundaries of your photography further by trying new styles of photography, or simply leave your images as they are rather than applying the same edit to them. Remember to mix things up a little and always leave your audience wanting more. Canvas prints actually look better and more natural when you don’t edit original images.
How do you feel about editing your images? Do you use the same filter? Will you try and edit your photos less?