Landscape Photography: 5 Photo Editing Mistakes to Avoid

Editing, or post-processing, is an indispensable part of photography. In the days of film, this step was done in the dark room. In digital, this can be done conveniently on a computer. In any case, this step is very crucial and will make or break your photo. While many photographers were dependent on labs to get their films developed, today they tend to edit their own photos. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. However, it’s important to consider that a badly edited photo does more harm than good. Landscape photographer Mark Denney talks about 5 editing mistakes that you should avoid in landscape photography:

Editing is totally subjective. The answer to how much or what you should or should not edit varies from person to person. Keeping this in mind, Denney talks about five of the worst editing mistakes that he seems to be making time and again.

When editing shadows, you may get tempted to lift it up so much that the image starts appearing lifeless. Cameras do a good job at retaining shadow details but that does not mean that you must go all the way. When working with shadows, use the clipping indicator for assistance. A related parameter is contrast. The exact answer to how much contrast an image should have is again subjective. One way to decide on the right level of contrast is to create multiple versions with varying contrast and then reset your eyes by moving away from the computer for some time. Later, come back and decide which version appeals to you.

Then there are also things like removing distractions, and cropping the image. Spend some time to remove any elements that distract the viewers from experiencing the essence of the image. Tools like clone stamp, and healing brush do an excellent job at that. If there are any distractions around the corner of the image, even the crop tool can help you out. Using the crop tool, you can also straighten any tilted horizons and recompose the image to your taste.

And finally, make sure that when editing your photos, you’re not overdoing it. Over editing is something that you probably don’t realize you’re doing. So, it can get a little tricky. As Denney rightly points out, the overall edit should almost be invisible. Edits should add value to an image and not distractions. Once you are done editing your photos, it is thus a good idea to leave it for some time and revisit it later. Believe it or not, resetting your eyes this way helps a lot.

“When you look at a photograph, if the very first thing that you see is the edit, then you’ve probably over-edited that photograph.”

Have you been making any of these mistakes in your work?

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