How many photos do you think you take each day? 10? 50?
Whether you’re above or below the global average of 20 shots that each person captures over a span of 24 hours, you’ve likely tried your hand at photo editing software.
Editing can transform a photo from dull to dramatic, but it also has the power to diminish a beautiful image into a boring one.
Here’s a list of 8 common mistakes with photo editing and how you can avoid them.
1. Applying Filters Globally
On the iPhone camera alone, there are dozens of presets that will change the look of your image. From social media platforms to special editing apps, you have countless options to give your photo a new feel instantly.
Many people take advantage of the one-click editing of their photos, using their favorite filter on every photo they take.
But there are a few things to keep in mind about editing photo colors properly.
First, the same filter should never be used on all or most of your photos. From the time of day to the background of the shot, every photo is different. A filter that may add needed brightness to one photo could wash out another.
Also, keep in mind that filters should never be turned up to 100%. Filters serve as an editing guideline. The best pictures have a balance of colors and light.
2. Exaggerating the Vignette
Vignettes have a time and place. They can be used to draw attention to the focal point of an image or remind the viewer of an old camera.
However, overdoing the vignette will make the photo seem too dark. The viewer will be distracted and drawn to the outer edges of a photo.
Use vignettes sparingly. When in doubt, skip them altogether.
3. Making Photos Too Grainy
Grain is a great photo editing tool used to evoke feelings of nostalgia and memories. It can also make a photo that isn’t as sharp as you like look more artistic.
You shouldn’t use it too strongly, though. Grains shouldn’t be enunciated to the point that the texture is the most notable thing about the photo.
The trick is to add just enough grain so the viewer notices a unique quality to the photo, but can’t quite put their finger on what it is.
4. Forgetting to Manage Photos
Whenever you download photos on your computer from a memory card, you should make a backup.
Keeping a copy of your photos on an external hard drive or cloud storage service will prevent your images from being lost if your computer breaks down.
But what if you have the opposite problem? If your computer is filled with images that you don’t want, including duplicate images, it may make your editing process more difficult.
Stay up to date with your images by sorting through your photos after you upload and edit the ones you like.
Click here to learn about the best photo manager apps for Mac.
5. Excessively Retouching Skin
Even though the photos we see in the media all feature individuals with flawless skin, no one has perfect skin in real life. It’s natural to edit photos to smooth out imperfections and create a more even skin texture.
That being said, the skin should never appear poreless or plastic. Even the best skin has different color variations in different parts of the face.
While you’re retouching the skin in your photo, keep the original next to it in a side-by-side display. Each time you alter the skin, compare the two photos. This should keep you from overdoing it.
6. Oversharpening Images
Sometimes images come out blurrier than we’d like them to. In an effort to make them look more polished, editors often turn up the sharpness in photos to make objects within the look more pronounced.
Look at the photo as a whole, though, and you’ll realize that it creates strong edges that make the photo look like a drawing.
Look to balance the sharpening and the noise of a photo to find a result you like. In some cases, you may have to accept that an image may not be clear enough for you to work with.
7. Overdoing the Contrast
Everyone loves a little contrast on photos. It makes colors stand out and creates a moody photography style. Too much contrast, though, and colors will look distorted – blacks will look too intense and whites will look too bright.
You’ll also lose many of the other details of the photo, as colors will get lost. Subjects may seem to pop out of the background, making even a natural picture seem staged.
Apply contrast sparingly. If certain areas are faded and need more contrast, apply it only to those specific areas. Focus on each element of the photo.
8. Making Eyes Too Bright
Everyone wants their eyes to stand out in a photo. However, even a small re-touch could make the subject’s eyes resemble that of a cartoon more than themselves.
When it comes to editing eyes, the most common mistake is making the whites of the eyes too bright, while adding a noticeable sparkle to the pupil. Together, the subjects’ eyes will look wholly unrealistic.
Instead, enhance or brighten the eyes in Photoshop using more subtle tools. The Spot Healing Brush can retouch the whites of the eyes without over brightening them.
Avoid the Common Mistakes With Photo Editing
By avoiding the common mistakes with photo editing, even your most average photos could become breathtaking. The right editing skills will transform the amount of beautiful photos that results from each shoot.
If you’re interested in more tech tips, check out our blog.