Photography post processing tips and mistakes to avoid

Professional photo retouching and post-processing has become an important phase in getting an image in the desired shape and aesthetical feels for every photographer today. It is natural that when you get started as a photographer, you tend to capture the images in ‘JPG’ and let the camera take decisions about various photographical elements such as color, contrast and other stylistic elements. However, as you grow as a photographer and when you are ready to take charge of the stylistic elements, you consider about taking the images in ‘RAW’ and then you take decisions as per the your sensibilities and requirements about the attributes of the images. This helps you develop a stylistic signature for yourself and create an image that looks perfectly in the artistical lines you imagined.

As a matter of fact, shooting the image in ‘RAW’ and then adding the stylistic features is an arduous task and often requires incredible patience. When you start making decisions that your camera has been making, you need to be extremely careful to get the image in the desired framework.

As the case is, here are some guidelines that can help you understand and get rid of most common errors that even the most experienced professional may fall into. Following them, you will sure make the image look better and more impressive.

Mistake 1 to Avoid: Over Lightening of Shadow

One of the best ways to work with shadows is to get the best exposure possible while capturing the image. The results that you get in doing so will be exceptionally better than the one you get after the image is processed. If you can get the finest exposure elements and values while capturing the image, it is going to be always better than the ones you get after you balance the same.

In another scenario, you may still be inclined to balance your shadow lightening so that you get the right feel you want the image to have. While this can improve the aesthetical feeling of the image, it is imperative that you do it in the right degree. Overdoing can spoil the entire feel and look of the image and it can act as an impediment trying to block the message you are trying to convey through your image.

1 Lightening shadows too much
Too much lightening of shadow
1 Lightening shadows too much ORIGINAL
Looks better

As you would know, lighting is the soul of an image and any discrepancy to it can immediately spoil the image. Always check you inclination to match the brightness of shadows with that of the highlights. Or you will end up creating an image looking unnatural and underdeveloped. Issues with improper lightening can be eliminated completely by seeking help from any of the companies offering retouching services for professional photographers.

Mistake 2 to Avoid: Over Saturation

One other mistake that crawls into image processing is over saturation. An over saturated image looks extremely boring, artificial and devoid of any aesthetical emotions. Little is always more is one of the most important things to keep in mind while playing with the saturation levels of an image. It is a luring thing to change the saturation levels of an image as even little variations can bring in a lot of character to the image. However, knowing to what degree of saturation an image can accommodate to look impressive is the key to take great advantage of the saturation of an image. This is also one of the most vital photography post processing tips.

2 Over saturation
Over saturation
2 Over saturation_ORIGINAL
Saturation level better

It can happen that saturating the image globally may work some times better and not in the best way in some other times. Choosing between these two is the most important aspect. If you need to highlight the central element of an image and want the attention of the viewers to it, saturate that part only. In an image that has several colors, before saturating any one color think how it can impact the final image and do the tweaking accordingly. The HSL Panel is the best for this sort of post-processing tasks that asks for segregate saturation tasks.

Mistake 3 to Avoid: Over Sharpening

One of the first things to understand when it comes to sharpening is that it cannot fix an image that is out of focus and it cannot correct a blurred image. Sharpening works best when the image is in focus to make it more crisp and realistic like in the real life. Another aspect is that if you try to do sharpening individually, it works best than when you sharpen the image wholly. If you have observed carefully while sharpening an image, you can understand that it adds noise to the image giving you all the more reason to not do it globally. Always try to focus your area of sharpening to only those aspects that need it as overdoing it can spoil the individuality and quality of the image.

3 Over sharpening
Over sharpening
3 Over sharpening_ORIGINAL
Looks better

Mistake 4 to Avoid: Over Cropping

Crop tool is an often used technique to ward off any unwanted elements, edges of frames, refine the composition of the image and to ensure that the horizon line of the image is appropriate. However, using the cropping technique to cut away unwanted space of your image is a bad way to use it.

4 Over cropping
Over cropping
4 Over cropping_ORIGINAL
cropped unwanted space

If there is one thing that you need to understand when it comes to photography is the way you use the space in your photograph and that the focus object is not an element to fill the space in your image. The focus object along with the space is rather the whole point you have a photograph. You may also have noticed that having elements and enough space gives the object an interesting perspective and character of itself. Too much cropping can take that signature presence of the object away making the image bland and mundane. No professional image editing company does so.

Strike a balance between all the elements, the impact space has on the object and how it stands out as an image with its own character. If you give enough thought about it, you will sure use cropping to the best extent required for an exceptional image.

Mistake 5 to Avoid: Overdoing Noise Reduction

If you think that no image must have any noise at all, that is definitely not the best way to go. There is no rule that says so and no companies providing photography post processing services will opine differently. In fact, some images require a bit of noise to retain its space and style, especially when you capture the images of nature and expansive landscapes. Making the images looking smooth is good but cancelling all the noise can make the image lose its natural style and originality. Too much noise reduction can leave blotches on areas of your image that were sharp in the first place.

5 Too much Noise Reduction
Too much noise reduction
5 Too much Noise Reduction_ORIGINAL
Looks good

These common errors can be addressed if you pay a little more care than you usually do.  If you have noticed most of the mistakes happen due to over-doing things that are supposed to make the image look better. Apply your mind thoroughly to know what type of an image you would need ultimately and use these techniques accordingly to the degree required. Remember, the idea of correcting an image comes from the need to make a good image look the best but not to make a bad image look good.

Before, outsourcing photo editing to any of the external service providers, you can check if you can do these tweaking by yourself. However, having best professionals to back you is always a better idea.  If you have made up your mind to outsource the task, there are a lot of companies offering photo editing services. India is a country with excellent service providers in this regard. You just have to find the right one suiting your budget and all other aspects involved.

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