Evaluating Photographer’s Work – 6 Common Photo Editing Mistakes

Photo editing is an important part of wedding photography. When editing is done poorly, you might have images that look good at first glance, but actually have weird details on closer inspection. But if editing is done well, the quality of the photo is enhanced and it looks more appealing. The problem, however, is that many photographers, especially those who are new to the profession, throw subtlety out of the window and overuse the effects whenever they see new editing tools.


Photo by Annabel Law Productions

Although digital editing can be a great way to enhance photos, it isn’t always the best solution to achieving fairer skin or a slimmer figure. For instance, excessively softening the skin’s complexion makes the subject look like a wax statue, while adding a “catchlight” that’s too large can make the subject look unnatural, or if it’s position in a wrong angle, the person will look googly-eyed.

If you’re planning your wedding and looking for a photographer to cover this very important part of your life, these tips will help you evaluate your prospect wedding photographers when it comes to photo editing. Know the common mistakes of photo editing and keep these in mind as you search for the best photographer for your wedding.

1. Altering Small Details at the Expense of the Entire Picture

Be careful with photographers who are focus so much on the small details that they compromise the quality of the entire picture. For example, an inexperienced photographer may suggest altering the background by giving it a more rustic color in an attempt to give an image a more romantic look. But is this really necessary? And how does it affect the subject? Wouldn’t this make the picture look dissonant? If editing is really necessary, make sure that it’s done in such a way that all elements work together and are still in harmony with each other.


Photo by AndroidsinBoots

2. Overdoing Minor Imperfections

Facial imperfections, such shiny skin and dark spots, must be handled subtly. If not, the subject may look too perfect to be real. When fixing red-eyes due to the camera flash, the editor must do the correction by sampling the iris from an unaffected photo. Adjusting colors or eradicating red-eye through air brushes or eraser will make the eye look unnatural.

Blotches in the background, such as patchy grass or torn wallpaper, can be easily fixed using the Clone tool, which takes a sample of a good part of the image and puts it over the bad part. However, if this is repeatedly done, the background will soon have a “pattern”, which will look off even to untrained viewers.

3. Heavy Application of Color and Contrast

Color enhancement has the ability to make a photo look magnificent or turn it into a mess. Increasing color saturation can make an image look more dramatic, but tweak it so much and it can make the image look unreal and absurd. Likewise, a very high contrast setting will make the photo look burnt. This becomes a bigger problem on photos where the lighting is not even, such as if some of the subjects are covered in shadow. If such photos are edited poorly, the results will be either the subject in the shadows will become totally obscured or the subjects in the light will look over-exposed.


Photo by Lovorth

A skilled photographer would, in the first place, avoid such compositions. But if it couldn’t be helped, a good photo editor will know how to adjust the saturation and contrast settings in order to correct the photo. He’ll also know how to use other tools, such as the dodge and burn tools, to adjust shadows exactly without affecting the rest of the photos.

4. Over-Sharpening

Most digital pictures benefit from image sharpening. As a rule, best results are attained when it’s applied at a level that is only fit to the image using external editing software instead of in-camera editing features. However, it’s equally important as well to consider how the photo will be used and viewed in what size when sharpening has to be applied. Moreover, keep in mind that sharpening is a type of contrast adjustment that is used at a pixel-level. When done correctly, it brings out fine details and enhances the image; otherwise, the photo will appear overdone, with halos and very noticeable shift in contrast. As a note, remember that sharpening cannot clarify an already out of focus element of a photo, as it doesn’t correct focusing inaccuracies.

Photo by Lushfolio Photography

5. Muddy Monochromes

While black and white photos remain to be great additions to your wedding photo album, wrong toning of black and white can make your photos look messy and, well, muddy. If you’re considering of having a series of monochromatic photos, make sure that the color conversion is not made from the built-in feature of the digital camera, but from a photo editing software. Photo editing software lets the user alter the brightness of the colors of the image, so one may find that it’s necessary to adjust several colors to get the most natural monochrome result. Levels and curves may also have to be adjusted to set the intensity of the black and the white and adjust the contrast as well.

6. Over-Exposing

A photograph that is too bright and lacks detail is overexposed. This means that the editor might have adjusted the brightness too high or the camera itself was not set correctly, with either the aperture set too wide or the exposure set too long. Overexposure usually happens in outdoor shots, especially on bright and sunny days or if the subject is wearing bright clothing amidst a similarly bright background. To correct an overexposed image, the editor must underexpose the image by choosing -1 or -0.5 then check if the unaffected details are retained. Additionally, spot metering is used for accurate results. It is done by picking a grey-toned area in the image, which will serve as the guideline.


Photo by Livesnapps

When hiring a wedding photographer, it is important that you also consider the editing software they use and their skill in enhancing images. Aside from assuring that your hired professional knows the intricacies of photography, their post-production method must also be given thorough consideration.

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