5 Things to Remember When Editing Pictures

The following post is from Amanda of Everyday Elements:

source: Amanda Padgett

Don’t have the perfect lighting for a photo shoot?  Did the skin tones on your image turn out all wrong?  Thanks to digital photography those problems can be corrected, and images can even be enhanced.   After a few tweaks in editing software, you can have the image that you had hoped to capture in the first place.

Here are my five tips to follow so that you get the desired image from screen to print:

1. Do not edit in the dark.

Editing at night is perfectly okay. What isn’t okay is editing in a very dark room with no ambient light.

When you edit in the dark, everything on your monitor seems very bright. Thus, images you edit will seem brighter than they actually are. When they are printed, they will be darker than they appeared to you in the dark on your monitor.

2. Position monitor away from direct light.

This tip is for both desk lamps and windows. You do not want light to shine directly on the monitor because it affects your perception of brightness. You can edit images then when you print them, you find they are darker than how you edited them to be.

3. Print pictures and compare to your monitor.

Different monitors have different default color settings. Before spending time editing images, print a few (either on a home printer or via a lab) and compare to the colors on your monitor.

Many monitors do a great job with color, but there are many out there that do not. If your monitor color is drastically different from the prints, you will want to invest in a monitor calibration system. I recommend Spyder 4 Express because it is affordable and reliable.

4. Make back-up copies.

Before editing the first picture, please make back-up copies to an external drive. This is prudent for possible hard drive crashes, but also in the event that  you accidentally overwrite the original file while editing.

A very important rule to remember – always keep the original file safe and untouched, regardless of how much better you think the edit is.

5. Less is more.

The single biggest mistake that people make when first learning to edit images is that they go too far. Skin gets smoothed too much, eyes too sparkly, teeth too white. Subtle, small edits are best. Trust me.

What other important things should those new to editing be aware of?

Amanda is a quirky, introverted mom of four who is passionate about helping others learn their cameras and editing software. She homeschools her four kids, ages 13 to 6, all of whom run away when they see her carrying her camera.
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