How you processes your image will have an effect on how others will look at it and develop their opinions around your image and yourself as a photographer. Although your actual image and all that it comprises (composition, subject matter, artistic elements, etc) affects opinions, the presentation of your image is what ultimately holds the key to its interpretation. Having witnessed an array of photographs being taken by my friends and family over this long weekend, the processing of these images and how people then responded to the ‘final product’ really secured my opinion that post processing can make or break an image.
For example; I have seen many wonderful images that I would love to call my own, but they are over-processed – whether it is over-sharpening, over-saturation, etc.
I unconsciously stop looking at the image that is presented to me, no matter how great it is, and instead I’am drawn to the processing of it and how I would change it, or what about it bothers me. The actually subject and image is completely forgotten. This is a shame as these powerful images are let down but the inexperience of the photographer with processing software, or a lack of understanding of how each different editing tool influences the appearance of the image.
This is also evident to me in regards to images that are not processed at all. Not all images need to be as some people are lucky enough to have shot the image and captured the dynamic range of the image perfectly (always know how your camera settings will affect your image), but a sad thing for me to see is a great image that is flat and dull due to a lack of tweaking. This creates the images to kind of just fade away and become easily forgotten as nothing about it stands out. Even a great capture or representation of the subject will be lost if the image quality is dull.
I did basic editing with this image. I lifted the exposure to get detail in the wood, and then adjusted my ‘blacks’ slider to keep the leopard from being washed-out. I then did a slight sharpen for web.
Here is the same image with the same editing processes I used on the image above, except I have clearly over-sharpened this example. Note how harsh the image looks and how distorted the colour of the leopard becomes. This is what I have seem some good photographs turned into as a result of over processing.
Don’t let the true brilliance or beauty of your image become lessened because of post-processing. Learn and understand the program you use so that you can utilize it to the best of your ability.
If you feel like your post-processing knowledge and skills are not up to par with your images, then join use on our Lightroom courses where we go through every editing function they have, how each affect your images, storing, and exporting of your photographs. Our classes and small and intimate so that we can focus on each guest and help them with any query they may have.
Click on this link to find out more about this course and all that we have to offer you.