In this episode of Weekly Edit from SLR Lounge, we are going to process a suburban landscape image of a beautiful foggy sunrise. Mainly, we are going to talk about how to avoid over-editing your images, which is a common issue with any photographer who is just starting out in photography.
The Original Image
As you can see, the original, un-edited RAW image looks quite nice all by itself, even with every setting “zero’d” out. Really, what do we need to do to this image? Aside from maybe correcting a slight crop and/or removing a sensor dust spec or two, the image doesn’t need much. However if you’re just starting out with a bunch of killer new workflow tools, maybe some presets for either in Bridge or Lightroom, …you might be tempted to go to town. Here is what the image might look like if we took the time to tweak every single slider at our disposal:
The Over-Processed Image
Does it look okay? I suppose so, and maybe some photographers will prefer this edit, with good shadow detail, well-preserved highlights, and plenty of saturation. Personally, I feel that the image is flat. It doesn’t properly represent the scene and the mood of such a beautiful foggy sunrise. Therefore, I prefer this version:
The Final Image
Unless you look at them side by side, (watch the video!) you might not even be able to notice a difference between this processed version and the original, un-edited version. Well, I like the subtle tones, colors, and deep shadows! All I did to this image was give it a small boost overall, a slight nudge to the shadows and highlights, a little extra contrast, vibrance and clarity, …and that’s it.
If you’re just starting out with photography, or if you simply have just begun using a new workflow tool, remember that there is often a “novelty factor” that causes you to get excited and go a little too far. This is often the case with other things as well, such as new lenses or other equipment.
So, just remember to keep your vision in check. Sometimes, less is indeed more.
Take care and happy clicking!