I have an addiction to over-editing photos to the brink of utter extinction.
And I'm admitting it.
Sooo, I should magically be cured now, right?
What do you mean, it doesn't work like that? WHAT THE JUNK?
If you are in the same boat (the neon green one with the wonky sail and airbrushed waves), here's some things I've learned.
I enjoy taking photos. I also enjoy seeing the fruit of my labor afterward. LIKE, RIGHT NOW, PETE. I've noticed, however, that if I start editing immediately after a shoot, the fog of how I wanted things to look when I was snapping away clouds my judgment. Waiting at least 24 hours to let this "euphoria" dissipate before editing solves this problem. Sure, do a preliminary run-through if you must and get rid of pics where people have two noses from blur (unless, you know, you meant for that to happen ... ), but save the major stuff for later.
I could probably toss this one, though ...
CHECK YO'SELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YO'SELF
In other words, less is more. I know, I know. The powers of Photoshop are intoxicating. Zit zapping? DONE! Wrinkle-removing? DONE!
Instant boob/butt job? Not so much.
|I really hope this was purposefully done as an example of terrible PSing.|
After your first round of edits, it's a good idea to save everything and come back later with fresh eyes. I've opened a lot of my older (and ridiculously over-edited) photos and been like, "Uhhh, WTF?"
Plus, you may also catch things like this:
Photoshop is the one everyone knows about, of course. If however, you don't have four hundred clams laying around, there are a lot of other options out there. I like to use Picmonkey (from the makers of Picnik, which Google so rudely murdered). If you can, shell out the four bucks a month for the premium subscription. There's a lot of pre-edits and auto-edit options available, so it's not quite as scary as something completely manual (the hard-cores are turning their noses up at me now ... ). If you do, however, want a good FREE manual program, Gimp is supposedly on par with Photoshop.
FOCUS ON TAKING A GOOD PHOTO
If you're not rushed for time (which is sometimes the case), focus on taking a better picture BEFORE you plug it into editing software. How's the lighting? The composition? Is it straight? Would venturing out of auto mode make it better? Are there questionable objects/people in the background?
|Yeah, make sure you check that one out ...|
Take LOTS of pictures. This increases your chances of getting good photos.
It's also part of the reason I often end up with fifteen shots of the exact same thing, but whatevs. "DEL" is my homie.
He can be yours, too. He's pretty cool ... unless you accidentally push his button.
Then junk's gonna hit the fan.
|Yep. These are four different but almost exactly the same photos. I'm not ashamed.|
... everybody got that right? DEL? Button? Delete? Get it? *stares*
Photography is art. Therefore, some people are going to think your art sucketh. If you're lucky, some aren't. That's just how it is. If taking pictures makes you happy, do it! If adding a cross process filter to every photo you take is something you NEED to do, do it! If you just have to make your teeth blindingly white, well ... they're your teeth! And it's YOUR photo. Own your successes and your failures. Go with your gut.
Unless your gut routinely tells you ridiculous things like how it's totally okay to eat nine boxes of Twinkies ...
Then you should probably get that sucker checked out.
KNOW THE RULES
There's three fancy-sounding photography terms you should be familiar with. I'm not going to get into them here, but they are ISO, aperture and shutter speed. These three things interact with light to create a photo. When you're in auto mode, your camera sets these values. Knowing what they are and how they work can do wonders to help you get the picture you see in your mind's eye without relying too much on post processing.
This series of blog posts helped me a lot!
And finally ...
|The look on that kid's face = priceless.|
Overexposure is sometimes awesome.
Not always ...
Okay, fellow addicts, let's do this thang!
Slowly. And with epic amounts of self control.