Edit Your Images, Please!
Every photographer I know (including myself) have been guilty of this:
Point -> Click -> Print (or upload),
Point -> Click -> Edit -> Print (or upload).
I think we do this because of these three main reasons:
1. Inflated expectations from the camera: I know folks that routinely blame their camera. We all know and love such these guys- The iPhone user: “I wish I had a DLSR”; the DLSR user: “I wish I had a full-frame DLSR”. Also, “my photos are not as good as yours because I don’t have a fancy camera”. We all know cameras have no brains; at least none that can evoke an emotional response to what it sees. We, on the other hand do. So stop blaming the camera and learn to evoke emotional responses from your audience! For a good understanding of what to expect out of a few different types of cameras, see my post called, Learn From a Boring Flower Vase.
2. “Time constraints” (aka laziness): I have already talked about doing quick edits using nothing but your phone and one singular app called Snapfish in a previous post called, From Drab to Fab. Last vacation, I shot about 100 or so shots each day. In the evening, I picked out and edited 15-20 images, spending less than a minute each and uploaded them to Facebook. My goal was to simply get them to an audience as fast as possible but with my interpretation of the image. For example, if I saw that the sky was very dark blue and the camera “did not do justice”, I’d edit it till it looked right.
3. Photoshop-phobia: This one I totally blame on the ad industry for over manipulating images. How many times have we seen the perfect body in an ad, only to find out that it was cleverly “photoshopped”. It is sad that this word has already slipped into our vocabulary to mean something negative. I argue that you have to bring into images the same emotions that you felt as you took the photo. For this, there really is no substitute but to use some form of “editing” (aka post-processing/photoshopping) after taking the image. Of course, you need not use the behemoth called Photoshop. You can use freely available software such as Gimp to do just as much or even more. Here is an article that shows you, step by step, my method of editing an image- Enhance Images: A Step by Step Guide.
Proof, as they say, is in the pudding. So here is a quick shot I took from a monster truck as we traversed a river in Iceland. I recall that the skies were threatening, there was a mist rising from the river and the mountains looked dark and ragged. I know my settings were the best I could manage, but what I got from the camera, looked nothing like what I remember the scene to be. Partly, it was due to the fact that I was behind a thick glass window and the light level between the mountain and the sky was enormous. The only way to bring the image back to how I recall seeing it, was to edit it. Take a look and see if you agree. Move the slider left-right to see the “before” and “after” my edits.
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