Friday, October 21, 2011

Why over editing is ok.

In my real or fake post, I commented about the importance of realistic portrayal in a photograph of something you are selling.

Since not every photo is sales related, I wanted to touch on another aspect of photo editing, which is simply over editing for style purposed.

This first photo is of the local school. it was taken this week, October 2011.
it is an example of realistic editing, Where yes, the photo is edited, but not a lot. some minor color adjustments, and glare reduction.

An untrained eye could say that this photo is unedited, because there are no obvious editing effects in use.

If that is all you wanted that would be fine, and I dont think anyone would or could accuse you of over editing.

Over editing in my mind, is trying too hard to make a photo look natural but in ab obviously different way.

The solution to over editing in my opinion, is not to hide it.

This summer, I know that the vintage 1060 /1970 looking picture was really popular. Those that executed it well made it look like it was taken with a camera from that era. Those who didnt (like me) added a 1970's effect, and 12 others making is just plain look fake.

So choose the look you are going for when over editing. This next one is the same photo, but I wanted it to look like something that was taken in the early 1900's rather than the early this week's.

by making intentional choices, you can clearly tell the photo is edited, but without mixing too many different styles together. The black and white, matches the missing edges.

The same black edge on a color photo could easily have looked not only fake, but cheesy, which is likely never what you are going for.

So What then can we do with color photos? Well the first one showed keeping it real, here is an example of pushing the colors without going too overboard. this photo, is so far, the most obviously edited, and exemplifies my point.

I like this picture! I like the warmth and the way it feels. and that is what is realy important. If over editing a photo can make you feel differently about it (in a positive way) then it is a good thing.

Example: Where would you rather go to school? The first picture, or the third?

Last but not least is the extreem over editing, to just plain add a cool factor. Again same photograph, but with tons of effects, modifications and the like. it is to the point wehre it is barely still a photograph.

Again though, if it is what you are going for, it is hard to argue.

So here it is layed out. Do what you will with your photos, but ask yourself..."Is there a camera in the world that could have made the picture look like this without editing?" If the answer is no, you have likely over edited. To make sure that the over editing is a good thing, (even thought it is an obviously modified photo at this point) make sure that the changes you made added something to the photo, something that took it from "Some photo I shot" to " I shot SOME photo!"


  1. I love well done over-editing. I think it can add so much character to a photo! Thanks for the tips on how to do it :)

  2. hhhhmmmmm, hard chose a favorite. i them all........

  3. I love over-editing and having fun with pictures. I think it makes them stand out more. I love what you did with this picture...hard to choose but I think I like the third one:)

  4. Over-editing is ok only in the cases when it goes well with what you are trying to portray. I am sure we've all seen over-editing gone terribly wrong, so one needs to be extremely careful!

  5. That is exactly my point... when it is done very intentionally to give a certain feel, vs. when you are trying to make something look cool, and it ends up fake or cheesy looking.

  6. Thanks for the lesson, I'm not good at photos but I do know I need a new camera (smile). Thanks for sharing I always admire your photos.