With a number of photo editing applications, plug-ins and software to choose from, making your pictures look great and professional has never been easier. However, regardless of the ease with which you can edit and modify your pictures, there will always be those that can enhance a picture to a professional standard and others that are distinctly amateurish. In other words, even though the software may be incredibly easy to use, you may still fall into the trap of over-editing your pictures, or just making rookie errors when it comes to getting the basics right. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some common photo-editing mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them.  




The Problem:


When you get your portraits through, it’s very tempting to enhance the sharpness of the image. For portraits, this could be to enhance your eyes and mouth. When you see professional pictures, these features generally look crisp, clean and sharp. However, when you come to do the same, your eyes may look beady and unnatural. Your mouth may look too thin, piercing and harsh. Fear not, there’s a way to get that professional look without damaging your portrait.


The Solution:


When your pictures look a tad blurry, this is when to apply sharpness. For portraits, this could be when you see a degree of softness around the eyes and mouth. Utilise your software to its fullest, so by all means apply a bit of sharpness, but just not too much. Moderation, as well as trial and error, is key here. Make a note of how much sharpness you have applied, and compare that to when you either use more or less the second or third time around. Always check for that it appears natural, as well as looking for a reduction in blur and softness.




The Problem:


The amount of colour within your images is often referred to as its saturation. This is with reference to the perceived intensity of the colour in a photograph; specifically it’s the degree of colour relative to its own brightness. Now, when editing pictures it can be far too tempting to play around with the photograph’s saturation. Depending on the extent to which this is done, it could have disastrous consequences on your photographs.


The Solution:


The key is to have the picture look as natural as possible. Depending on the software that you use, the way you can add or remove saturation will be different. More often than not this will be a global change that will affect the entire image, as you drag the saturation slider from left to right either removing or applying colour. Ensure that the photograph does not glow with colour, or that there is a hue surrounding the various colours within the image. For portraits, ensure that skin colour is normal, and neither grey nor overly-orange.


Skin Smoothing


The Problem:


Another incredibly popular editing technique these days is skin smoothing. Having the option to remove blemishes, acne, wrinkles and uneven skin is a god-send for most, but there is a drawback. Too much smoothing can leave your skin looking plastic. Appearing fake and unnatural can harm your pictures and create an image that is simply not what you really want. However there is an answer.


The Solution


As with most editing techniques, moderation is key. Depending on the software that you use, you will be able to apply skin smoothing on a layer by layer process. The software that you use is also essential here. Whilst some will leave your skin looking waxy and plastic, other software takes into account skin texture so to keep images looking natural.


By way of a conclusion, it’s about knowing what you’re doing, as well as using the right type of software. Some applications will be better than others. So always make sure you do your research into the best type of software. Before you save any edited pictures and have them printed, be sure to familiarise yourself with the application and test a number of images first. The quality of the software as well as experience can count for a lot – be sure to get this right to avoid any photo-editing mishaps.


Example of Good EditingCredit: EnvisageCredit: Envisage