The Magic of Editing
(Click any photo to enlarge; hover mouse over photo for caption.)
Yesterday I gave a presentation to an audience of non-photographers. It was actually at a luncheon for seniors, where I presented a talk about my daily photo walks in Maryland.
After the presentation, a man came up to me with a list of questions. I answered them all, but one of them caught me off guard. He asked, "How many of those photos did you edit?" I must have had a surprised look on my face, because I guess I thought the answer would be obvious. I hesitated a moment, and then I said, "All of them!"
"All of them?" he repeated.
"Yes," I told him. "While there's no substitute for 'getting it right' in the camera, nearly every digital photo can benefit from simple editing, especially if you shoot RAW images."
I went on to explain that most of my editing involves cropping and a few basic lighting adjustments, such as opening up some shadows or reducing overly bright areas on some shots. For example, in this shot of a pitcher plant, all it really needed was a little straightening and a minor lighting adjustment.
Many times, a good crop is really all that's needed to find the "photo within the photo." That's all that was needed to turn this photo of a yellow swallowtail from "ho-hum" to "wow!"
The photo on the left of a great blue heron was shot in the early morning hours, just before sunrise. Many people would have tossed this photo, because it is far too dark to use straight out of the camera. But what a difference opening up the shadows did! Other minor adjustments involved a little sharpening and adding a little saturation to the blues to bring out the sky. Editing turned this image from a throw-away to a definite keeper.
Other types of editing that are often used by photographers are removing distracting elements like power lines or brown spots on flower petals, adding a texture over an image to disguise a flat white sky, or adding new elements like a flock of flying geese to a winter farm scene.
If you want to learn more about the power of editing your photos, let's talk. I can show you how to take your images from "ho hum" to "wow" through the magic of editing.
All photos in in this post are available for sale upon request.
You are an awesome teacher and an excellent photographer. I wish I had the time to follow you on your walks or talks!
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