bart allen boeckler | Over Editing Your Images

Over Editing Your Images

June 11, 2018

So, I know its been awhile since I've written anything....I have been super busy the last year with commissions and travels. I wanted to touch on digital post processing this post.  I recently ran into a few locals out shooting, well actually not too local here in WNC that have websites, FB and post images of mostly landscapes.  I was amazed when I visited their web pictures (SmugMug, Flickr and others) that the majority of the images were certainly over saturated and full of artifacts (typical of HDR gone wrong) . They did not look real and were almost cartoonish in nature. It was obvious they were over processed, tonemapped and over sharpened.  I would guess they used multiple images at different apertures/bracketed (typical HDR processing)  Colors tended to be blown out of proportion. One particular photographer had at least $6000.00 worth of new camera and rattled off shots like the morse code....Here I am with my tiny Olympus OMD and a kit lens...When I visited his FB page of which he uses mostly for favorable astonished comment from friends. I certainly would never try any print these and I am not sure other than putting them on the internet what was done with them.  While many on-lookers (social media accolades) may see these types of unrealistic landscape images cool beans, technically good or super artsy, I cannot help but wish they looked real. The compositions were fine and timing was good, but they just do not look properly as seen.  I would certainly rather see a natural looking landscape taken with care and purpose and not twisted outside of reality for the sake of software. Not an over saturated blast of color as nature intended.  Also to remember that the naked eye sees at about 50 mm of width in a fixed scene.

Over-editing in Photoshop/Lightroom is a chronic problem. When photographers first get and learn to use Photoshop, they often are in awe of its capabilities but do not have the skills to use it properly.  As a result, many start out playing with filters and plug-ins and over using them. Sometimes photographers feel Photoshop is all powerful and take images that should have been in a reject pile, and they try to “save” them. As a rule, Photoshop should not be used to save unacceptable photos. If a photo is out of focus, blown out, severely under-exposed, or has really awkward composition, Photoshop will not make it drastically better.  Used in excess, it can actually make the image worse....and some people will just never get it! Oh well I've said my piece and it is what it is.

An image that is captured as it is seen IMO is the way to go...We all do it (over process) at times and there is something to be said for lurid/garish colors in nature, you will never see a Nat Geo professional capture and process landscape images like I describe above.  Now there are uses for HDR certainly, but not so much in outdoors landscapes.  I hope that this photographer (and others) portfolios will show more realistic work in the future and that those that over-process their images will work on controlling their mouse a bit with more constraint! Keep your landscapes looking real as nature intends it to look, that is the true genius in digital landscape photography....and you don't need to spend a fortune on camera equipment to do so, if you know what your doing. 

Please contact me for field workshops, know-hows and monthly classes.

BTW...the cover picture on this post is pretty much over-saturate and was shot through my windshield while driving at 45 MPH...



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