Capturing the image is only part one these days. Post-processing is part two. And while many photographers put the time in to learn how to capture the image, fewer learn what to do next.
Here are the five biggest photo-processing mistakes I run into. Try to avoid these at all costs.
1. Overdoing It
Don’t – overdo it that is. Less is more in post. Try a small amount of an effect and add to it. You can always add more if you need it. But don’t go so far as to make your subject unrecognizable. When in doubt, leave it out.
2. Using the same filter or action on every picture.
It gets old quick folks. Imagine a photographer who only used a fisheye lens – on every single photo! Use good taste. Mix it up. Don’t do the same thing every single time.
You can run your favorite sharpening action as many times as you like, but that out of focus shot is still out of focus. Sharpening should be applied last and then only based on output and size. If I see too much odd noise in your images or halos around your subject, I can usually assume you’ve over-sharpened.
4. Too much vignetting.
Don’t vignette every picture. Don’t overdo vignetting. Don’t use it unless you can articulate why you’re using it. If every shot in your portfolio is vignetted, stop reading this and start over there.
5. Mucking up the shadows, blowing out the highlights.
This is important. Don’t blow out the highlights. If you mess with the photo until the bright spots in the picture lose all detail, or the shadows block up, you’ve gone too far. There should be detail in the shadows (when you expect it) and there should be details in the highlights (again when you expect it.) Control these areas before you go crazy on the rest of the picture. If your shots are consistently blown out or blocked up, revisit your knowledge of exposure.