How Much Photo Editing is Too Much?

Kyle Smith

DBA BozoKlown406
#1
I'm not new to taking fishing pictures, but I would say I am new to taking it seriously. I bought a couple used mirrorless(Oly) camera bodies, a few lenses, and spent the winter learning all I can.

Taking pictures is fun. Especially pictures of things you love to see and do.

I have downloaded several apps on my tablet to tinker with the images. Instagram filters are cheesy for the most part. I've been using Snapseed and Lightroom, along with a few others. Post production editing is a blast.

My question for those of you with some experience: how do you know when to stop editing? I don't want my images to scream "fake filtered garbage". But I do want colors to pop the way they do in person.

Adobe_20190324_111234-01.jpeg
Two things I love. My dog and the river. She hates the water.
 

wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
#2
The chance any of us are going to financially viable home runs with our hobbies is slim to none. Once you divorce yourself from that idea, who cares what others think about how you bring your ideas into the light of day? Personally that picture above I immediately notice the dog in the cloud and that makes it more interesting. What might be more fun is seeing someone's work you really like, and trying to do similar stuff. An artist you might be into who does cool things in monochrome is this guy, Mark Tansey. He's pure genius at tucking multiple ideas into one image:

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Skip Enge

Uck Uck Uck, bitches
#3
I played with image editing ... and the Adobe suite for 20 years... as a job and screwing around...I never thought of it as art per se'...franc and I came up with a wild idea...to write a imaginary script for an Ice show...Nosferatu on ice...a theme song and this poster...all for grins...and for me PS practice... 13043295_10206684104762843_6003143916588878981_n.jpg
 

jwg

Active Member
#4
I'm not new to taking fishing pictures, but I would say I am new to taking it seriously. I bought a couple used mirrorless(Oly) camera bodies, a few lenses, and spent the winter learning all I can.

Taking pictures is fun. Especially pictures of things you love to see and do.

I have downloaded several apps on my tablet to tinker with the images. Instagram filters are cheesy for the most part. I've been using Snapseed and Lightroom, along with a few others. Post production editing is a blast.

My question for those of you with some experience: how do you know when to stop editing? I don't want my images to scream "fake filtered garbage". But I do want colors to pop the way they do in person.

View attachment 197153
Two things I love. My dog and the river. She hates the water.
Have fun with it.
Snapseed is great.
But yes, don't overdo the HDR, drama, or saturation or structure.

Once you learn to recognize overdone images you can't unsee them, and they are everywhere.

Remembering how things looked and felt let to you, as you mentioned, is probably a good guide.

And remember, Ansel Adams did extensive burning and dodging his images in the darkroom.

J
 

Jake Watrous

(not really a sea otter)
#6
When you’re happy with it, stop. There is no such thing as a “pure” image. Your camera/phone interprets the data the sensor “sees” and makes a filtered version of reality because it can’t capture the dynamic range of contrast even your eyes can. Any settings you’ve got turned on, such as jpeg, edit that data more. Even if you’re shooting raw, you’ve got to convert the image (more filtering and changing) to even see it.

This is all before you even open the file in photoshop.
 

Jojo

Trout Thank Me
#7
What i don’t like that i see photographers do is overuse HDR. It really makes me crazy. If i were on Facebook still i could show y’all examples of one guy who shoots for the Blues Association. I shot for them too at an event and i think my photos looked a lot better because i didn’t even filter them. My lens is fast and does great in low light. But some folks just think HDR is so cool. I think it looks fake. You even see it in real estate on homes listed on Zillow and in VRBOs.
 

Jake Watrous

(not really a sea otter)
#9
What i don’t like that i see photographers do is overuse HDR. It really makes me crazy. If i were on Facebook still i could show y’all examples of one guy who shoots for the Blues Association. I shot for them too at an event and i think my photos looked a lot better because i didn’t even filter them. My lens is fast and does great in low light. But some folks just think HDR is so cool. I think it looks fake. You even see it in real estate on homes listed on Zillow and in VRBOs.
You don’t like the alien nightmare landscape look?
 

SpudFly

Should be fishing
#11
I have a fancy camera with a number of HDR options. I learned how to use them one winter and then performed a test. I took three pictures of a bright red church in my town in the wintertime.

3 shots. One was just standard. The next two had been altered greatly by my HDR functions. So much so that they looked comical to me.

I put all three up on a Facebook page that has 60,000 members that ARE NOT (mostly not) photographers. I asked them to vote for their favorite.

The most comical rendition of HDR fuckery won by a damned landslide. It was not even a contest.

Then I went over to another private Facebook site and presented my pictures to a professional photog friend of mine. He just laughed, but it got a good conversation going.

Keep in mind, these are completely unedited pictures. He had a lot of feedback and basically stated that your overblown images are going to be completely accepted everywhere outside of the photog world. So much so that they will be accepted as artistry to the rest. He remains thoroughly employed because he is the kind of hardy mf-er that will put himself in the most unbelievable places to catch shots mere mortals will never see with their eyes in a lifetime.

I experimented again. I took timed photos of myself on a snowy dock on a lake holding an umbrella. They were stark. I took them to a photo suite and changed that umbrella bright red. I repeated the social media experiment while even explaining that the three shots had been heavily doctored. I didn’t even really have a freakin clue what I was doing!

Same result. Doctored photo by a landslide.

All I’m saying is that 99.9% of the population has no idea what can be done in an editing suite. They just want to see “pretty”. The more unrealistic color and pop, shit that just doesn’t happen IRL, they don’t care.

The 0.1% shakes their heads.
 

Kyle Smith

DBA BozoKlown406
#12
My taste leans towards less fiddling but once in a while I will try something funky. It is more about learning something in the process of winging it than the final result for me.

View attachment 197228
I agree. At this point I guess it is all about trying stuff for me.

And yes, some of that new stuff involved making a camera preset that brackets 3 images for hdr. It seems like there are tasteful and necessary applications for hdr stacking, and something I want to learn.
 

Jojo

Trout Thank Me
#13
I have a fancy camera with a number of HDR options. I learned how to use them one winter and then performed a test. I took three pictures of a bright red church in my town in the wintertime.

3 shots. One was just standard. The next two had been altered greatly by my HDR functions. So much so that they looked comical to me.

I put all three up on a Facebook page that has 60,000 members that ARE NOT (mostly not) photographers. I asked them to vote for their favorite.

The most comical rendition of HDR fuckery won by a damned landslide. It was not even a contest.

Then I went over to another private Facebook site and presented my pictures to a professional photog friend of mine. He just laughed, but it got a good conversation going.

Keep in mind, these are completely unedited pictures. He had a lot of feedback and basically stated that your overblown images are going to be completely accepted everywhere outside of the photog world. So much so that they will be accepted as artistry to the rest. He remains thoroughly employed because he is the kind of hardy mf-er that will put himself in the most unbelievable places to catch shots mere mortals will never see with their eyes in a lifetime.

I experimented again. I took timed photos of myself on a snowy dock on a lake holding an umbrella. They were stark. I took them to a photo suite and changed that umbrella bright red. I repeated the social media experiment while even explaining that the three shots had been heavily doctored. I didn’t even really have a freakin clue what I was doing!

Same result. Doctored photo by a landslide.

All I’m saying is that 99.9% of the population has no idea what can be done in an editing suite. They just want to see “pretty”. The more unrealistic color and pop, shit that just doesn’t happen IRL, they don’t care.

The 0.1% shakes their heads.
YES! That is true about how the heavily edited photos win by a landslide. I wrote a blog piece with photographs for the owner of an ocean vacation rental. I barely tweaked the photos because i thought they were fine. The owner warned me ahead of time that she was going to edit one photo that she was using as the cover because it’s what folks responded to. (She also chose a photo for the cover that i never would have.) She totally oversaturated all of the color. But it’s evidently what people like. I’m no professional so i didn’t mind and i did appreciate that she told me ahead of time.

It kind of makes me crazy how everybody with a Smart phone thinks they are a photographer because they have all these filters to play with. Sometimes i feel like a Luddite when I use my Nikon to shoot photos...like i’m carrying around a huge camcorder from the 1980’s or listening to cassette tapes and cds on a boom box.
 
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GAT

Dumbfounded
#15
One of my art instructors told the class that you actually need two people for creating art (in this case, painting). You need the artist creating the work and you need someone behind them yelling for them to stop because it's done.

I keep that in mind when I create any artwork, including photo manipulation -- which, BTW, we used to do in the darkroom instead of on a computer so it really isn't all that new.