Monday, October 25, 2010

Why don't my photos look like that?

I've often looked at other people's blogs and wondered why my pictures never look like theirs.  Some have bright colors and slighly over exposed lighting, others have muted colors and antique-like looks.  Why don't my pictures ever look like theirs do?

It hit me one day, all the photos that I like on those blogs are edited.  They don't come straight out of the camera looking like that.  I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out.  I mean, to most, it's obvious that pictures don't come out of the camera with a texture overlay, but to me, it took some kind of realization--most photographers edit their photos.

It started with an idea I had for a macro shot.  I had this great picture in my head, but as many shots as I took, I could't get the look right.  This is what I wanted my shot to look like:
This is what kept coming out of the camera:
After a lot of frustration of my SOOC pictures not turning out like I thought they should, I turned to photo editing.  Low and behold, after a little work, my photo was extremely close to what I had pictured in my head!  Huh.
Here's another example...
This is what I envisioned my portrait of Tottie should look like (minus her hand in the way)...
 This is what came out of the camera...
Duh!  It's all in the editing!

I was so happy about my new found realization when I happened across the photography part of this post.  She says
"Oh, and the mommies that think because they have a camera, photoshop, and kids that they are automatically photographers. I have seen SO many over photoshopped, over processed pictures around the blogs lately and its really starting to make me twitch."
That quote really got me thinking...Are we over editing our pictures? Is it wrong for me to think that the majority of the (non-tutorial) pictures on my blog are subpar because they are SOOC and not editied?  Would you guys have thought Tottie's SOOC portrait was great before I showed you the edited version? 

I'm torn between wanting my photos to look like everyone elses (and what the idea I had in my head) and not wanting to spend all my time editing them.  Just because I can edit my photos, does it mean I should?  What do you think?  Do you edit all your photos?  Is there such thing as too much photo editing? 

While your comments are appreciated here on my blog, I would love for you to join a discussion in my community on this topic.  I'm really interested to learn people's thoughts on photo editing!  Click HERE to join the discussion.  Not a member of my community?  It's free and easy to join!

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LauraC said...

I'm leaving my comments here because literally my life is too busy to join another forum or discussion or anything!

I think photo editing is a gradual learning process. People tend to over edit at first because you can do cool stuff to pictures! Then over time, you will see their personal style come to the forefront. We are learning so cut us a break as we investigate what we like.

I don't agree that all pictures displayed should be SOOC shots if YOU are not happy with them. I can name a few reasons. White balance (not realistic to always use grey cards with moving children subjects), file size (too big!), crop factor (my pictures are automatically 10x12, I like to crop them to 4x6 since that's what I print).

A couple more things I will say on the topic. You host your photos through blogger right now and they do their own compression on the photos. I moved hosting my photos to flickr when I realized how much quality I was losing. Here is a before and after post:

Also I cringe when I see my earlier photo editing. Very heavy handed. I've spent a lot of time trying to get everything perfect in camera so now I do very little editing. But who knows? It is all subjective. Maybe you think I overedit! ha!

Mom of M&Ms said...

I posted on your community..I hope I can across as what works for me is not what I require of others...

Heather said...

I do edit my photos but I think it's just an opinion about the over editing.
While I think Tottie's SOOC photo is very adorable, I think the edit just gave it that special kick and now it looks even more adorable.
I'm not a fan of editing out our normal everyday splotches and trying to make our skin look perfect, but I do like a boost in color and lighting.
You should check out my last Before and After I did from last week, it doesn't look overly edited but I still added it to Monica's (at Pixel Perfect)blog hop because in my editing program I noticed a huge difference between the SOOC and edit and I thought it looked great. But, it wasn't over done. It doesn't mean that is wrong if I did. I just happened to like the way that simple edit came out.

Jessica Stier said...

I think editing is a learning process just like using the camera and learning how to "see" the photo before you actually take the photo. Experimentation is how we learn what our style actually is. I don't think there is anything wrong with over editing once in a while. It can be a fun way to experiment with your photo and turn it into art instead of just a snapshot or camera doodle.
Personally, I feel like I am just now learning enough to barely be heavy handed. I am learning what I like and what I don't like. I have learned that I don't like photos that over saturate the skin tones so much that it loses details. I am happy that I know enough to know that. :)

Great post!

{:miss v:} said...

I think it should depend on what the individual wants to do. I edit all my photos. Why? Because I like to and I like how they turn out. I agree that at the beginning, my photos were 'heavy handed' when it came to my editing but over time, I've found my style and what I like.

Everyone has a time of learning and those who've been doing it for awhile need to remember that and know they were once there too.

Love your edited version!

Catharine @Bliss Photography said...

I think a lot of photos follow trends and get over done. Selective color is one. You figure out how to do it and all of a sudden, you go crazy and every photo with color is a new subject. First, learn your camera, next learn some basic editing, then play if the photo still needs a pop. This is why I love Lightroom. I can make sure my photos are good (sharp eyes, good exposure, good light) then if something is needed then I'll do it. I actually run all my photos through now. I used to just keep my family ones as is, but with Lightroom it is easy and helps me sort them as well. good luck finding your editing balance!

Patty Ann said...

I too, have discoved photo editing. I do think it can be overused, but I also think it is a matter of taste. I am enjoying taking pictures and editing my photos for myself and my family. If other people like them, great, if they don't, that is fine too. I do love trying to get just the right shot and I am trying to learn how to use my camera better so that I don't need to "depend" on editing software. A lot of what I am learning is making the heavy handed editing unnecessary. I just love shooting pictures and am so enjoying the digital format that lets me shoot everything!

*Jess* said...

I've learned from reading so many photography blogs that editing can be used to ENHANCE your photo, not correct it. Make sure its exposed properly in camera and then you won't even need to edit it later. Textures, actions, and presets can be fun, though! Its all about opinion!

Heidi said...

I think cropping and basic light adjustments (like the PP who mentioned getting lighting right with active kids) are fine to do on every picture, but sometimes it's not that needed. I want to remember my kids as they are. I do not edit every photo (other than cropping which I do to almost everything). Sometimes, however, I play with other things!

Unplanned Cooking said...

Great blog - glad I landed on it. I do edit to get shadows off etc but haven't taken it to the next level yet. And I don't have a problem with the editing; I think part of editing is an art, taking what the world around us looks like + putting our special touch on it. We all choose to edit differently :).

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