There­­ is much opinion over the need to edit photographs as some traditional photographers still live by the rule of take the shot right the first time. Mostly, these are your more mature and experienced pro photographers schooled in film, in comparison to the digital format and mixed mind set of today’s photographers and the constant change in trends.

The days of darkrooms, choice of paper, as well as film preference, contributed to the result of the final print, and of course a true and dedicated understanding and passion for the “TRUE MANUAL” offered in a film camera.

Darkroom verse Digital

Of course, we have noticed there has been a major shift from print to digital in today’s commercial and social requirements, where the majority of images taken are for social media and sharing platforms that are online rather than the focus of print as a primary resource of sharing and displaying visual content. Print is more specific to certain commercial media and genre and also more time consuming and costly.

Again, with the ease of digital, as soon as you click and shoot the image is already saved and viewable and ready to be downloaded to your computer or mobile device. Yes, so quick and easy. Note that when shooting on film, the process is very different, you will need to have the images drum scanned before you are able to start with any form of digital editing, this again is costly and not always part of the brief nor the budget.

Best formats for Editing Digital Images

Digital cameras generally offer 2 options in the menu that will affect the size and quality outcome of the image. The choice is all about what the end user wishes to do with the image as indicated below:

Shooting for online and social media

Jpeg format is the common choice for photographers who shoot with their mobile camera devices as well as for social and online usage, as the file sizes are small and will load faster.

Shooting professionally

RAW format is the more chosen option for intermediate and pro photographer as the file sizes are hugely different and therefore, being so much larger that jpeg, support more detail for editing purposes, literally anything up to 500% larger. So, once again, I stress it is all about preference and final use for that image.

Now for the Editing Process

I am sure it is clear now to you that RAW images will benefit more from an edit than a jpeg, due to the concentration of the pixels on the canvass size according to “camera specs”.

The confusion often arises over when to say the image is edited enough and when to stop and save. Photographers will often over edit an image, making it false and destroying or changing the intended moment once the button clicked. Personally, as a more traditional photographer, my pet hate is an over edited image, for example when the skin has no more texture and so flat that you can barely make out the persons face… I am sure you get what I mean. Again, this is just my opinion. There is reason for plugins and apps that people use on their cameras and mobile phones that do amazing editing and post to a photograph, but all in moderation. I do appreciate art, so keep it all coming… the great thing about visual content is that we all appreciate something different.

Are you a photographer or an artist of some kind? Once you can answer this question you will have an overall understand of the purpose of editing.

Try shoot right first time, so editing will be limited. Nothing wrong with a basic crop and straighten and an adjustment on the color correction, but don’t go to wild, as the more you edit and use these amazing plugins and filters, the more the quality of the image is destroyed – FACT.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not “anti-edit” and biased only toward traditional. Often you are required to change a background, drop in a logo, take out certain blemishes, but these are commercial the instructions from the client to you. A trained eye will always identify an image that has been edited or manipulated, it is often the reason that competitive submissions stipulate that images be submitted without editing.