Whether you are a professional photographer or are just the one in charge of editing family pictures every single year, you know that there are various problems that can befall even the simplest photo shoots. But once all of the pictures are taken and they are on your computer, waiting to be edited, then you might wonder just how much editing needs to be done.

There is a difference between editing your photos and over-editing, and knowing that difference is the difference between keeping the spirit of the original photo and over-editing the picture into something that looks… well, over-edited and inauthentic. Here’s what you need to know about retouching a photo and over-editing it because it is a lesson you need to learn.

What Is Retouching A Photo?

Retouching an image is either adding or taking away something from the image, and it is generally done to provide a touch-up to the picture as a whole. Say for example you had a stain on your shirt from earlier in the day, have a blemish, scar, or acne on your face, or one single hair is out of place. Before the entire batch of photos is completely ruined, know that all of that can fall under the category of retouching, and most of these can be edited away.

Retouching generally covers small improvements that are mostly cosmetic in nature or that remove distractions. However, there are also extensive retouches that are much bigger improvements and they will take some more time. These massive changes require some advanced techniques and often use specialized programs and tools.

These might include changing the background of the image, removing people from the background, adding effects or digital makeup to the people in the image, and changing the color of the sky.

What Is Editing A Photo?

Whenever you edit a photo, you are using basic manipulation techniques to change the image. These can include changing the lighting and color temperature, the contrast and white balance of an image, or making the image brighter or darker. Additionally, one of the major edits that you do to large groups of photos is culling them because not every single picture makes the cut.

Culling photos includes removing all of the pictures that you aren’t going to use for whatever reason. Maybe someone got in the way, wasn’t smiling wide enough, had their eyes closed, or one of a million other reasons that cause you to toss the picture. Once the culling is complete, you then get to edit all the photos you have left with a tool like Picsart photo editor.

Edits Vs Retouching: What Is The Difference?

The biggest difference is the time it takes. Most edits are very simple and will take only a few minutes to do, or even a few seconds and they mostly keep the photo as is without changing it too much. However, retouching a photo takes much longer, even with the right tools, and it often changes the photo to fit the artistic vision of the photographer or the clients.

What Happens When You Over-Edit A Photo?

Like with all things, it can be very easy to over-edit a photo, especially whenever you are just starting out and seeing all of the things that your editing tools can do. But over-editing a photo can make your pictures look unrealistic and fake, and it can leave both you and your clients unsatisfied.

For example, when you create a new logo, over-editing the image can lead to unnatural colors and too much brightness, as well as your photo feeling ‘too crisp.’ The best thing to do if you find yourself falling into the trap of over-editing your photos is to step away from your computer for a little while and just take a break. Then come back and see how you feel.

Additionally, if any of your values (such as brightness or contrast) is way too high, then try dialing it back about halfway and then see if the photo looks better. You might find that less is indeed more.

Whether you are retouching, editing, or trying to dial back from over-editing, at the end of the day you are going to get a perfect photo! So keep on working until you smile as wide as the faces you are looking at!

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