Six signs that you’ve over-processed your landscape photo

Tips & Techniques

When you edit a landscape photo, it’s easy to get carried away. I know I’ve been guilty of it even years after being into photography. And many times, it’s not even easy to see when you’ve gone overboard. In this video, Mark Denney gives you six signs that will help you recognize when you’ve gone too far with the image editing. And when you learn to recognize them, they’ll help you improve your post-processing skill.

1. Detailed highlights

When you shoot into the sun, you will often get blown out sky. Thankfully, if you shoot RAW, you can bring back a lot of detail in the sky by bringing down the highlights. However, this will result in an unrealistic, overly detailed sun.

You can fix this by bringing down the highlights but then applying a radial filter to the sun. Add a bit of negative Dehaze, Texture and Contrast to make it brighter and more realistic. This will bring back those details in the sky without making the sun too detailed.

2. Dark corners

Dark corners appear if you add too much vignette to your image, and the point of a vignette is to be subtle and almost invisible. So, how can you tell? If you look at the photo and immediately see the vignette, you’ve added too much and need to tone it down.

3. Crunchy

Mark calls this sign “crunchy,” and I guess you can already tell what it is: oversharpening your photos. You can notice it when you zoom in and see “crunchy” surfaces. Also, you’ll know that you’ve overdone it if you see halos around distinct edges (like tree branches against the bright sky).

4. Heavy contrast

Sometimes we’re tempted to add more contrast than necessary, and we end up adding way too much. You’ll notice it when you look at the shadow area of your photo and see that you’ve lost all the detail in there.

5. Vivid shadows

This is quite the opposite of the previous one, and it’s about cranking up the shadows too much. It’s awesome that we can recover the detail in underexposed photos, but we don’t want to lose the shadows completely. If your photo gets an unrealistic look that resembles bad HDR, if the lighting looks flat, it means you’ve gone too far.

6. Color overload

Many of us have been there, especially in the beginning: oversaturating. It’s tricky to tell when you overdo it with saturation, which why it’s one of the most common mistakes people make.

But the solution always exists. Edit the photo the way you like it and walk away. Then, revisit the image an hour, two, or even a day later if you can give it that much time. Give your eyes some time to reset, you’ll see the photo differently when you get back to it.

I suggest that you also view the “before” and “after” of your photo when you’re done. This will help you determine how far you’ve gone from the original image and if you need to tone it down, and this is something I often do when I edit landscape photos in Lightroom.

Do you have any telltale signs that tell you when you’ve gone overboard with editing?

[6 Signs You’ve OVER-DEVELOPED Your Landscape Photo! | Mark Denney]

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