Image Post-Processing Overdose

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Image Noise

I had to go back to my old­er mobile phone images to illus­trate the issue. This is an image where you def­i­nite­ly get col­or noise if you lift the shad­ows too much, as it was way under­ex­posed for the statue:

Before After
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Too much cropping

To be fair, this time we had more images in the com­pe­ti­tion which would need more crop­ping, but we had some too tight­ly cropped. The author cropped away a dis­tract­ing back­ground, but the sub­ject (a bird in low flight) was now too close to the top frame bor­der. It looked like the top bor­der was push­ing the bird down. An image like that where you can’t get it right — if you crop, it looks bad — if you don’t crop, it is not great either. The best option is to not enter it into a com­pe­ti­tion at all. But some­times you didn’t notice until the judge points it out. Les­son learned. That’s why we have these com­pe­ti­tions, to learn from mistakes.

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Halos because of over-sharpening

This hap­pens way too much. I’ll tack­le that in more detail in a future arti­cle, because it is worth under­stand­ing what caus­es it. The image above also had that issue (you prob­a­bly noticed that). I’ll show you what I mean with halos:

Land­scape images have often that chal­lenge around the area where the sky meets the land/mountain/sea. Watch these areas close­ly when you apply sharpening.

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Where and when to crop is often a mat­ter of taste. I crop when I want to remove dis­tract­ing things, when I want a dif­fer­ent aspect ratio or when there is too much space around the sub­ject. Let’s have a look at this bird here.

Crop out the twig in the right upper corner?

Get rid of the twig in the upper right corner.

Twig gone, too close crop!

Well, the twig is gone, but now the crop is too close!

Even worse! Leave space in front of the head.

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