Top 3 Most Frequent Photo Editing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Top 3 Most Frequent Photo Editing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

We have outlined 3 of the most common mistakes photographers make when it comes to Photoshop or another editing application.

When it comes to retouching in Photoshop, there are thousands of ways one could use to achieve a certain result, especially when it comes to photo designing. In this blog post we are not going to go into massive depth with step by step tutorials. We will quickly gloss over it. If as a beginning retoucher you’ve never used luminosity masking, for example, you can turn on your fantasy by playing with new selections, using different fills and adjustment layers, etc.

We have outlined 3 of the most common mistakes photographers make when it comes to Photoshop or another editing application. If you identify any of these in your own workflow, it's high time to change something. Remember the golden rule: if a technique is new to you, go straight to that help file and then tinker with any Top Ten Google tutorials.

1. Quick skin retouching

If you are going to retouch skin, you need pay attention to the details and not lose your patience. If you’re learning from online tutorials, you’re going to receive a lot of bad habits. Unfortunately, the Internet has always had a preference for a quick and easy study. To be honest, it isn’t real to become a skillful skin editor in five or ten steps. You have to spend many hours on reading retouching pieces of advice, practicing and asking other professional photographers for help. The one most involved and controlled method to get professional skin results is dodging and burning pixels and groups of pixels, and, be sure, it’s going to take you hours rather than minutes. That is called Pro retouching and it’s difficult, but real to repeat. Dodging and burning is the standard technique for High End retouching to clean up the skin. The problem with this way of processing is that it requires some degree of precision. Photographers and retouchers tend to zoom way too much into the photo to edit it.

Using frequency separation to retouch the skin has become something very popular in the last few years. This technique allows you to separate colors from the texture of a picture in order to process them separately. One more way of retouching is contouring, which helps you to reshape the face using shadows and highlights. When working with this technique, many editors tend to be really heavy handed. To get rid of it, first we recommend for you to use a graphic tablet and try using a very low opacity and flow in order to build up the intensity.


2. Don’t forget to retouch the whole picture

Another very common beginner mistake is to concentrate entirely on one area, often it is the face. You should always make sure to spend enough time catching distracting flyaway hairs, dust spots and marks on backgrounds, and never neglect the rest of the skin and clothes. Sometimes it is better to minimize post processing in order not to make a lot of mistakes. It looks so horrible when you see skin blur techniques belted with a uniform type of noise and level of sharpness, and of course an independent blob of face in the middle of the shot.

These mistakes are often present not just in amateur photographer’s or retoucher’s works. The most frequent professional retoucher’s failure is to retouch only the face (blurred); that’s why the disparity between the texture of the face and other parts of body can be noticed. Remember to look at a picture as a full image, and never forget to pay attention to the photo as a whole. Pro glamour portrait retouching can be a very difficult process, you can read about that in the post about Photo Retouching for Nude Photographers.

3. Removing or retaining character marks

In portrait photography the photo represents a person, his/her character, and mood. I agree, before having any photo session, you have to be prepared, pick up the necessary camera and the lens, choose the right place outside or in the studio, and don’t forget about light, clothes, or The Basic Rules About Posing A Model. After a hard photographer’s work, then many long hours of portrait photos post-processing comes. Though there are Simple Photo Tricks To Minimize Post Processing, almost every client asks for the removal of blemishes and spots, a mole or a freckle. It’s natural, because they want to beautify themselves. Unless asked, don’t pass on your judging opinion that your client would look better without that beauty spot.

Removing blemishes is a quick and easy process, but can be sometimes very effective, especially with wedding portraits. The most important thing is not to go too far. Do not remove permanent scars, moles or other disfigurements unless specifically asked to do so. What you should be focusing on is removing small blemishes, spots, sunburn or anything that will be gone in a short period of time anyway. The person could have had a late night before the wedding and has dark circles under the eyes or cuts and/or razor burn from shaving. So, the client decides that you should do with his/her picture having read your retouching pricelist with all of the conditions of editing services you suggest and only then can you decide what to get rid of.

A few tips and tricks

Don't go the long way round - use existing shortcuts or create your own. Don’t forget to create layers, it will help greatly in keeping your project organized and save you much time and hassle over the long term. It can sound strange, but designing in CMYK mode in Photoshop is not always the best way to retouch, especially when you are going to print your final edited shots. Using CMYK can be limited, some filters and functions can be locked, and the file size will be much bigger. Photo restoration software is a great company for any editor. Photoshop is a very helpful tool, but isn't necessarily the perfect software for every retouching task. Please, do remember, that Photoshop's default resolution is 72dpi (dots per inch), which is fine for the web. But this resolution should not be used for print.

If you’re looking for other retouchers to bounce ideas around with read the post about The best photo retouchers in the World.

If you need help, try Fix The Photo image editing service. We offer post production services for photographers including editing, cropping, color correction, airbrushing and artistic retouching. Look at our retouching examples and photo editing prices.




Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.




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