TO EDIT (or not to Edit)

To Edit (or not to Edit your photos)?

Interesting question.   I don’t have the eyesight to do much editing now I’m back to wearing thick glasses.   I wore contact lenses for 40 years with the last few years being bi-focal contact lenses. (don’t ask me how bi-focal contact lenses work – they just do – surprisingly).


I don’t like over-saturated colour or over-edited images, but as I can’t really get perfect images outdoors, or even indoors, now, most of my photos need a tiny bit of ‘tweaking’.

  1. BEFORE……..

2. ………AFTER

I don’t have the time, or the interest, in photo editing.

Most of my early images are a bit dark – probably from living in an old dark un-renovated 1960s apartment for many years.   I probably didn’t lighten my poorly exposed images enough.

  1.  BEFORE……..
Pacific Black Duck

2.  ………AFTER (and on reviewing this image this morning,  I decided it was too light, but can’t seem to edit this very old photo and darken the shadows a bit more again).

Pacific Black Duck

It’s only now that I live in a modern apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows with superb light that I can see how dark my old images are.     I used to be able to ‘fix’ my old images after I updated computers or software, but for some reason, since I got the new iMac in May this year when my old laptop crashed, I can’t seem to revert my old images back to the original to fix some over-editing errors.   (of course, all you professional, or serious amateur photographers are going to say I should have shot in ‘raw’, or ‘raw’ and ‘jpeg’, NOT just ‘jpeg’).

  1. BEFORE……
Australian Pelican

2.   ……….AFTER

Australian Pelican

(And if you can’t see the difference in the 2 Australian Pelican images you’ve got worse eyesight than me  😀  ).

I used to shoot hundreds and hundreds of images in the one afternoon back in the early years of my photography hobby – 2010 to 2015 – and I found shooting in RAW took up too much room on my memory card and secondly, I wasn’t interested in photo editing anyway.

So I just shot in jpeg as they were quicker to review.

Since I love photography (more than gardening 🙂 ), I do actually used my Apple Mac’s photo-editing software.   I don’t proclaim to be a great photographer, but if you’re new to photography and would like to improve your images a wee bit without learning Lightroom, Photoshop and all the zillion other photo editing software packages out there these days, check out your computer’s in-house software.

……..and if you DO have an Apple Mac (for example), just go to the main editing screen and press the AUTO exposure button and the AUTO definition button and you’ll find just those 2 corrections in your basic Apple photo software, might be all you need to improve your images to your satifaction. (Note: I find the AUTO ‘ sharpening’ button can make your images too sharp, but you can always move the sharpening slider manually).

If you think the AUTO button is making your image too light, you can always go to the ‘slider’ under the AUTO button and slide the exposure back a wee bit manually.

In the tree/path image below, I thought the end of the visible path looked a bit crooked so I straightened the image a tiny bit.   Just a fraction.   Just enough to please my overall vision of a balanced image.   The AUTO definition button also made the tree look to be in better focus.   (Of course, you can also use the AUTO sharpening button, but I quite like the ‘definition‘ auto button better than the ‘sharpen‘ auto button).

  1.   BEFORE…….

2.     …………AFTER

That is, apart from learning to hold the camera perfectly still  😀  (or learning how to use a tripod, monopod, fence, tree or some other object to help you reduce camera movement).

I sometimes crop off a 1/4″, (or more as in the image below), or even a couple of sides.   I sometimes touch up or erase some rubbish in the water (with a duck swimming in a pond).  I sometimes erase a leaf, or tiny cloud in the sky, if I don’t like it.

  1.   BEFORE……..

2.    …………AFTER (I really just wanted to show the beetroot starting to grow, so the rest of the image was superfluous).

Like a painter, or other artist (which I was for a while), I half-close my eyes and stand back from the 27″ screen and if anything stands out too much I might even erase anything that distracts what I want to say with my image.

Admittedly, most of the images on my Nature blog are merely to illustrate a story, not win a photo competition.

But no amount of editing will improve a really bad photo, OR where you chopped a bird’s head off (as you couldn’t see because the sun was in your eyes, below).

In the image(s) below, I was concentrating so hard on getting the duck’s eye in focus, I didn’t realise until I got home and downloaded the day’s shooting, that I’d chopped the bird’s feet off the bottom.

…..and another one of ‘missing feet’

Since I’ve been photographing the Fairy-wrens on my balcony, with my elbows on my desk to steady the heavy long 150-500mm lens, I just aim to catch the little b$%#! within the frame.   Forget composition.   Forget light.  Mostly, I just have to pick the camera up and catch the wren before it flies away.   Even changing the camera setting to continuous shooting doesn’t help catch those fast little wrens.

I have deleted dozens/hundreds of shots like the one below.  Sometimes, the photo is completely empty of bird-life because I had the shutter speed too slow, or I was too slow in holding the camera still.

Don’t aim for perfection.   Aim for an image you like.   You don’t always have to have your subject in sharp focus either.   Sometimes soft focus is kind of nice too.

If after lots of practice, practice & more practice, reading tutorials or books and studying the work of great Photographers, you still can’t take a photo you like, move on.

You can probably play football or bake a cake better than take a photo.

We all have something we’re good at.

I wish I’d taken up photography as a hobby 45 years ago, but then, I guess I wouldn’t have had the spare time or patience I have today.

I’m a great lover of uplifting (or inspirational) quotes and I read these ones by Steve Jobs  & Anna Quindlen recently……

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma,
which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions
drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary.

~ Steve Jobs ~

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing,
is giving up on being perfect
and beginning the work of becoming yourself.

~ Anna Quindlen ~


I still like Black & White photography the best…… 😀

This shot may not have the sharpest focus, but I love the balance of black, white and grey. I love the light feathers against the dark background AND the dark feathers against the light background.  I like the DOF (Depth of Focus).