Raise your hand if you’ve spent hours painstakingly adjusting your photos and never feel quite happy with the results. No wonder! With so many editing apps, funky filters, and effects… What’s a girl to do?!

For starters, step away from your computer and stop over-editing your photos: Over-editing doesn’t make you a better photographer. I’m of the mindset that great images are made within the camera, not in editing software later. Hear me out… 

Great images make you feel something. They capture a genuine moment. Good photographers can read light like a book and use it to their advantage; they focus on the emotions of every little moment and memorialize those smiles and tears for eternity. Tell me—what editing software can do that? The answer is none.

Think you might be over-editing your photos?

Simplicity always wins in the creative process, which is why I keep my edits minimal so final images look natural, and I teach others to do the same. Here’s 6 signs to watch out for…

  1. Your images have unrealistic shadows and lighting.

Unrealistic, extremely dark shadows and unusual lighting often comes from applying too much contrast to your photos. Of course, a bit of contrast elevates the moodiness of your images, but don’t pull that slider past the point of no return.

  1. The saturation is too high in your photos.

Bright colours, while fun, aren’t always realistic. Too much saturation distracts from the image as a whole because the intense spots of colour take over. It eliminates fine details and overwhelms the composition and just doesn’t look natural, especially with people as the subject. You want your people to look human in the final images.

  1. You added an extreme vignette to the photo.

You never want to detract from the quality of your images, but applying an extreme vignette definitely does that. There’s a time and a place to use vignetting and it comes with practice—you need to find that perfect spot.

  1. You edited facial features to look unnatural.

People know that your model’s teeth aren’t actually that blinding white and that her eyes don’t sparkle like they do in an edited image. Skin too smooth; colours too saturated—you get the idea! These kinds of fixes remove the human feel from your photos, and without that feeling of humanity, your images won’t evoke the same emotions in your viewers. Imperfections add to the beauty of a moment.

  1. You added too much exposure.

For a while, over-exposed photos were trending on social media (a trend I didn’t want anything to do with!). Adding too much exposure to an image makes everything feel white and flat in the best case scenario. Worst case is blowing out the image.

  1. The detail is turned too low or high.

If you apply detail too high when editing photos, your final images will look almost pixelated with how sharp they are, which again doesn’t feel natural. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your detail is too low, then your edited images will look too soft or almost blurry.

How do you fix a tendency to over edit?

Over-editing comes from a combination of lack of practice and thrill of new tools. When we purchase new editing software, we get so excited about what it can do. Look, this platform is so powerful that I can make the sky pink! But that excitement wears off, so how do you find the perfect style without doing too much?

It just takes practice. But I know you’re a busy person, so I want to save you some time! My new presets are a simplified solution to enrich your images… perfect for non-photographers or new photographers stuck in the editing phase.