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How much do you edit in your digital photos?

by Marc Bennett CNET staff/forum admin / July 25, 2006 6:27 AM PDT

How much do you edit in your digital photos?

I change something in every photo (really?)
I edit most of my photos, but not all (what do you change?)
I don't alter very many photos
I never edit any photos (why not?)
I don't know how to edit them

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Editing Digital Photos
by Dreslinski59 / July 25, 2006 10:20 AM PDT

I LOVE digital photography although I don't use all the features that my Canon Rebel Xt offers. I do edit many of my photos- I like to try adjusting the color, crop them, use Sepia or black and white. All sorts of things!

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some i edit, some I dont
by mittens / July 25, 2006 10:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Editing Digital Photos

I edit for contrast and brightness, mostly, since Im usually working outside and my sony mavica doesn't give me enough control over light and dark. Also, I will crop some, but not many, and if it's poor enough to need extensive work, then it's gonna show no matter what I do. I try to take a wide range of shots of one thing when I can, and usually will get one or two real keepers from that.

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Some I edit, some I don't
by papa3131 / July 25, 2006 12:31 PM PDT

I mostly crop the pics I take but got Adobe Photoshop CS2 and you can do some wild things with that. Having great fun with all involving digital. Can't imagine being without.

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Editing pictures
by gvosburgh / July 25, 2006 10:37 PM PDT

I mostly adjust the brightness and contrast using Photoshop Elements.I took 100 pics outdoors last weekend at a kids party.Some of them were in the shade and came out to dark.

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Editing Photos
by helenw4 / July 29, 2006 4:46 PM PDT
In reply to: Editing pictures

I also use Adobe Photo Delux Elements for adjusting coloring on the photos.
Find it very convenient, and also very easy to do. What I don't understand why one photo will be just right, and the next one will be dark, where I need to lighten it. What am I doing wrong??
Just purchased a KODAK C330, seems to do very well, but am still practicing with it. The other Digital Camera was a Kyocera, which I was very happy with, except slow in between taking photos.

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Reply to Editing Photos
by BobCPhoto / July 30, 2006 6:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Editing Photos

This is a common problem but is fairly easy to fix IF you have the time and the right equipment. First, not all editing programs, printers, and computer monitor screens are all calibrated to work together BUT they can be made to do so. Such programs as X-RITE's MonacoEZColor and Pulse help you calibrate all of these so that what ever you see on your monitor screen is what you will get when you print it out. If you are serious about this I recommend that you check several of these programs out. Don't necessarily get the least expensive (you get what you pay for) but check to see if you think that it will (1) fit your computer and editing program and (2) fit your needs (pocketbook). All serious and professional who make prints with the idea of selling them calibrate their computer, scanner, printer, monitor screen, etc. frequently as to changing paper, inks, etc., just to BE SURE that they are putting out the correct color. By the way, don't forget to calibrate your camera also as this can make a big differfence!!!

There are other ways but not as exact as calilbrating the color monitor, erc.. Check your computer manual to see what MODE your screen is showing, and be sure that your editing output (editing and printing) is the same thing. If they are not there will be a difference. Not the best way, but sometimes it works pretty well in a pinch - but maybe not ALL the time. Good Luck!

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Why I edit the ones I do
by vegwriter / July 25, 2006 3:16 PM PDT

Often I'll reduce the size, because I e-mail them more often than print them out, and if I didn't make them smaller, they'd take too long for some people to download.

I sometimes crop them to create a close-up shot, like of one particular baby duck among 10 that hatched in a planter on my lanai. This one duckling had unusual coloring and I named him Sunflower Seed. He was to me as Maddox must have been to Angelina when she saw him.

Sometimes I'll adjust the brightness, like when a night shot needs it.

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I edit a few
by mlc465782 / July 25, 2006 9:34 PM PDT

What I have found is that I generally need to edit for color, brightness, and I generally do crop a lot of my photos. This lets me get a few more good shots from a vacation, etc. The old saying was if you got a few really good shots from a roll of film you were doing good. now I would guess it would be add a few more to that old algorithm.

But I still find it difficult to trash digital photos that are so-so, so now where I had boxes full of photos when I used film, I now have a hard drive (and/or CD) full of photos that really shouldn't be 'keepers'

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I edit most of my photos
by mandrewwhiteman / July 25, 2006 10:37 AM PDT

I use film. When I scan old prints, I have to adjust the brightness and tint to view on screen or online. I also adjust the size to use fewer pixels on photos which I post online.

I have not need to edit processed film converted to digital format but may have to edit size if I want to post in the future.

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What I edit.
by hardwarethree / July 25, 2006 1:24 PM PDT


I'm currently seeking PhotoShop certification. I've learned how to calibrate my monitor and printer. Now I don't do a whole lot of editing since I understand more of what is required with digital photography.
Most of edits tend to be Auto Color and Curves with some cropping.
When I initially got into PhotoShop I would twiddle and fiddle with a lot of the features. Now it is about getting my work done and doing something else like play my acoustic guitar;)

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Stuff I edit
by katsmeowcom / July 25, 2006 10:38 AM PDT

When we have a big family group together I take a picture of the group with a hole left in it for me. Then I go to the spot where the hole was, the others leave, and my daughter-in-law takes a picture of me. Later I combine the pictures in Paint Shop Pro so the whole family is in the shot.

I clone out things like electric lines and telephone poles in scenic photos, adjust gamma and color, crop of course, straighten pictures when I held the camera crooked or there's a horizontal line that runs up or down hill. Then, as most of my photos are for online or email use, I optimize them for fast download on the web.

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I edit 100% of my digital photos
by marge201 / July 25, 2006 10:39 AM PDT

Kodak EasyShare Software has a button "enhance" which makes 99% of the pictures better. It brightens them. It can even make a formerly bad too dark pic usable and decent. And the cropping is easy and effective.

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Personal taste
by tbcass / July 25, 2006 8:12 PM PDT

It may be personal taste or the fact that my camera gives such good results straight out but to me that Easy Share enhance feature ruins every photo so I never use it.


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I edit very few photos...
by slahone / July 25, 2006 10:45 AM PDT

but that is because, first, I am not a pro, I do not earn a living that way, and frankly, I am going to get criticized Wink whether I edit them or not. So I might as well enjoy the time doing other things instead; and second, I really do not know how to edit them to make any substantial improvement to them.

Frankly, I have seen edited pictures from pros, and the original, for a few pictures at least, and it does make a world of difference, if you know what to do and how to do it. Obviously, I don't!

For me the biggest plus for digital has been that I don't have to worry about that possibly messed-up shot any more. Now I know!

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It's an obsession!
by omeo0526 / July 25, 2006 11:10 AM PDT

Just knowing that I could make every photo better makes me almost have to do it. I can't stand to see the sky in an otherwise beautiful photo fading to white or the darn scab on the kids face, or crumbs on their mouth that were missed before the photo was shot. Of course, the blue gray sand on the beach looks so cool when its just a little bit saturated...Help!I am trying to stop...

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Obsessed, too
by xotic224 / July 26, 2006 6:57 AM PDT
In reply to: It's an obsession!

It's part making every photo a bit better and part getting the editing software to do my bidding. I especially like working with red eye reduction. I'm pretty good at people but dogs are really difficult!

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Not many both deserve editing and need editing.
by wsmontgomery / July 25, 2006 11:20 AM PDT

I have 25,000 shots since July 2004 on my dSLR and a few thousand more on a couple of pocket dCAMs. Many are done for web pages of an event like a birthday or independence day celebration. Then several hundred shots will be examined, 10% will be white balanced, and exposre corrected as needed very few if any will be cropped and the web page created. Shots done for artistic purposes get much more care as do surveillance photos and other pro shoots.

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I do some editing
by barkeypf / July 25, 2006 11:34 AM PDT

Most times it's red eye or the white thru black balance. I will at times increase saturation. In general I like to try to take a photo properly the 1st time. I try pay attetion to what is in most pictures before i shoot.If I feel like playing I will use cloning or the healing feature on my Adobe Elements

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Shutter Lag
by TreknologyNet / July 25, 2006 2:17 PM PDT
In reply to: I do some editing

The only reason I have to edit a digital photo is to re-frame it if the subject has moved too far during the shutter lag. I am as ruthless in discarding images that aren't quite what I want as I am with film.

I may take a few more risks with digital, but a bad result will still be discarded rather than "patched up".

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I edit mine...
by mynaray / July 25, 2006 11:51 AM PDT

I do edit my photos, if I think it looks dull I tend to make it look better

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Editing my digital fotos
by maxibemis / July 25, 2006 11:56 AM PDT

I change pretty much all of my digital (and scanned in older fotos) fotos all the time.
I tend to need to crop the images to suit my own personal likes and dislikes and I most of the time like to add a 2 to 4 pixel black border around them to give them a bit of a frame to them.
I rarely add drop shadows, as this can be done later on, for certain things, like maybe posting on the web or something.

And yes, it's true.
Once you get a digital camera, you WILL end up with far more images then you ever thought possible in your life! LOL

BTW, I am very happy I signed up for the newsletter from CNET, it really has come in handy with the various and helpfull story topics and other infos.
Thanx for that, CNET, you guys rock! Happy


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I edit most of my photos!!!
by Ron Geiken / July 25, 2006 12:03 PM PDT

I take a lot of portrait pictures inside with dim lighting, and have to do a lot of red eye correction. Except for the red eye, most of my photos turn out pretty good. Occasionally I also crop my photos. My basic camera resolution is 1600 X 1200, so cropped photos still have good resolution. If the conditions where you are photographing are less than ideal, don't worry about it, you can almost always clean things up with a photo editing program. I use both Irfanview and Picasa 2. Irfanview is great for renaming the photos. I usually do this right on my camera Secure Digital chip. Then I download the pictures into Picasa 2 and clean them up there. Both of these programs are free, and they do a good job of improving my pictures. If you have thousands of photos in your computer like I do, Picasa 2 will really help you keep track of them and let you find them when you need them.

Unless you have a more sophisticated photo program, I would recommend downloading both of these and learn how to use them so you can improve your photographs.

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Edit most, not all, depending on needs
by merchContractor / July 25, 2006 12:06 PM PDT

I don't claim to be an expert on editing photos, but I do know my own photo editing softwares on my computer, so I am only an "expertise" on the software programs I own. I only edit the ones that I need to edit for particular things I do, which most of the time is for the business I'm in - independent contracting for various jobs (marketing, real estate appraisals), and when the client I'm doing a job for asks for certain photos, I want to use the best editing I can for their needs as well. When I take the photos I need on my digital, I make sure they're in the correct format (800X600, etc) and lighting and all of that, then upload to my computer and edit away with my editing software programs. Once you use your own editing software programs all the time, you'll know how to use the editing features and get better pics all the time. So, the more you edit, the better you get, I believe.
Happy photo taking and editing!

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Editing Digital Photos
by jackgcubera / July 25, 2006 12:10 PM PDT

If the photo looks like it could be improved I try Instant Fix. If that does not satisfy me I will continue editing until I've done all I can.

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Editing digital pics
by burgh girl / July 25, 2006 12:17 PM PDT

I usually do noise reduction on my photos. As you go up the MP range, you get increased noise. There are some wonderful apps out there to counteract the noise common at high MP/ISO levels.

I also check the brightness/contrast/saturation levels. I'm not as likely to alter these, but I'll at least verify those settings.

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Digital gives you more freedom.
by gcsri0tgirl / July 25, 2006 12:25 PM PDT

I love photography and always have. I would use film in the past but there's always the "oh no what if it didn't come out? Let me take another just in case." And that can definitely be costly. Plus it's a hassle while traveling someplace. You have to carry so much film around. While if you have a digital camera, just bring the camera that's usually the size of your hand. Plus, if your film camera does not do well at night, you could be wasting a good roll of a film over blurry shots.

I bought myself an SLR film camera but that was meant for my black and white photography class which I love doing in my spare time.

However with digital photography, it's allowed me to be more creative than cautious. With film, I need to frame my shot and make sure everything is just right and then I snap. With a digital camera, I just keep on snapping till I get the shot just right. I won't have to worry that this moment will pass me by. I can actually see the outcome of my photographs.

Besides, I'm a Graphic Designer and having the ability to upload my photographs to my computer while still keeping a good quality, unlike scanning a picture, is great. I can share them with anyone and even manipulate them to fit my needs on whatever I might be working on at the time.

Even though there are many positive things about film photography, I am definitely grateful for the technology of a digital camera.

The End. Happy

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Oh and only edit a few times.
by gcsri0tgirl / July 25, 2006 12:28 PM PDT

Sorry forgot to add that. I don't edit a lot of the time when using my digital camera. Just little tweeks here and there unless the purpose of the picture is to completely manipulate it for a project I might be working on.

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Editing digital photos.
by cuttinman86 / July 25, 2006 12:30 PM PDT

I usely edit a few of my photos, sometimes just to enlarge something or someone or to delete something from the photo.

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I edit most of my photos
by mgjstowe / July 25, 2006 12:40 PM PDT

I think of myself as a mediocre advanced amateur photographer, who has been thinking and dabbling in the subject most of my life, but have only found the freedom to advance since the introduction of digital. The waste of film, and the annoyance over the complexity of the whole process held back my participation in photography for most of my adult life. Now, in retirement, with a nice mid-priced ultrazoom camera and PhotoShop Elements, I work on my pictures nearly every day and have been lucky enough to win a few nice prizes at local fairs.

But to the question at hand, how much do I edit in my photos? the question has at least two, and probably more, answers.

First and most obvious, I change what needs to be changed, and no more. If I take a picture, and it is flawed (as usual) and I know or can figure out how to fix it, I do. And if I think it's OK, I let it be. Actually, two of the top prizes I've won were with images I didn't edit at all, except for a little cropping or the like. Another prize-winner was heavily edited, after I made a mistake getting it ready to print, and the error led to something new for me.

Second, I've long had an interest in the relationships between order and disorder or pattern and randomness in art and in the real world. An early introduction to the art of the European Rennaisance started it, followed by a still-early exposure to modern artists such as Picasso, Dali, and (especially) Pollock, headed me in his direction, as did a college class in statistics which introduced me to the ideas of randomness, especially as defined by the mathematician Gauss. I studied and thought about these ideas for decades before getting into digital photography. I have on my computer a folder named WSWSW, for Wind, Sand, Weather, Stone, Water -- in no particular order. As I write, I have a print on my desk of a photo I've named "Bark". It is a photo of a chunk of the trunk of a beautiful tropical tree whose name I do not know. I rotated the photo and cropped it to the size I wanted. Then I edited it to emphasize a few colors, and add a few new ones. What results is a possibly fair abstract expressionist painting with colors that might have been inspired by Monet.

It's going to the local fair here in Clark County WA, and we'll see what the judges say -- not that I have tremendous faith in their taste -- but we'll see. So for this retired Silicon Valley tech writer, digital photography represents a whole new world of aesthetic opportunity, good or bad.


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I edit something in most photos.most
by d-sr / July 25, 2006 1:41 PM PDT

I have a nice camera that does really good but the photos I save, I do check out the brightness, clarity and sharpness of all and change about half of them at least a little.

When I used 35mm and sent the film to be developed, the developer always advertised that they color corrected and enhanced the photos so what's the big deal. We can now do the same thing they used to charge us for.

I recently lowered the brightness of a photo to suite the mood I wanted to project with the photo better. I decided to have it printed at a local photo shop. When I got it back, they had color corrected it back to the origional. What's with that?

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