The One Thing Every Photographer Doesn't Want You To Know

Good thing I'm not like every photographer.

Well folks, it’s honesty hour here at the Golden Hour Girl Blog. If you read my first blog, which I sincerely hope, but highly doubt you did - no hard feelings, I’m only slightly bitter - then you would know that I promised this blog would be honest and un-filtered (& full of photography puns). Today’s blog will be no exception.

Today’s blog will be exposing the most common misconception about photography, the one thing that every photographer doesn’t want you to know. Drumroll please...!... Not all photographs are perfect right off the camera. I know shocker, right?

Before = The unfortunately typical dark and shadowed result when taking a photo into the sun. After = Editing and playing with shadows (Spring Meadow )

In fact, most photographers would agree that the editing process is just as important (and time consuming ) as the actual act of taking the photo. Don’t get me wrong, the picture - taking part is incredibly important, and the purpose of this blog is not to downplay this or drive photographers to hate me…which is a real possibility here.

It’s just that a lot of people think that a photograph needs to be perfect, right off the bat, or it's garbage. I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t true. In fact, oftentimes it’s the photographs I’m most unhappy with off my camera that turn out to be my favourite once I've spent some time editing them.

Before all of the photographers out there start coming at me with pitchforks for saying all of this, let me first tell you that there are still very important elements of photography that can't just be edited in.

1. Create Depth

Having fore-, middle- and background detail in every photograph you take is crucial. All three draw one’s eye through your image and to it. Unless you’re a magician (which would be awesome) it’ not likely you can easily and seamlessly edit this into your photograph. So, having this eye as a photographer is extremely important.

2. Know Your Focus

Making sure your true subject is in perfect focus is essential to artful photography. If your subject is blurry or out-of-focus then the photograph is pretty well useless… sorry to be blunt, but I did say this was honesty hour.

Background In-Focus + Foreground In-Focus + Tone Editing =

Final Photo (Behind The Sun )

3. Visual Balance

If your background has more impact than your subject, you risk compromising the effect of your image. It is important to take note of this while taking the photograph, because, much like my magician comment earlier, this is also extremely difficult to edit without someone questioning your work.

Before = It is clear what the subject of the image is, but the tones do not accentuate it.

After = Adding a radial gradient and brightening up the subject's face further emphasizes the focus of the photo.

If you can make all three of these elements common practice in your photography, then you can begin to rely on the help of editing to play sidekick to the process. I have chosen to show the original (before) and edited (after) versions of every photograph in this blog post – something not many photographers have the cojones to do. But, I promised this would be unfiltered, and I tend to not break my promises.

Some photographs needed some help with the lighting, some needed a little boosting to the colours, and some were just plain unremarkable. After some much needed playing around with the photos – they become refined pieces of art. The point I really want to drive home here is that editing is part of the process! Don’t be afraid to manipulate the ordinary to make it something extraordinary.

Before = Yikes! The result of rushing to take a photo on a busy road surrounded by tourists (I swear there were so many people and cars).

After = The image I'd imagined in the first place! (Winding Road )

All artists use various mediums to express their vision to the viewer. Sometimes, the stars don’t naturally align to give you that perfect shot, and so you have to go in there with the clone tool and align them yourself – and that’s okay!

So, photographers, please don’t crucify me for exposing the power of editing. The fact is that most people who are interested in photography will take a few photos and say, well that doesn’t look like this person’s photo, so I must not be any good. That mindset is just plain wrong.

Don’t give up just because the photo on the back of your camera isn’t what you imagined. Bring that photo into Photoshop and Lightroom and have some fun! Play with the contrast, saturation and curves. Add that lens flare you were dreaming about. Editing doesn’t make you any less of a photographer.

Editing is a part of the photography process, and any photographer that tells you otherwise is lying.

Before = The focus is clear, but the photo itself is quite ordinary. After = A quick crop, a dramatic edit and voila, this became one of my favourite photographs (The Beast ).

Well shucks - that concludes this week's honesty hour. Thanks for sticking with me while I go and potentially offend all of the photographers in my life (yikes ). Honestly though, I hope that maybe this blog post will inspire someone to pick that camera up and try again. After all, if photography is your chosen art, then get out there and break the rules, or better yet, write your own.

Now, please show your girl some support and share this post on your social media. Hopefully we can reach someone who needs to read this today – I know I could have used it a few years ago!

Until next time,

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