Bloggie Wednesdays: Why It’s Important To Edit Your Photos

PicMonkey Photoshop

Last week, I confessed my secret about Photoshopping my nail polish swatch photos. Let me just say, I breathed a huge sigh of relief that you guys didn’t even call me out on it. I was quite worried that I’d get a lot of comments on how you didn’t know I edit my photos like that and that you’re disappointed that I do so. In fact, no one said anything about photo editing. No news is good news, I say. :)

There are a lot of people aren’t keen on bloggers using Photoshop because the images should be natural and not touched up. I understand their reason; after all, there’s more than enough of air-brushing in magazines and newspapers, surely blogs are supposed to keep it real? Well, yes and no.

All of us have seen the amount of airbrushing in magazines and a lot are downright ridiculous. No one has that degree of flawless skin, not even a baby! Magazines sell us an illusion of beautiful … everything. A lot of us still buy them despite all that airbrushing because we hang on to that dream of flawless skin and silky, shiny hair. I get it. Hey, my house is full of magazines like that.

Blogs, on the other hand, is all about the people. It’s the real deal. People want to see the flaws and how you can still have those flaws and still look good. I totally get it. I don’t want to see airbrushed skin void of lines that makes the face look completely unnatural for the age. I’m not interested in overly soft-focused faces that are edited so that the nose is smaller, the cheekbones more pronounced, the teeth whiter, etc. You get the picture.

However, I do believe that bloggers should edit their photos for
1. Clarity
2. Colour accuracy
3. Brightness

I’ve seen so many unedited photos in product reviews that are sadly lacking in accuracy. If you show colour swatches, you’ll want them to look as close to the actual colour as possible. Many times when I swatch a lipstick or eyeshadow in store that was recommended by a blogger, the colours don’t match what were shown in the photos. It’s okay if you get to try the product out in person. But what if you want to buy the item online and can only rely on swatch photos to help you? Some images are so dark, you’ll be straining your eyes to see what it is that the blogger is trying to show you.

Now you know why photo editing is so important in my books.

You can calibrate your camera’s White Balance to make sure your photos are as accurate as possible. Or you can use a fancy DSLR that works well enough in good lighting that you won’t even need to edit the images. In reality, this may not happen. You may not be able to photograph in good natural light. You may not have a fancy camera to give you super sharp and vibrant colours.

Most of the images you see on Beautyholics Anonymous are edited for clarity, colour accuracy and brightness. Aside from airbrushing my cuticles in nail polish swatches, nothing aesthetic is added or removed. I edit and remove bits of hair that fly in front of my face in FOTD/makeup looks. Other than that, everything else remains as is. My blemishes are still there. The godawful enlarged pores are still there. The wrinkles and fine lines below my eyes are still there (years ago, I considered airbrushing these away but apart from making me look unnaturally young, it made me look strange).

I’ve harped on long enough about photo editing. Let’s try out an example. Now I know that not everyone has Photoshop and I understand that it does have quite a high learning curve so today, I’m going to use the online photo editor, PicMonkey. A lot of their basic features are free and if you’d like a lot more features that is comparable to what Photoshop can give you, it’s about US$5 a month. The reason I really like PicMonkey is that I can get pretty awesome pictures for next to nothing.

For now, I’ll just be using the free features to show you the difference between an unedited image vs. an edited one. You don’t have to pay a cent to be able to use any of these features to come up with a good picture.

Editing in PicMonkey

What I did to edit this image was change the Brightness, Contrast and cropped it so that you can see more details. I usually use the Curves option to edit the brightness instead of using Brightness because the latter tends to make the entire image too bright and washed out. However, the Curves option in PicMonkey isn’t free and for the purpose of this post, I’ve decided to only use the options that are free to everyone.

Before Editing

You can see the difference between the two images. One is dark and the products are a tad small. By cropping and editing the photo, it becomes clearer and you can see more details.

After Editing

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I like photo editing. :)

Do let me know if you edit the photos on your blog as well. If not, is there a reason why? There’s no judgement here; plenty of bloggers don’t and their photos do end up looking very good. If you do edit your photos, what software do you use?

Note: This is not a sponsored post by PicMonkey nor am I affiliated with them to write this. Man, with the amount of free advertising I give them, they SHOULD pay me, don’t you think?

Bloggie Wednesdays is a series of articles just on blogging. They contain tips, how-tos, discussions about anything and everything you need to know about blogging and how we can be better bloggers. If you have any suggestions, tips and tricks about blogging you would like to share with us, or if you have any questions you would like me to address, please let us know in the comments.

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24 comments… add one

  1. Rose

    I completely agree with your stance on photoshopping. I know a lot of people who say they don’t like to see photoshopped images, and they prefer to see the real thing. I get where they’re coming from in regards to bloggers photoshopping out all their blemishes, knuckle wrinkles, etc, which is a bit excessive and looks fake sometimes. However, I take pride in being able to post swatches that are as true to the real thing as possible, and sometimes the raw photo doesn’t capture that. In those cases, I’ll photoshop as much as I need to make the photo look as accurate as possible, in order to be informative and useful to the viewer. There’s no point in posting out of focus, non-colour accurate photos that don’t help anyone.
    Rose recently posted..Work Friendly Wednesday – Enchanted Polish Beautiful Rule Breaking MothMy Profile

    1. Tine

      My sentiments exactly. I’ve seen overly-edited nail photos where the blogger has absolutely zero cuticles, zero lines, and zero hair in all fingers! That’s going a bit overboard. I don’t understand why people post blurry photos on their blogs. It doesn’t make sense because you can’t even see the details. Then I think, do they not realise it’s blur or do they just not care? Shouldn’t one take pride in what one does? Oh I don’t know, I’m getting all ranty on my high horse here. But I’m sure you know what I mean.

  2. M&L

    I think editing photos really make that world of a difference. Sometimes its just so hard to find the right angle/lighting, and not everyone has those studio lights to take that consistently perfect photo! Swatches don’t always come up to look as good in photos, so I usually edit the lighting there to make it look as close to the real thing as possible. I usually like to use photoshop because I can sharpen images and blur out some background if needed as well :P
    M&L recently posted..Tiny Tuesdays: Avene CicalfateMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Exactly, it does make a world of difference. I don’t have the fancy photography ring lights thingamabob and if the photo looks like poo, I’d either edit the crap out of it or just wait till I get better lighting to snap the photo. Ah the joys of photo editing software. :P

  3. Monica P

    I do add brightness to my photo’s as I’m not all the knowledgeable about lighting. I’ve tried a light box, but find it frustrating and a pain to set up unless I have time.

    Monica
    Monica P recently posted..Walking on the wild side with Dansko Olivia shoes in leopardMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I have a lightbox that I almost never use. Takes up so much space and is a pain to set up. In the end, it looks like stock photos. I might as well just get them off Google. :P

  4. Paris B

    Yes! Making a picture brighter and clearer is not bad photo editing, it’s almost essential! I often see dark photos online and I get that not everyone has the luxury of natural sunlight which is why we have photo editors. It’s to make our photos look better! It’s not a bad thing. Applying the blur filter willy nilly is.
    Paris B recently posted..Makeup Artist Tips on how to wear Bobbi Brown Nude Glow collection and Sneak Peeks of Bobbi Brown Spring/Summer 2014My Profile

    1. Tine

      The horrors of the blur filter! Or what I’d like to call “super fake depth of field” :P. I made the mistake of doing it once on the blog. Looks so fake! Never again. :P

  5. Christine

    I tweak my photos a little (usually just to colour correct) and place a watermark. That’s it. Not because I am against photoshopping, I just do not have the skills to do it.
    Christine recently posted..5 Reds to Rock This Valentine’s Day!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Do try out PicMonkey. The free option has an option where you can auto adjust your photos. They don’t work all the time but a lot of my images turned out quite well if I just use the Auto Adjust.

  6. Natasha

    You’re talking to the converted here! I always edit my photos — cropping, adjusting contrast/brightness to make it closer to what my eye sees and to add my watermark. I use XNView which is also free; it’s not as easy to use as PicMonkey, but once you know the basics, you can do almost anything you want. And it’s free. Free is always good.
    Natasha recently posted..Honey do… Honey Girl!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Ooh thanks for the recommendation! I’ll check out XNView now. I’m always happy to learn another new photo editing software. :)

  7. Swati

    Hey Tine! I always edit my photos for the same purposes. I crop them and edit the brightness and contrast. Most of the times contrast does enough job not to tweak the brightness any more. I use gimp but there is no curve thing which exists in photoshop :(
    Swati recently posted..5 Goofups I made as a bride {Five Series}My Profile

    1. Tine

      I haven’t used GIMP in a long time (used to use it extensively in uni and at work in Malaysia); I’ve forgotten that they don’t have the Curves option. Makes a difference, that option. :(

  8. Chaitra

    I think its is necessary to use photoshop for brightness and contrast. What’s the point of posting a dull unclear photo anyway? Nice post Tine! Love your bloggie wednesdays always!
    Chaitra recently posted..Blog-enTino Day-5: Ingredients of a great kiss!My Profile

    1. Tine

      I agree. I don’t understand why bloggers post blurry photos. You can barely see what’s there!

      PS: Aww thanks! Glad you enjoy the series xx

  9. lyn

    Hooray for Bloggie Wednesdays (sorry, I’m just catching up with my blog feed reading). I completely agree with your photo editing stance. I only edit mine for brightness and colour. Sometimes I may add a fancy sepia / black&white filter if it suits my mood. I don’t use photoshop and have pretty much left every fine line, pore, pimple and freckle alone.
    lyn recently posted..Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm: The Glossy Cousin Is Here In TownMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Aww thanks Lyn! Glad you enjoy BWs. :P I love your photos; they’re gorgeous!

  10. Shamim de Varax

    I use photoshop cs4, mostly to increase brightness if needed and to get rid of darkspots or acne scars (I’ve got a couple that are just glaringly obvious. however i need to find a proper way to photograph swatches, I use natural light which seem to wash them out abit.
    Shamim de Varax recently posted..Media Launch: Fashion Park’s Girls’ Super Fun NightMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I’m currently using CS5 and I love it. I do get rid of an occasional spot but most of the time I just leave it there. Love me for all I am! :P

  11. Samantha

    I’m pretty useless when it comes to figuring out how to use photo editing software and with a busy schedule sometimes it’s hard for my tiny brain to find the time to learn a new program. . I usually adjust my bed side lamp so that the colour comes out the closest and I use paint (embarrassing, I know) to just put my name there and crop it. ..Hopefully I’m not doing our blogging community injustice!
    Samantha recently posted..Antipodean Beauties – All NaturalMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hey, nothing wrong with using Paint at all! I use it to save screenshots and do the occasional cropping. ;)

  12. Kaye

    Guilty! *puts hand up*

    I was just thinking about this an hour ago I swear! A few people commented on my last photo/diary post on how crisp and clear my photos were. I was flattered but also terrified to admit I always use Photoshop to add a little something. It may only be cropping, colour or brightness, but like you I was scared of backlash.

    Im all for natural photos, but sometimes a little composition and fixing doesnt hurt. I want to be as accurate as possible with colour, and if I am posting my own photos, sometimes I just want to create a effect. It’s not about hiding something, more about expressing creatively. I also sharpen my images because photobucket reduces the clarity of my images once posted online.

    I laughed out loud when I read your comment about photoshopping nails. I do it too! lol (but not too much)

    1. Tine

      Your photos are GORGEOUS. Seriously drool-worthy. Love your styling and composition. I have much to learn :D
      Nothing wrong with using Photoshop at all. Not all cameras produce fantastic photos especially with poor lighting. I always recommend editing.

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