Don’t let these ten editing mistakes ruin your landscape photos
When you’re new to photo editing, you may be tempted to use all possible tools – and use them incorrectly. We’ve all been there, don’t worry! Thankfully, there are ways to overcome this before you even fall into the trap of overdoing it, and in this video, Christian Möhrle teaches you how. He points out the ten most common mistakes when editing landscape photos and proposes solutions to avoid them.
1. Too much saturation
Mistake: Overusing saturation and vibrance to make colors pop. We’ve all been there, making the sunsets look like they came straight out of Candy Crush.
Solution: Use these sliders sparingly. For more control, adjust specific color tones in the color mixer panel or use the calibration panel and split toning for targeted enhancements. I suggest also checking the “before” and “after” of your photo (hit “\” in Lightroom) – this can tell you if you’ve gone too far as well.
2. Wrong exposure adjustments
Mistake: Like the Saturation slider, beginners tend to use the exposure slider excessively. However, this can lead to underexposure or overexposure in certain areas.
Solution: Adjust exposure in small increments. Utilize all tools from Lightroom’s Tone Panel – Highlights, Whites, Shadows, and Blacks sliders for more balanced adjustments. You can learn more about mastering Lightroom’s Tone Panel here.
3. Heavy use of Contrast slider
Mistake: When adjusting contrast, most newbies rely solely on the contrast slider. And yes, they also tend to overuse this one, too.
Solution: Once again, use highlights, whites, shadows, and blacks for a more controlled contrast. And when you get a hold of the Tone Panel, it’s time to master Curves for even more precise control. And once you master the Curves, you can check your knowledge here.
4. Only editing globally
Mistake: When I first started editing photos, I remember adjusting the entire image uniformly. But this is so wrong and so limiting!
Solution: For more precise editing, use local adjustments. You can use masking in Lightroom to target specific parts of an image. Masking in Lightroom has become more automatized and advanced in recent months, so I’d say it’s even simple for newbies to use.
5. Using all tools at once
Mistake: When we first discover image editing, we may overload our images with effects and adjustments. I sure made this mistake, especially when I first started shooting RAW and discovered Lightroom.
Solution: It may be difficult, but this is something you need to train yourself to do: have a clear vision of the final image. Start there, and periodically review your edits. Remember, sometimes, less is more.
6. Not taking enough time
Mistake: If you’re not really a fan of editing, you may be rushing through the editing process. In fact, even some more experienced photographers tend to do it (yes, I’m talking about myself). But patience and time are key, in landscape photography as well as in editing.
Solution: Instead of rushing through the editing process, take regular breaks. Stand up, leave your computer and do something else, and review your work after some time. This helps spot overlooked flaws and refine your edits.
7. Forcing a specific style
Mistake: You’ve probably noticed that there are trends in photo editing. I remember when everything was orange and teal. And before that, every other landscape photo was a (bad) HDR. And if you want to follow a trend, you may get caught up in the trap of trying to apply a certain style to an unsuitable image.
Solution: Keep in mind that not every photo can pull off the same editing style. Experiment with different styles, but be selective and critical.
8. Relying on presets
Mistake: This leans onto the previous point, considering that presets apply the same style to all images. They may be tempting to use because they save time, but one preset isn’t a solution for all your photos.
Solution: Use presets for basic adjustments and save time. Just remember to tweak these settings for each image. What’s more, consider creating your own presets for more consistency and to develop your own style. You’ll find some tips for integrating presets into your workflow here.
9. Not using lens corrections
Mistake: It took me a long time before I discovered lens corrections for vignetting and distortion. Don’t be like me. :)
Solution: Utilize lens correction tools in your editing software. Most raw editors have automatic and manual options for this. I personally use Lightroom, and it’s very simple and intuitive for me. It takes an extra few minutes, but it adds so much to your final image.
10. Scared of trying new things
Mistake: When you first start out, photo editing tools might look scary and overwhelming. This can lead to avoiding unfamiliar tools due to a lack of understanding. But just like the fourth point, this is extremely limiting.
Solution: Don’t be afrad to experiment with different tools and techniques. No one will judge you and you can’t know everything at once. Practice makes perfect, and tutorials can be very helpful on your journey. YouTube is filled with great tutorials, and you’ll find plenty of various tutorials here on our blog, too.
Avoiding these common mistakes will not only improve the quality of your images but also enhance your skills as a photo editor. Remember, the key is experimenting, learning from mistakes, and constantly evolving your techniques. Don’t be afraid to play with photo editing, and enjoy the journey as well as the final goal.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.