5 Editing Mistakes You Can Avoid as A Beginner Photographer

The moment you graduate from Instagram filters to professional editing software is huge. I remember making the change about a year ago. It’s crazy how much editing has improved my photos & overall understanding of photography.

Paulo is an absolute wizard when it comes to understanding programs like Lightroom & Photoshop. His brain just see’s things in a different way, and his teachings have greatly improved my understanding of editing. In all honesty he is the man to ask for advanced editing tips, lucky for you this is just the basics so your in safe hands with me.

Using professional editing software is exciting which often results in overuse and over processing. When editing the aim is to enhance the existing image not completely change it to the point where it just looks fake. Unless you are aiming to completely change your image into a creation of your own. In that case go nuts Picasso, create something insane and tag us in it on Instagram, @massie_bros.

Here are 5 Mistakes to avoid when editing your photos.

WTF! Over Editing can destroy a photo.

WTF! Over Editing can destroy a photo.

001 - Over Editing

When you first start using the sliders on Lightroom you can’t help but get all giddy inside. Your gonna start tuning up those sliders harder than a punch from The Rock. You will crank that contrast and boost that clarity so hard that the image begins to resemble a Jackson Pollock Painting.

A world where landscapes resemble plastic and everything looks like it does when your tripping on Acid! Go easy on your adjustments and do your research on what the sliders and functions do before you go to town on them.

Compare your finished edit to the original then compare your edit to similar edits by professional photographers. Take your time to get your editing game right from the get go.

Don’t Over Edit.

See Also - Mistakes Beginner Photographers Make.

Crop to enhance your composition.

Crop to enhance your composition.

002 - Crappy Crop Jobs

Ahh its for Instagram! Cool just throw a 4:5 crop on it and it’s good to go right?

Crappy crop jobs can ruin your image so it is important to understand how cropping can help enhance your finished edit. To clarify, cropping is the process of cutting out sections or resizing an image to enhance or change the composition of the photo.

Instead of throwing a 4:5 Instagram crop on each image and just exporting it as is have a play around with that crop. Use the 9 Rules of composition and aim to draw your viewers eyes towards the main point of focus. Cropping can make or break your image, do your research and take the time to crop correctly.

Don’t do Crappy Crop Jobs.

Keep your original edits. If you need to crop a shot for IG just duplicate the edit first.

Keep your original edits. If you need to crop a shot for IG just duplicate the edit first.

003 - Keep the O.G

For starters you should always be keeping your RAW images backed up on a hardrive in case you need to revisit them at a later date. If your computer decides its clock out time then having your images backed up on a hardrive will save you some unnecessary stress.

Another great recommendation is to save a copy of your original edit before you crop or alter the image further for other uses. Having an easy to find original makes it simple to revisit the image at a later date. 

Remember to keep the O.G

Related - Everything you Need to Know about Photography

Some of the best portraits in the world tell us incredible stories. (CREDIT TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER - Image Sourced from Google)

Some of the best portraits in the world tell us incredible stories. (CREDIT TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER - Image Sourced from Google)

004 - Your not making Mannequins

Your first time editing portraits is always exciting our biggest tip is to not go over board on the texture & colour correction. People don’t have smooth skin so don’t remove all the pours and replace them with a sickly smooth shine, it just looks creepy.

Eyes are an easy one to mess up, over enhanced eyes can make your model look borderline demonic. Avoid boosting the highlights and clarity too much, aim to get the photo as right as possible in Camera and only make minor adjustments in the editing room.

Skin tone can make or break a portrait. Don’t go crazy on your skin colours, too much orange and you have yourself an Oompa Loompa. Too much green and your model just looks like they are about to vomit. Keep skin tones looking natural.

Your Portraits are People Not Mannequins.

Our Style is starting to really develop. It's a great feeling.

Our Style is starting to really develop. It's a great feeling.

005 - Find your Unique Style

When you are learning to edit it is important to try and mimic the work of professional photographers. Figuring out how other photographers get their unique look will really help you with your editing game & it will give you a deeper understanding of the software.

It is also important to set aside some time for experimentation, to set aside time for developing your own unique style. It takes months and sometimes years to develop a style of editing that is unique to you, we are still figuring out the kinks in our own style after 6 months as Massie Bros.

Start early and keep experimenting until you find a style that really feels like you. Take your inspiration from the photographers that you admire then add your own seasoning.

Find your Unique Style.

Get it Right in Camera - A 2018 Beginners Guide to Exposure


Editing takes years to master. The moment you think you know all there is to know you discover a whole new rabbit hole of tricks and techniques. It’s what makes photography so damn amazing! You can always improve and grow.

Now for the biggest tip of all - Start doing it! Get out and shoot everyday, throw those photos into lightroom (or any other editing software you might be using) & start creating. You won’t get better until you start doing.

Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques.