Editing with Different Light Sources

There are certain known facts about what effects the look of your final images.

You know that different photographers have different styles of processing, so the same exact image would look different if 10 photographers edited it.

You also know that there are numerous editing tools to choose from.  (That wouldn’t effect the outcome of your images; the program you use is just a tool, like different brands of brushes for a painter.)

You also know that your images will look different depending on the quality of light when you took the photograph.

But did you know…

The type/quality of light in which you do your editing work will also effect your final image — not just the light when you took the photograph.

Let me say that again:  When you are editing your image, the TYPE and QUALITY of LIGHT in which you do your editing work will also effect your final image!

Below is an example to prove my point.  It is the same image edited at different times of day, so the type and quality of light is different.

Image A:  Edited at Night.  Light source:  lamps with clear lightbulbs above me.

Image B:  Edited in the Morning.  Light source:  indirect sunlight from the windows surrounding my work space.

How it all went down:

I had learned this post processing “trick”, if you will, long ago, so I usually don’t edit photos at night anymore.  However, I felt compelled to do it one night and thought I could turn on more lights as to mimic natural sunlight.  I worked on a bunch of photos only to find out the following morning that they were over-saturated and had too much contrast for my taste.  Thus, I re-edited all of those images to look the way I had intended originally.

[Note:  Whether you prefer the processing look of Image A or Image B, the point is that they look vastly different.  There may not always be such a dramatic difference when you edit images in different light sources, as there is in the image above, however, sometimes there will be!]

The Takeaway:

Editing at different times of day and/or with different light sources will produce different light quality and temperature, thereby effecting the post processing results of your final image.

Now what?

  1. When you are doing editing work, don’t split up the images across different times of day.

  2. If you can’t finish your editing work in one period of time, do them in stages so that an entire “scene” from your shoot is processed with the same light source.

  3. When editing at night or when there is limited sunlight, avoid turning on fluorescent light bulbs or any bulbs that aren’t true to natural light (ie, too warm, too cool, purple disco lights – ha).

  4. Don’t edit in the dark or when there is direct bright sunlight.  It will alter how you see your image.

Happy shooting…and editing!



#photographyarticle #photographypostprocessing #Photographytips

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