Thoughts About Photo Editing (Processing for Intended Use)

When you edit a photo, think about the audience first

By Simon Burn – subscribe to Simon’s YouTube channel

Recently I made a video about over-processing images. The conclusion was that if photography is art, then it’s subjective and therefore there is no right or wrong.

We should process our images in a manner that pleases us. Another consideration is how and where the image would be used.

Each Application Demands its Own Processing Style

Since I made the video, I saw a post on Facebook in response to a post from my friend David Griffiths, who had written his own thoughts about when an image is over-processed.

The comment read:

“As a professional photographer, do you need to sometimes alter the way you process your images to appeal to the market that you are trying to reach? I’m not a professional photographer but I know that if I were to try to sell my photographs here (at least how I would be marketing them) I would have to saturate my images much more than I would normally do for my own liking.”

This is a really great point, and my answer to this is “yes”, you do need to consider your audience when you process an image.

And “yes”, under many commercial circumstances and marketing scenarios, a colourful image does grab attention more effectively than a monochromatic image. Sometimes a little more saturation is required.

Two edits of the same image for different purposes

Same image, two edits for different purposes. I do it all the time

Conflict Between the Art of Photography and the Business of Photography?

A day after I read this, I posted another video. This one included a landscape that I had processed to my own liking, to please no one except myself. I created a thumbnail for this video, that is intended to act as an ad or poster, to grab attention and tempt people to click on it and watch the video.

So, I used the same image within the video, and added more colour and saturation so it would stand out more. In other words, I processed it for another intended use. 

The same person on Facebook said, “I can see a potential conflict between the art of photography and the business of photography.”

Professionals Edit Photos for Intended Use, Not Themselves

Well, yes, you could call it conflict. The reality of being a professional photographer is that you are no longer creating art for your own satisfaction. You are creating an image with an intended purpose, typically to promote a business or service.

Colourful images are much more effective in grabbing attention than less colourful images, whether they are in a print magazine ad or a social media post.

I know that at least person was not pleased with me enhancing my image with more colour for the thumbnail and use on social media, and thought I over-processed my image.

I was happy with both of the versions of the image I created. One satisfied me as an artist, the other satisfied the purpose for which it was created. I love both.

Simon Burn

Simon has been a photographer and creative director in the UK and Canada for over 25 years.

He worked with Andy for multinational corporations and brands before veering off to work on travel, tourism, food and lifestyle projects. Simon has travelled all over North America and Europe, working with consumer brands, tourism associations, and resorts. His work has been published in books, graced the covers of magazines, featured on TV; and he’s also worked with other photographers in the role of creative/art director and photo editor for publications and brands, in addition to being a photography competition judge.

In 2018, he started his own YouTube channel to share his love of travel and landscape photography and filmmaking.

ExploreDiscoverShoot is borne of Simon, Andy and David’s combined creative, business and technical skills, a strong entrepreneurial flair, and passion for photography and content creation.

The opportunities to work with other creators, share ideas, and promote creativity and knowledge, is a driving force with infinite possibilities.

Simon Burn

Simon has been a photographer and creative director in the UK and Canada for over 25 years.

He worked with Andy for multinational corporations and brands before veering off to work on travel, tourism, food and lifestyle projects. Simon has travelled all over North America and Europe, working with consumer brands, tourism associations, and resorts. His work has been published in books, graced the covers of magazines, featured on TV; and he’s also worked with other photographers in the role of creative/art director and photo editor for publications and brands, in addition to being a photography competition judge.

In 2018, he started his own YouTube channel to share his love of travel and landscape photography and filmmaking.

ExploreDiscoverShoot is borne of Simon, Andy and David’s combined creative, business and technical skills, a strong entrepreneurial flair, and passion for photography and content creation.

The opportunities to work with other creators, share ideas, and promote creativity and knowledge, is a driving force with infinite possibilities.

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