Straight of camera shots vs. Edited photos

July 25, 2014  •  2 Comments

Over the year or so that I've been doing photography, I've heard and read a lot of comments about straight out of camera (SOOC) shots versus edited photos. Some photographers are die hard SOOC photographers, while others Photoshop their photographs to the point where the person is almost unrecognizable. Then there are photographers like me, who think that photographs should look good SOOC, but editing can make them look even better. I've put together a few examples of before and after edits to show you what I mean about editing improving a photo:

This is my youngest daughter, Elena. I'm a little biased, but I think that she's beautiful in almost every shot that I've ever taken of her. This particular shot is SOOC. The photograph itself is good, but the shadows are a little harsh and you can't really see how intensely blue her eyes are. So, here's the same photo, but edited:

Everything is a bit softer, and I love the lighting in her hair.


Here's another example of why editing can be so helpful, especially when you regularly photograph children. Kids get DIRTY! They have runny noses, milk stains around their mouths, a stray eye booger, whatever the "dirt" may be. Case in point, my son Tyler. His adorable little face is enough for me, but this photo could look better:

Again, there are shadows that are harsh and LOTS of stuff on his face. So, here's the edited version:

He looks brighter, more alert and definitely more smoochable (that's a technical term, hahaha). 

Here's another example of how edits can make a good picture better, with my favorite (then) newborn, Ryan. 

Here she is looking adorable, but the photo itself could be better. She has some baby acne (totally normal, especially at 6 days old!), and the coloring of the photograph itself is off. It's not as soft as newborn photographs should (in my opinion) be. 

Now here's the edited version with her skin smoothed out, baby acne gone and lighter coloring:

I mean, really, how adorable is she with her little smooshed lips??

The final photo that I'm going to share with you is of my oldest daughter, Lily. We were goofing around with my camera one day and this shot is still one of my favorites of her. She's genuinely laughing and it always makes me smile to see it:

Here's the same shot edited, with making it black and white and playing around slightly with the contrast:

Simple edit, but a more striking photograph. She becomes more of the focus of the picture instead of the background.

So, there you have it. A few examples of how editing can make a picture better, even if it's good SOOC. Editing a photograph to the point of being unable to recognize the person in real life isn't the way photographers should use their tools. It sucks the life out of the photos. Small, simple edits to make the subject look the natural best is the way that I like to edit. 


I hope you enjoyed this blog, and I can't wait to post more in the future!


Elena I didn't think needed one, but loved the edited Tyler photo. I think editing really depends on the shot like you said shadows can ruin a shot.
I like all originals.. Tyler without the white stuff he would look nicer but once again the original pix represents childhood so its cute in itself :)
You have a beautiful family.
No comments posted.