How much picture editing is enough?

How much can you do to improve an image after the photo was taken?

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I’m a big fan of thinking more before I take the shot so I have less work to do after. But sometimes you don’t get to decide. For example, when I took this photo of a possum I only got one chance, and that big lump of white timber behind it was part of the deal.


In the next photo you’ll see what I did in Photoshop. No more plank to distract you — all eyes are now on the possum. Oh yeah, and I extended the table in the foreground to lift the possum a bit in the composition. In case you’re wondering, this kind of image manipulation would almost certainly disqualify it from most photography competitions.

So that’s about as much manipulation as I ever do to a photo and it’s rare that I do that much. Instead, most of my ’post-work’ is the kind of overall enhancement that happens in my RAW editor, which would simulate what a darkroom technician does. Speaking of which, I talk about that kind of stuff here.

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Beginners’ guides to digital SLR photography


Before you start


The essential basics


Making sense of technical stuff

Photography words

Photography words explained


Sneaky stuff


Common problems and their solutions

Preying mantis

Taking things further


Photography at night

Other photography stuff

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