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Photo Fails Crunchy Skies

When elements have large and hard edges that's a sign you've overdone the clarity, sharpness, dehaze, contrast, or some combination of those. The giveaway is when you see angry "crunchy" skies in a photo. That treatment can be okay in some areas of the photo when applied properly - so how do we do that properly?

Step one in beginner photography post-processing videos usually goes something like this - highlights down, shadows up, crank the clarity, texture and dehaze until your eyes bleed to get every last bit of detail out of the image. Yep, I fell for that and processed a lot of photos that way for a while. I do have a video and tutorial for anyone interested in proper basics of photo editing.

And then one day I walked outside, looked up at the sky. and realized that trees and clouds don't have hard and sharp edges on them when viewed with my own eyes. There is harmony and casual embrace between elements in nature, and so should my photos be.

The tendency when we start editing photos is to draw out as much detail and texture as possible from every last pixel in the image. The more photos you take and edit the more you'll sense which parts of the image need to be enhanced and which should be left alone or even darkened or softened. We can enhance one part of an image to draw out textures where they are called for without making crunchy skies or over sharpening clouds and background elements. There are always parts of an image we include in compositions for context and sense of size and place that don't need to be yelling out for a viewer to look at them.

Wait now; what about creative edits on photos? When doing creative edits, sometimes we do add extra saturation or sharpening. The question to ask yourself is whether or not you're drawing attention to the main subject or "hero" in your image. Eyes are drawn to saturated colors and sharp or in focus elements so everything that is not your primary subject should have less saturation or sharpness than the primary point of interest. In general it's always best to know the basics that work well for am impactful natural edit. Once you have a good handle on that you'll know where to start breaking the rules creatively and when it does or doesn't make sense to do so.

Photo Fails Crunchy Skies

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