4 Post Processing Tips for Stock Photography
The process of photography doesn’t end the moment you click a photo. No photo is shot perfectly and almost every stock photo you see online has gone through the post-processing phase to some extent. Many beginner photographers complain about it. They say their photos are not selected by most microstock websites.
Those photos are generally rejected in scrutiny by post-processing experts. In case you are one such photographer who is not getting enough attention, this article is going to help you a lot. Let us take a look at some of the most important post processing tips to create better photos.
What is post-processing and why does it matter?
Post-processing is done to improve the quality of stock photos in order to make them more favourable for the users. It is a process that helps the image to be free from noise, unwanted shadows and introduces proper colour balance and exposure in the photograph.
These are the most crucial things that the experts look for while selecting a photo. Several photographers claim their photos to be rejected for no reason but they are wrong. Experts always have some reason behind that rejection.
Post-processing makes your photo clean and this is the first requirement for a photo to be called a good one. The word clean has two meanings here. The one has to do with the way you capture the subject while the other associates with post-processing.
Capturing a clean photo means you have to shoot the photo in a way that viewers can see the subject in the best way possible. In order to make the photo appear cleaner, you have to use proper tools to remove noise and other such unwanted artefacts.
Some post processing tips to help you with this process
You must have got some idea about what post-processing is all about. Let us dive a bit deeper into this topic and take a look at some tips.
Always shoot in RAW
The first thing that you should do to get the most out of post-processing is shooting in RAW. Paying attention to it becomes really important because in most cameras the default mode is JPEG which produces images in a compressed form.
In that case, you will lose on several important details in the photograph. And when there are not many details in the photo, you can’t produce magical effects with the help of editing alone.
But shooting a photo in RAW format enables your camera to capture all the intrinsic details needed for a perfect photo. The more details a photo can retain, the more you will be able to edit it in the best way. Post-processing is compulsory with RAW photos. Also, you can compress the RAW photo using the best photo compression tool and it does not reduce the quality of photos.
These photos are not like the JPEG format that you can sell without editing in some cases. RAW photos come with imperfect white balance and saturation. Such photos must go through the process of editing in order to look perfect.
Focus on removing noise and erasing blemishes
When you submit your photo to some stock website, the experts view your photo at 100% resolution. They do it to check the noise in its smallest possible form. In that case, you can increase the chances of selection of your photos by reducing the noise. For creating a better photo, work on removing every visible noise present in the photograph.
If you are using Adobe Photoshop, the noise can be reduced directly. A large number of plugins are also available on the internet that can be used with other photo editing software.
The photos shot with high ISO often have noise, stacking exposure may counter the effects of noise in this case. Then come the blemishes. Blemish is a term used to represent unwanted things like dust on your lens or lens flare, etc.
When you are retouching photos, paying close attention to the details in the photo will make you able to spot the blemishes. Plenty of tools are available to help you get rid of these unwanted elements of the photograph.
Apart from these, there are things like logos and other elements of identification that may prevent your photo from being sold. The experts at the websites of stock photos pay close attention to such elements.
Crop the image if it is necessary
Cropping the image is really helpful in giving the viewers a different orientation of the photo. The audience for stock photo buyers is huge and they are always looking for something unique. Sometimes cropping the image gives it a completely new look. If there is something unattractive at the corner(s) of the photo, you may crop it to bring perfection here.
The boundaries of the image must be straight. If the boundary on even one side is skewed, experts can spot it without any effort. Every other detail in your photograph will go into vain once you make this mistake.
Many pieces of software are available for aligning the boundaries of photos properly and you can take help from any of them.
Adjust the colours properly
This is one of the most prominent post processing tips. When dealing with stock photos, you have to maintain the natural charm of the subject. Editing is required to create such effects in the photo. Some photos can appear too warm or too cool, and can be obvious that you've been extreme with colour grading the photograph. The appearance and exposure of the subject are compromised in such cases. Correct this effect with the help of post-processing.
The colours have to appear neutrally so that the subject retains its natural look after post-processing. Three elements are essential to adjust the colour in a photograph and they are Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. Every colour possesses a particular tone and hue reflects that tone for each colour.
Luminance refers to the light reflected or produced by different surfaces in the photograph. On the other hand, saturation is used to adjust the intensity of colours in the photograph. Apart from these, you can play with the temperature (also called tint), and white balance to maintain the natural charm of the subject.
The list of potential post processing tips is literally endless, however the above are just four of the ones with the most impact to your photography.
The constant improvements in knowledge and craft makes photography such an exciting hobby, especially in the stock photography world. Enjoy the learning and experimenting!
About the Author
Emma Taylor is an Australian blogger and photographer, who lives in Melbourne with her two cats, where she frequents live theatre and wine bars.