The Top Common Digital Retouching Errors to Avoid

Photo before and after the image editing process. Mediterranean sea ships

The Top Common Digital Retouching Errors to Avoid

In the digital era of photography, it’s more important than ever to cherish your old photos. They are relics of a time that no longer exists.

One where wedding tables included Instamatic cameras. Children were excited to shake the Polaroid. And photographers pined over dark room perfection. Today, technology lets us keep photos in the cloud with digital retouching filters. It’s not commonplace to see people collecting photos in albums anymore.

But the reaches of technology can be a blessing and a curse.

That’s because many people substitute professional services in favor of doing it themselves. Amateurs market services and consumers are caught in the crosshairs.

In the end, we all just want to cherish memories. To enjoy them the best way possible, in their best condition.

If you’re a go-getter, you may be inclined to shoot and edit your own photos. Maybe you have some old photos that need digital retouching?

Common errors to avoid when retouching your photos.

1) Take your time with human subjects

Human subjects are the trickiest. It’s easy to overdo it.

Take your time with human subjects by mentally mapping the face. Look for birthmarks, shading, and lines that occur naturally and should not be erased. If you erase all marks on the face, the skin will look like plastic.

Work on small parts of the photo, one section at a time. Do not attempt to edit the photo in one fail swoop. For success, take it slow, little by little.

Use a side-by-side to compare each small edit to the original photo. This way you can tell if you are over-correcting or hitting the mark.

2) Know your software and how to use it.

Many photographers use Adobe Photoshop. Other popular photography programs mimic it.

Whatever software you use for digital retouching, make sure you understand how to use it. Here are some things your software should be able to do.


Not understanding how to use layers to your advantage is a big no-no. This will make your photos look unprofessional. Investing time to learn about layers will make your photography journey more successful.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Almost all software platforms have built-in keyboard shortcuts. Memorizing these shortcuts is helpful. Have quick and handy shortcuts to make the process run smoother.


Like layers, when it comes to curves, practice is key. Simply put, curves control how light and shadow can create contrast on each layer. If you aren’t a photographer this may be a new concept, but one worth learning.

3) Stay on top of trends.

Trends can make or break your project.

For instance, recoloring, the process by which you add a pop of color to a black and white photo is dated. This is not a technique you see used by cutting-edge photographers today.

Staying on top of trends can help you add the right amount of eye sparkle to not look like a Snapchat bunny filter.

Make a lasting mark with digital retouching.

The do’s and don’ts of retouching can be a challenge, even for professionals. But if you’re reading this, you are likely an average person who wants to save a few memories. You too can make a lasting mark with digital retouching.

If doing it yourself becomes too much, don’t fret! There are professionals to help with this sort of thing. Continue your journey by learning about professional services and seeing examples.

Comments are closed.