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The Beginner's Dilemma: To Edit or Not to Edit your photos?



Photography is a powerful medium that allows us to capture moments and express our creativity. As a beginner, the question of whether to edit your photos can be perplexing. Some argue that editing is an essential step in the photography process, while others believe in preserving the raw authenticity of an image. In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind editing, the advantages of shooting in RAW, the pitfalls of editing JPEGs, and offer guidance on getting started with basic editing using Adobe Lightroom.


Understanding the Importance of Editing


Editing is not about manipulating reality; it's about enhancing the visual elements captured in a photograph. Even the most skilled photographers make adjustments to their images to bring out the best in them. When you're just starting out, editing can be a valuable tool to refine your skills and improve your photos.


Shooting in RAW: A Wise Choice


One key decision to make when capturing images is whether to shoot in RAW or JPEG. RAW files contain more data and provide greater flexibility in post-processing. When you shoot in RAW, you have the ability to make nuanced adjustments without compromising image quality. This is especially important for beginners, as it allows you to correct exposure, white balance, and other aspects of your photos during the editing process.


A RAW file is, in essence, the digital equivalent of a film negative. Much like a film negative, a RAW file captures all the data the camera sensor sees without any in-camera processing. It serves as a blank canvas, holding immense potential for post-processing adjustments. While it may lack the immediate vibrancy and sharpness seen in a JPEG, this inherent neutrality allows photographers to mould the image according to their creative vision. However, just as a film negative requires development and printing in the darkroom to unveil its true potential, a RAW file demands post-processing to bring out the nuances, colours, and details that may not be immediately evident. It is this transformative process that allows photographers, especially those starting out, to truly understand and harness the power of their captured moments.


File types
Choosing Raw or Jpeg on your camera

The JPEG Conundrum


While shooting in RAW is highly recommended, many beginners may find themselves with JPEG files, either due to camera settings or lack of awareness. Editing JPEGs, however, comes with a caveat – each edit can result in a loss of quality. This is because JPEG files are already compressed, and multiple edits may lead to a noticeable degradation in image integrity. Therefore, if possible, always opt for RAW when aiming for the highest quality and flexibility in post-processing.


Lightroom Basics Panel
Lightroom Basics Panel

Getting Started: Adobe Lightroom Basics


Adobe Lightroom is a widely used and beginner-friendly photo editing software. When delving into editing, start with the Basics tab in the Develop Module. Here, you can make fundamental adjustments such as exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, and white balance. These simple edits can significantly enhance your photos without requiring advanced technical knowledge.




In conclusion, the answer to whether you should edit your photos when starting out is a resounding yes, especially if you shoot in RAW. Editing allows you to unleash your creativity, correct imperfections, and elevate your photography skills. Remember to be cautious with JPEGs, as excessive editing may compromise image quality. Adobe Lightroom's Basics tab is a great place to start your editing journey, providing a user-friendly interface for making essential adjustments. Embrace the art of editing, and watch your photos transform into captivating works of visual storytelling. Remember to keep it simple and have fun!If you want to learn more about Editing in Lightroom make sure you check out these blog posts.


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