All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

Editing Techniques by Chris Brooks

Cropping, Sharpening and Image Correction

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Cropping

An uncropped image would be the most desirable in that it would retain more detail and effective pixels; however in macro photography cropping can be an invaluable tool. Cropping can enable you to frame your subject correctly. This is not always possible in the field with subjects that are prone to fly away if there is too much intrusion. Additionally on those subjects that you cannot approach too closely as they are wary, cropping enables you to obtain a frame filling image.

Beware of over cropping though, as your images will lose resolution very quickly and with it goes any sharpness and fine definition.

Auto Correction

In the ideal world the digital image would require no editing or adjustment at all and this should be the primary objective from the outset. However on some occasions with some subtle adjustments selective images can be improved. Some software will offer auto correction as an option, my advice would be to avoid this at all costs. Whilst it might be fine for the less specialised image, I find it adjusts the detail too far and does not produce an accurate reflection of the subject and its surroundings. I find that auto adjust concentrates too much on the overall image and tends to neglect the true subject, the dragonfly.

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Contrast, Sharpness and Saturation

As I have previously stated only adjust those images that you absolutely have to. Most software offers you more direct control over image correction. Try subtle tweaks on the contrast, sharpness and saturation options. Be mindful not to overdo the correction though, the results will not improve the image.

Avoid over sharpening your images at all costs, this has a detrimental effect on the wings in particular. An over sharpened wing will look horribly dark with thick veins, they should be fine and delicate in appearance.

Remember that the software cannot make an imperfect image perfect. If it is out of focus, it will remain so. Adjust it too far and the image looks false and manipulated. Its an idea to copy the image before you adjust it, the original just might be better.

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