There was a time when all images prepared for print were checked and often thoroughly retouched and optimised by imaging professionals. Not so anymore: many images are used more or less straight out of the digital camera, without much work done on them. This is mostly fine, but there are still some general aspects of digital imaging that still hold so even more advanced image processing might be worth the effort. Let’s go through some of the basics and then touch briefly on some more advanced possibilities.
While modern digital SLR cameras, and even top of the range mobile phones, create very good photos without much need for manual editing, there are some core aspects of what makes a photo look really good, technically. The following list isn’t necessarily in order of what is most important, because that is somewhat subjective. It often depends on what kind of motif is in the picture, and what kind of usage the image will have. But one of the first aspects in sharpness, if the resolution is high enough. Next is contrast that is, are the white areas actually white or are they greyish? And are the deep blacks really as black as they should be? If not, the image will look flat and dull.
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