Before You Hit The Delete Button

16 October 2018 | Inside Angama |

Reading Time: 5 MINUTES

Someone once said the secret to becoming a good photographer is to shoot a lot and delete all of the bad ones … but before you do that read on

Although some may consider digital editing to be somewhat disingenuous, I believe if it is done right, digital editing is a powerful and necessary photographic tool. Unfortunately, some images are over-edited making them look too unrealistic. The trick is to find a balance that maintains authenticity while improving aesthetics.

As a photographer, getting your settings right will allow you to take captivating images that require minimal editing. That’s the first step. But even for the best photographers, no image is perfect without a few tiny touch-ups. Editing done well can add astounding beauty to your images; contrast and colour that could not have achieved otherwise.

In this blog we focus on a few important parameters of editing that make your images pop without misrepresenting reality.

Hyena face


While the raw image is well exposed and well positioned as intended by the photographer, it lacks an intangible quality. By subtly increasing saturation (boldness of colours), this image became more vibrant and captivating. However, this must not be overdone lest it loses its natural quality. In this example, even though the edited image is not award-winning, it is more attractive to the eye than the unedited (RAW) image.



Black and white photographs are tricky to edit as they rely on detail, contrast and perspective. For some images, converting to black and white becomes a confusing mess of grey tones. For others, it can make the unremarkable remarkable. The secret is finding that balance. Though entirely subjective, through practice of converting images and playing around with the variables that affect contrast, you will begin to identify how much is too much, and how little is too little, honing in on striking the perfect balance for a given image.

Buffalo Face


It is not uncommon using the best cameras under challenging conditions to inadequately capture the drama the human eye and brain process in real life. Digital editing can correct this lack of drama allowing to more closely reflect what actually took place. In other words, while raw images are good, they sometimes cannot reflect the real-life intensity of a picture until edited appropriately. Great editing makes images more beautiful and captivating.

Vervet monkeys


Even great photographers get the framing wrong from time to time. For this reason, cropping is one of the simplest and most essential elements of editing, because it allows you to adjust the composition as intended, including straightening crooked images.

Zebra Face


The newest high-end cameras produce unbelievably crisp, sharp images. If you are working with an older or budget camera, or perhaps just have a subtle misfire, the image may not be as defined as desired. Through simple editing you have the ability to make your images a bit sharper (once again being careful not to ruin the quality).

Hyena head


Pictures taken under high ISOs or in low-lit scenarios will more often than not appear too grainy or “noisy.” Digital editing offers a solution to that by reducing the amount of grain and increasing luminance. But only to a degree – if the picture was shot at the upper extremes of ISO and is terribly noisy, you might not achieve your desired effect.

If in doubt please come and pay us a visit at the Angama Photographic Studio and we will be delighted to go through this with you.

Elephant trunk

Photographs in this blog were taken by both Jeffrey Thige and Adam Bannister – all edited by Jeff

FILED UNDER: Inside Angama

AUTHOR: Jeffrey Thige

Hailing from Nairobi, Jeff’s younger years were spent watching Big Cat Diaries with his mother. Images of wild animals roaming across the savanna inspired Jeff to travel the country, study wildlife management and move into photography. Jeff aims to use his camera to become an ambassador for conservation. He joined Angama Mara as an intern in 2018 and is now employed full time as assistant photographer at the lodge’s Photographic Studio.

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