Remember to Zoom Out While Editing Your Images

Remember to Zoom Out While Editing Your Images

Next time you sit down for an editing session, do your eyes and brain a favor and remember to zoom out more frequently. Don't forget that any given image is a whole piece, more than just details.

We often find ourselves zoomed in to 100 percent or more when editing images; it makes working the details more practical (skin retouching obviously comes to mind). These details and editing help to complete a shot, but don't forget that zooming out helps to maintain your perspective on the whole image. If we spend too much time lost in the details, we can forget that there is more happening in any given image.

Whether you're a professional retoucher or just starting to dabble with image editing software, it's too easy to spend a great deal of time looking at only a tiny fraction of an image, whether it's an eye or a small section of the face. I've found it to be extremely helpful to periodically zoom out to various levels. It gives my eyes a break from the details and lets my brain think about the whole image.

Think about view distance for prints; this is kind of a similar concept. Next time you see a painting on the wall, walk as close to it as your eyes can focus, your nose almost touching the painting. Sure, you'll see the details and texture of the paint and canvas, but looking at it so closely, you won't be taking in the whole piece. It's the same concept for zooming out while editing. Remember that people will be looking at the whole piece, not just the minutia.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that spending a proper amount of time working on the finest details of your image is vital. I also think that remaining aware of the whole image is just as important. Even for something like an extremely closely cropped beauty shot, where the skin texture is center stage, the image still has more going on than just texture. The expression, lighting, and the color toning all also work to complete the image.

Leave a comment with your zooming habits. Do you remember to zoom in and out to see the image at different levels when you're editing? Depending on your camera and file size, your zoom level might be significantly more or less than others. Remember, an image is more than the sum of its parts.

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3 Comments

Alexander Petrenko's picture

So, it seems you've zoomed out on the second one?

anttimutka's picture

Good point. Retouch to the final intended output of the image. Zoomed out view is what 90% of people will see when they look at your image.

Martin Nesvarbu's picture

thats probably single best advice you can get! I found this out the hard way, and it did changed the way i edit once i saw the wole image rather than concentrating on one part.