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Common pre and post-production mistakes to avoid

Photography is mostly associated with the process of capturing the image, but in reality, it consists of pre-production as well as post-production. Every photographer must have a pre-production routine to set a solid foundation to prepare themselves for the specific requirements of each shoot. The post-production is just as crucial as the pre-production and must be well thought out and planned to get optimal results. Below we are going to run through some common pre and post-production mistakes that can help your next shoot to be stressfree. 

Pre production:

Not understanding your clients’ vision.

When working with a client, the photographer must have a consultation meeting to find out exactly what the client expects to get out of the photoshoot. This gives you, the photographer a clear vision which brings us to the next point. 

Not conceptualizing the photoshoot.

Conceptualising the photoshoot allows the photographer to take an idea and bring it to life. This step must be taken after the consultation with the client. When taking the idea and envisioning how it will be structured, the photographer has to decide what lighting, background, lens and other props are needed for the actual shoot. If this is not done during the preparation process, the photographer will arrive on set unprepared and without the necessary equipment.

Not making previsualisation of the shoot requirements.

This process indicates what equipment the photoshoot needs, like lighting, type of camera lens as well as any props. Ideally, a checklist should be created to ensure nothing gets missed. Generally, photoshoots run on tight time schedules and forgetting something crucial could end up costing you money, or worst, your reputation. 

Forgetting the inventory check before arriving at the shoot.

Every photographer must keep a list of inventory and check it before going to the shoot. All the batteries must be charged, memory cards should be empty or have spare ones in case the others are full. Also, different types of lenses and cameras should not be forgotten, as well as external flashes, and a camera cleaning kit. There is nothing more unprofessional than missing the appropriate equipment and not being able to complete the shoot.

Keep inventory to make sure you are prepared for your shoot

Not shooting in RAW.

One of the most common mistakes is not shooting in RAW. When shooting RAW, the image information is not compressed which means you have more information to play with in post-production. 

Setting an incorrect white balance in the camera.

Implementing the right white balance helps with the realistic appearance of white objects in an image. The white balance is usually affected by the lighting conditions you are shooting in and can be set manually or by the cameras preset built-in white balance profiles. It’s important to get your white balance correct to avoid giving your images a cold or too warm look.

Make sure your camera is set-up for each shooting scenario. 

Post production:

Over or under saturating an image in the post.

The saturation process intensifies the colour on an image, making it more vivid. When lowering the saturation, the colour becomes more muted and pale. Unfortunately, it is often overused and as a result colours are altered in an unrealistic way that doesn’t enhance the image, but rather give it an unlrealistic look. 

Using presets in photo editing software.

Presets are an easy and quick way to edit pictures in bulk. Unfortunately one photo editing preset is impossible to fix every image. Although it’s more time consuming to achieve a realistic and pleasant result one must edit each picture individually instead of using a preset.

Overusing Skin Smoothing in portraits.

Very often we see models retouched to the point that they don’t look like real people anymore. Consumers are more aware than ever about fake advertising and editing a model to the point that they look like plastic could do the product more harm than good. 

Forgetting to check the before and after while editing.

During the editing process, it is important to go back to the ‘’before’’ picture and compare it to the ‘’after’’. This way, the contrast will be more obvious and we can recognize if the details are lost, and if the editing has gone too far, it can be corrected. 

Not keeping a backup of the original image.

When editing an image, it’s important to keep a backup of the original either on the cloud or on an external hard drive.


Pre and post-production go hand in hand. A shoot must be well thought out to be executed at the highest possible level. By avoiding these common mistakes you are well on your way to having a successful stress free shoot. At Doopic we edit more than 10 000 images daily for more than 4000 online stores. If you have an online store and need help editing your images please try us out free of charge by registering here

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