The Best Editing Practices for Fossil Photos

Dinosaurs, Photography

Using an automatic photo editor to quickly take care of your fossil photos is great because it means you don’t have to put in much effort and the editor does all the work for you. But sometimes you just have to take the reins and make your editor act the way you want it to. When that happens, you need to be aware of the changes you should be focusing on making to your photos rather than getting confused in the plethora of tools at your disposal.  

Why You Need to be Careful 

First of all, let’s understand why this is important. Fossils are a physical remnant of nature. They are what help us understand this world and our own lives. To misrepresent them in any way is to misrepresent the history of the world. That is why you need to be very careful when documenting fossils in photographs. You can’t get creative with your photos like you would with other kinds of photography because you’re documenting something and not creating art.  

So, with that out of the way, let’s go over some important aspects of your images that you should be focusing on while editing: 

Exposure and Contrast 

The exposure of such photos has to be spot on for them to provide as much visual detail as possible. The first thing you should look at when opening a fossil image in an editor, therefore, is the exposure. If you shoot in RAW, which you should, you can easily adjust the exposure, brightness, and highlights of your photo without affecting the image quality negatively.  

Contrast is also an important factor. The photos have to be accurately portrayed and a balanced contrast is crucial for that. If you have too much contrast, the photo will start looking like a poster and if you have too little contrast then it will look like a vintage photo with soft details. 

Color and White Balance 

If you are taking your fossil photos in color, then it has to be realistic. You can’t just make the image more saturated because it looks better. Try to bring your photo as close to the real thing as possible. Use a color accurate screen to make your edits on too, because a display with poor color calibration will trick your eyes.  

White balance also plays a big role in how images come out. Try to set the white balance for each new space you’re shooting in to have a uniform look overall. Again, if you shoot in RAW, then you can adjust this completely in an editor.  

Noise and Sharpness 

Noise can creep into your photos at high ISO ranges, but always remember that if you have to choose between a slow shutter speed or a high ISO, go for the high ISO if the shutter speed will make your image go blurry. A noisy photo is always better than a blurry one because noise can be controlled to an extent in an editor. So, if you have ended up with a noisy photo, make sure you use noise reduction but be careful not to overdo it at all. A lot of beginners like to push the noise reduction slider to the extreme but while it does reduce noise, it also makes the fine details disappear.  

The same is the case with sharpness. A fossil should look crisp and sharp in your photos so nailing the focus during shooting is important. Don’t over-sharpen your photo later on because that just ends up making it look artificial with artifacts making a mess of your photo.  


With these simple suggestions, you can take much better photos of fossils. Image editors are an important part of today’s photography, but while they are amazing at all the control they provide, they can also be trickier to use than you may think. For that reason, you should follow these tips, practice your editing skills, and then apply them to finalize your photos. 

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