As I mentioned before, it’s essential to process our RAW files in photo-editing software, like Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. However, to get the best results we need to learn the correct post-processing technique. But what makes our technique good? First and foremost, our image supposed to look the same that we captured, which means we shouldn’t apply too many changes on it, otherwise it would look unrealistic, such as oversaturated colours, unrealistic contrast, impossible lighting. And to be honest they don’t look too good! It’s absolutely understandable that everybody has their own shooting style, but applying too many adjustments on the image, ruins the impression of the picture. So if we want to make a good job, we should stay within the normal boundaries. One of the most common post-processing mistake is creating unintentional halos.

What is a halo?

A halo is a light /dark line around the edges in a picture, and most visible next to high contrast areas. That unwanted effect is probably a post-processing mistake in most cases, and can form in the edited images in certain ways, when:

  • too much sharpening being applied,
  • shadows/ highlights task being misused,
  • chromatic aberration being removed,
  • inappropriate clarity adjustments have applied, etc.

The other thing that might be responsible for the formation of halos in the pictures, is the Active D-Lighting feature on Nikon cameras. However, it can improve the balance of the lighting in our images, it’s also good to know that it creates halos, so it’s better to switch it off.

For the better understanding what the halo is, let’s see the image below.

I took this shot just seconds before the storm arrived, that’s why the sky is really dark. The white aircraft front of the dark sky creates a great impression in the photograph. However, if we take a better look, we can notice a quite big black area where the sky meets the airplane. That black thing above the fuselage is called halo. The size of the annoying digital artifact depends on the adjustments we made on the image. Undoubtedly, if we went too far it looks worse than with fewer changes.

It’s clearly visible that I made too many alterations in the shadows and highlights function. We have to be very careful when adjusting those settings, cause they can create halos as we can see above. To make sure that we applied the correct amount of adjustments, the best thing is to equalize the picture for checking any halos. Additionally, if there are certain areas of the photograph where we don’t want to apply highlights, shadows adjustments, we can use the masking tool or create layers to protect those parts.

Luckily, there are many ways to fix halos in Photoshop or Lightroom by using the clone stamp tool, brush tool, luminosity masks, etc. Even the corrections can give us a near-perfect result, keep in mind, they are not always accurate. However, in my opinion, it’s better to avoid them while processing our photographs. To apply the correct adjustments takes much less time than fixing our mistakes. I could share some useful tips about fixing halos, but to be honest I prefer to go back and start the whole post-processing method from the beginning if needed.

In summary, I would say, it takes plenty of time to learn to avoid post-processing mistakes, just be patient with yourself and try to learn from your mistakes! I hope this article was useful to discover halos in your photographs and will help to prevent showing up again in the future.