Last year, we did a survey on all things selfie and got some interesting results. Last month, we did another survey. We polled over 2,000 people from all over the world on how they feel about photo editing. We looked at three at popular types of photos: food and drinks, engagements, and pets. Survey says: photo editing is good for you, but don’t go overboard.
62% of Americans would post the edited photo (the middle one). The over-edits (the right one) resulted in looking almost 20% less appetizing than the other versions! Plus, 70% of survey takers said they just plain didn’t like the over-edited photo.
Takeaway: Presentation is everything, especially with edible goodies. As long as you keep your brightness and contrast balanced, photo editing will make your subject look as delectable as it did in real life.
Shoulda put an edit on it
Check out the lovebirds. Did you notice they’re engaged? Depending on which photo you’re looking at, you might not have. Only 18% of respondents actually noticed the ring in the over-edited version (right). 58% of respondents said they’d post a picture like the edited photo (middle) on social media.
Takeaway: Edit for the moment. If you want a focal point for your photo, don’t highlight any potential distractions. People enjoy a well-edited image because it tells a better story.
On average, respondents were 48% more likely to rate the edited dog (middle) as being cuter than the non-edited version (left), and 63% more likely than the over-edited version (right).
Takeaway: Cameras tend to flatten our colorful world. Adjust the exposure (but avoid going nuts on color saturation) to show your pet’s true color. Your edits should capture everything special about the moment.
Our respondents overwhelmingly preferred the edited photos over the non-edited versions, and really didn’t like the over-edited ones. We’re not the only ones to study this. In fact a research paper authored by Yahoo Labs and Georgia Tech’s Eric Gilbert examined this topic in the context of sharing and social media. They looked at 7.6 million public Flickr photos and found that filters boost engagement. Get this: filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on.
But filters can be fickle. The research also found that while warm filters drive engagement, cooler color effects can turn viewers off. And of course, using too many filters can be distracting (people will focus on the colors rather than the photo itself).
In the adapted words of Goldilocks, unedited photos are too bare, over-edited photos are too harsh and edited photos are juuust right.
Find out the role gender plays in photo shooting, editing, and sharing in our second survey article.