I am still new at editing and using the camera itself. I have been trying to edit my photos, but when I save them, they have blotchy spots. I'm not sure if it's my Photoshop settings, how I am saving the photo, or just how I edit them.

In this photo, if you look at the top parts, you'll see what I mean.

example image blotchy areas circled

Here are the settings I am using the save the images:

JPEG Options Save As Dialog

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The "blotchiness" in that photo is not apparent to me. Can you highlight the problem areas in that photo? Can you try to better describe "blotchiness", at least in regards to that photo? \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ More information is needed. tell us what software you are using to edit them, What edits you are making, your workflow and how you are saving them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 18:42
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of What are jpeg artifacts and what can be done about them? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 20:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is hard to tell what you call "blotchy", maybe you are experiencing quantization errors (or banding) due to a low bit depth (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colour_banding), on top of compression artifacts. Please edit your question and add more information on your workflow. Are you working with 8 bit images? Are the sources uncompressed, raw or are you using that dreadful format called jpeg? \$\endgroup\$
    – user39557
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 6:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well before it was on 8 bit so i changed it to 16 bit. I took screenshots of how i save the photos. imgur.com/4sFo45E imgur.com/a/saY8W they were all raw images from my nikon d3300. to me the photo does not look high quality. I tried my best to highlight the areas with a circle of the blotchiness i am talking about or well how it looks low quality. imgur.com/a/Yq8SA \$\endgroup\$
    – Joseph
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 21:22

1 Answer 1


Banding and blotchiness in images is often caused by excessive post processing. There are a few ways to avoid causing such effects:

  • Capture in RAW and post process with high bit-depth color. Make sure "dithering" is enabled when exporting to 8-bit color.
  • Use the sRGB colorspace.
  • Limit the amount of post processing.
  • Make sure editing tools have "dithering" enabled.
  • Avoid noise reduction.
  • Add additional noise.


The Save As dialog clearly shows you are exporting using the ProPhoto RGB colorspace. When you do this, a larger range of colors than usual is compressed into a limited number of bits. The result is the blotchiness you are complaining of. Unless you have a specific need to use a different colorspace, you will minimize problems associated with colorspace conversions by using the sRGB colorspace, especially if your target output is JPEG.


How to enable dithering depends on the particular software and tools being used. When converting color spaces, dithering is often enabled and may not be disabled. Tools like gaussian blur, levels, and curves do not have dithering options.

For Lightroom, a general internet search turns up nothing for dithering. Your best option is to edit in high bit-depth color, then export to 8-bit. Usually, color management algorithms have dithering built-in.

If available, the option may be available as a checkbox in a dialog somewhere. It may also be located in the program's general preferences dialog. For example, in GIMP:

GIMP Preferences - dithering


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