What Is a Halo in Photography and Image Editing?

If you’ve heard the term “halo” discussed in the context of photo editing, you might be wondering what it means. No, it’s not a ring of light around a person’s head in a photo!

A halo is a bright line that can appear in areas of high contrast on a photo when the photo has been subjected to very heavy amounts of editing, particularly HDR editing.

An example of a high contrast area would be a dark mountain on a bright sky. The area where the sky meets the mountains is very high contrast as one is very bright and one is very dark. The definition of contrast! At this point, a halo might form along the edge of the mountain if certain image editing settings are applied heavy handedly (very large slider adjustments). Every photo editing application is slightly different, so it’s not something you can really predict unless you are very familiar with one app.

So, not you know what it means if someone looks at your photo as says they can see some halos after the edit! It probably means that there was a particular edit that you made that was perhaps a little enthusiastic, and it caused this digital artifact known as a halo.