You’ve got the gear, you know the basics, you’re organized (and backed up!), so now you’re ready to edit and enjoy your photos! In this final part of my Photo Tips series, I will share some a little about my editing technique, fixes to some common problems, walk you through my editing process on one of my photos, editing resources, and share some of my favorite ways to enjoy photos because they shouldn’t just sit around on a hard drive.
For 99.9% of my edits I use Adobe Lightroom with various presets and brushes that I have purchased or created on my own. I strive for clean edits with minimal distraction from the subject. I like images that are full of light, hazy and soft as opposed to images that are brightly colored and high contrast. I like to pay attention to skin tones when using presets, to make sure that they still look natural. That said, everyone has their own preferences and editing style, you will find your own soon if you haven’t already.
I start by importing the folder to Lightroom and then flagging all of my favorites. I then usually try to bring them down to 20 or less for a blog post. I use the flag/un-flag tool via the ~ key because it is the fastest. I then fix any exposure issues, crop, and retouch. I export for my blog via a custom export preset I made, and share away!
Before and After
I did a little more on this image than I normally would for sake of a good show.
On this image I…
Softened the skin under the eyes, nose, lips.
Sharpened the eyes, hair, enhanced the eyes.
Re-sharpened freckles and cloned a couple of red spots.
Brightened the exposure, reduced the highlights and whites.
Toned down the brightness of the orange and green.
Unsharpened the background and the top of the umbrella.
Exported to a folder inside the original titled, “Team Wiking”.
This image is too light. I lowered the exposure and reduced the whites and highlights a bit as well. If you look to your top right in Lightroom you should see a histogram which will tell you where your image is too bright.
Image is too dark and cool. Used a preset and raised the exposure and slid the white balance and tint to be more yellow and green instead of blue and pink. Be forewarned, a little goes a long way on your white balance and tint sliders.The sign to the left behind me is very distracting. I used a custom de-saturation brush to make it gray so that it doesn’t stand out as much in the photo. This was much quicker than trying to clone the sign out.
Adobe Lightroom can be downloaded via Adobe’s website. There is a free trial if you’d like to try it out, and then it can be purchased on their website. Some of my favorite presets and brushes are from Pretty Pretty Presets. My favorites are from the Fine Art Film Collection, Dreamy Baby, and Clean and Creative. I also have a few presets from Mia Bella but don’t use them as often. I am also a fan of presets from One Willow Boutique. Others I have custom made on my own and saved for future use.
When all is said and done I really encourage you to enjoy your photos. Use them in an album to display on your coffee table, order photo birth announcements, birthday invitations, holiday cards! Have them printed, hang them on your wall. Be proud and surround yourself with the fond memories that you’ve captured.
A few of my favorite places:
Millers Professional Imaging for prints.
Minted for photo cards and party supplies.
Paper Culture for photo cards, address labels and a custom memory game.
Artifact Uprising for photo books.
Moo for stickers and business cards.
I hope that you’ve really enjoyed this series and that you’ve learned at least a little from it. I hope to continue it as a once-a-month series with a range of photography topics. I really want to encourage you to just practice, practice, practice! I have been doing photography for years upon years and just now feel truly comfortable and confident with my camera and editing.
Please, if you have any questions feel free to ask away in the comments. I will try to answer them in the comments or in a later installment.
This post is part of a weekly series for the month of January 2014. I hope to continue it as a monthly series on photography. To read all of the posts in the Photo Tips series, please click here.