Today I thought I’d share my photo editing process as I get told that my photos look great and wanted to share my knowledge. This isn’t a process that will work for everyone, it is just an insight into what works for me and the style I like to create. I am by no means an expert in photography and editing, it is just what I learnt from working in a retouch company and then trial and error.
I shoot my proper photos (i.e the ones I use on my grid on social media and in product photos in my shop) using a DSLR, it is just an entry level Nikon camera which I added a 35mm lens to as I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to switch out lenses all the time and this works Ok for most situations. I then edit my images using Photoshop CC on my iMac. There are lots of other software options available which can do the same functions but personally I’m just used to using Photoshop.
This was my unedited image, I decided to show you this one as this is the worst starting point. The lighting wasn’t great so it is dark and very red looking. I always shoot in portrait if I know the image will be tuned into a square as its much easier to visualise and ensure you get everything in the frame. Normally I would wait for better lighting but I thought it would be a more impressive transformation.
The first stage is just a a simple 1:1 square crop so I know what I’m working with, I sometimes need to move the square around to get the best framing to reduce it down in size. This one was bang on centre though.
Next I change the levels, I drag the white (right hand) marker down to where the histogram starts going up and thats usually as bright as I need it. Occasionally I pull the black marker to the right very slightly but as this was already so dark it wasn’t necessary.
My next step is ‘curves’, which is my favourite editing tool. I like to have bright white-ish (think slightly washed out) photos which might not be your thing but I’ve noticed that I have to edit a bit brighter on my iMac as it always dulls down a little when viewed on a Phone. My usual rule is pull the middle point up a little as shown then pull up a marker about 25% up the line very slightly too. You need to experiment with this as it depends on the starting point of your image and how extreme you want to go.
I then work on the Colour Balance, to neutralise the colours. I don’t like my images to be too warm or too cool. This image started out very warm so I tipped the highlights and midtones slightly more towards cyan but also a little yellow to balance out that red. Again good knowledge of colours is really beneficial at this point as it doesn’t always work out how you think it will.
Another step that works for me is reducing the saturation down, this is just a personal style preference as I like a muted colour palette.
The final edit before resizing and saving is just tweaking the brightness and contrast, often this is not really necessary but again it is dependent on the image.
The last step is just to resize the image, I personally like to stick to a consistent 30 x 30cm and 300dpi so it is high resolution and could use it for anything web or print. I then save as a JPG as this is what is easy to use online. Here is my final image.
I’d love to find out how you edit images and any hints or tips you might have to improve my process so leave me a comment or send me a message. Also, if you struggle with photography and found this helpful just let me know as I’d love to know if you want more of this kind of blog post!