I am so excited you have joined me! My name is Lindsey Shedd and I have five, yes five, sweet and energetic boys! I worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse for nine years and became a full time stay at home mom after my third son was born. I began learning photography about five years into my retirement and have not stopped learning! I hope you can grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and talk photography!
We are going to discuss all the things editing! The number one questions I get are:
What is the best way to edit?
What is the difference between JPEG and RAW?
What exactly is white balance and how does it affect my image?
Do I have to shoot in manual?
How do I edit to achieve the look I want?
There is no right or wrong answer. We are all unique and have different preferences and editing styles that we are drawn too. Many are drawn to light and airy edits, while others like dramatic and moody images. Some like pastels, while many prefer black and white, monochromatic, high contrast, vintage or retro edits. There are as many editing styles as there are stars in the sky…well ok, almost!
First things first! There are many factors that contribute to an image. Gear, lenses, light, composition, storytelling, editing software, and the creative process to name a few.
There is often a pre-conceived notion that you have to have top of the line equipment to shoot beautiful images. This is absolutely not true. Your images are a reflection of YOU! It is YOUR voice through imagery and your ability to tell a story!
With that being said, let’s briefly talk about the foundational elements that contribute to a successful photograph. It is essential to have a good understanding of your camera and its functions. Shooting in manual is a must because it gives you the most control in determining the amount of light, shadows, contrast, noise, and white balance that the camera sensor records! This data can be manipulated and stretched in post processing to achieve your desired result!
Light, composition, and storytelling are key in creating an image that speaks to your audience. These are foundational in building your edit. This is what will “grab” the viewer and speak to them and will also heavily influence post-processing. While an in-depth discussion of these elements is beyond the scope of this post, it is important to understand that they play a huge role in the editing and creative process and have a profound effect on any editing style!
There are numerous ways to style an edit! It is important to start with a clean edit, and develop your creative process from there. If you are unsure of where to begin, ask yourself these questions! What style am I drawn too? What type of images speak to me? What images reach out and grab me? Find a style you love, and learn, learn, and learn some more! You can never learn too much!
Some of the more popular styles include light and airy edits which usually lean toward a pastel palette, have matte backgrounds, and typically do not utilize a lot of contrast, heavy shadows, or dark exposure. They “look” light and airy.
Another common edit are those that contain rich, dramatic, and moody tones. These edits typically utilize darker tones, with an emphasis on shadows, contrast, blacks, and lowered exposure.
Monochromatic processing is another favorite. This editing style is derived from a single base hue (one color) and is manipulated by altering the saturation and brightness of the selected color. Black
and white are always added to the selected color to achieve various shades, tones, and tints.
Another common style, which you will frequently see in Hollywood, is the Cinematic High Contrast edit. The orange and teal color theme is very popular in cinematography and cinematic edits. Color grading and high contrast are key components to this type of edit. This process also requires a deeper knowledge of color theory. A wide angle lens, creative lighting, and storytelling are foundational when attempting this type of process. We have barely scratched the surface to the numerous approaches of
editing, however these are a handful of selections that are very popular. Each genre is unique and offers a great deal of knowledge exclusive to its process.
There are many many types of raw processing software on the market. Lightroom, Alien Skin, Luminar, Capture One, On1 Photo Raw, and Photoshop. Each software offers a similar platform for RAW processing with varying degrees of modifications and adjustments. These are but a few choices available. I use Adobe LightroomCC and PhotoshopCC.
There are two critical aspects in post processing. First, your SOOC and white balance should be as near perfect as possible. This will save hours of processing and help to eliminate wonky colors and color casts. One of the best ways I have found to produce a solid SOOC and correct white balance, is to shoot in Kelvin, use a gray card, or expo disc which can be found here.
The other key factor is to shoot in RAW. The Raw file format contains the maximum amount of information recorded by the cameras sensor. Why is this important? Shooting in Raw records the highest quality, records greater levels of brightness, and allows you to manipulate the data to its fullest potential. It is non-destructive editing, meaning that you are not altering the original file data.
The best way to have the maximum amount of control of your edits is to learn the tools and functions of the editing software you are using. While this can certainly be overwhelming and tedious, it will give you a greater depth of knowledge in learning how to fix exposure, white balance, tweak colors, hues, saturation, and luminance. “Playing” with the sliders can also introduce new areas of growth and learning. When you become comfortable with the tools and their functions, creating a preset or action
for repetitive adjustments can be quite helpful and save a great deal of time.
After adequately utilizing the common functions of your software, creative processing is the next step. Lets face it! There are many advanced Photoshop users whose skill set is far beyond that of my own. Many have created beautiful toning actions, overlays, and textures that add a dramatic effect to your images. I love these people! Research what you love and look into the actions and overlays that speak to you!
And then PLAY and CREATE! It is so much fun!!!
I hope you are enjoying our discussion thus far. I am working on my second cup of coffee and snuggled in my favorite work chair. The leaves are starting to change, and the mornings and evenings are getting cooler! Whose ready for fall? Ok, back to photography!
The knitty gritty of editing! One of my favorite topics! I love love love to edit. I actually prefer editing over shooting. And this is where my introverted personality emerges! I love to turn on some good music, for me that’s piano…I know…such a nerd, shut the office doors ,and create!
My work flow begins with importing my images into Lightroom. I always begin my processing with a clean edit. In other words, I use the basic adjustments panel to fix any exposure issues, lighting issues,
clipping, etc. From here you can become as creative as you would like! I crop as needed to obtain the best composition for my image. I will often open up the shadows and blacks, as I have a tendency to underexpose when I shoot.
From there I lightly address skin issues, color, blemishes, and texture using a brush and adjusting the exposure, contrast, and clarity sliders.
Next, I hit the curves panel to add a light matte and further address exposure and RGB issues if needed.
Moving on down the panel, I spend quite a bit of time in the HSL panel manipulating hue, color, and luminance which will dramatically affect the outcome of your edit! There are entire classes on LR, its
panels, and Editing which are beyond the scope of our discussion!
From this point, I send my image into Photoshop and add the final touches. I have found LR and Photoshop to be incredibly useful for ANY image and editing style. The radial gradient and brush tools in Lightroom are instrumental in not only contributing a clean edit, but executing your creative process, regardless of your editing style. I love images that tell a story through the use of rich tones and beautiful light! This is accomplished through manipulating color, its saturation, adjusting the light or darkness of that color, using contrast, and capturing light that produces rich shadows, tones and adds depth and dimension to your image.
I encourage you to practice, practice, practice and practice some more! The more you practice and make mistakes, the more you learn!
You will find me photographing my boys who are always playing, wrestling, being silly and well… just being boys!
I would LOVE LOVE to hear from you! Please send me any questions you may have!
Head on over to the Hello Storyteller Members group to watch an exclusive video on how I edit my images!
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Enjoy and God Bless!
With Sincere Gratitude,
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