Photography Tips: Post Processing

I have had a lot of people ask me how I get my images to look the way they do.  It’s no secret that I edit my images so I thought  I would share  some before and after pictures and some tips with you. And answer a few questions on the subject.

FAQ: WHAT ARE YOUR POST PROCESSING SECRETS? HOW DO YOU GET YOUR IMAGES TO LOOK LIKE THEY DO? WHAT PROGRAMS DO YOU USE?

First, here is a look at what I do. I shoot in RAW, not JPEG, and then color correct all my images in Lightroom (http://tryit NULL.adobe NULL.com/us/lightroom/tw2/?sdid=IBFJY). Lightroom is an awesome program that is easy to use and yields really great images. You can even try it for free!  When I color correct in Lightroom I fix the little things like exposure and image warmth. I like my pictures to be on the cool side, where they pictures have a more blue tint than yellow. That’s just my preference. Editing is really all about your style and what you like.  I like colorful, saturated, heavily contrasted images. So in Photoshop I run actions on my favorite images that do just that. I use the Totally Rad Actions (http://www NULL.gettotallyrad NULL.com/) for Photoshop and I believe they even have some for Lightroom.  I will be honest, Photoshop is a difficult program to use at first. I think there are other programs out there that are cheaper and easier to use if you don’t have the money or the time to invest in it. You don’t have to have Photoshop to get great images.  And I will prove it to you later in this post!

FAQ: WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE MY IMAGES LOOK GREAT EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER?

First thing, adjust the settings on your camera. If you have a digital SLR then you can more than likely customize your settings to get better pictures straight out of camera without editing. Let’s face it. Time is precious. So get the best shot you can out of the camera. Use your camera manual to learn how to customize your settings.

Allow me to demonstrate what a difference camera settings can make.

Both images are straight out of the camera with no editing. The image on the left has been shot in jpeg using the camera settings as is. The right image was shot with custom settings in the camera. See the difference in the color, contrast, and sharpness? Which do you like better? That is really up to you, but at least you can see that you can do a lot with just the camera.

Second, find an editing program that works for you. If you want to edit images then find a program you like and play around with it. There are many programs you can use that are good and that will get the job done. They is probably one already on your computer. Just start with it and see what you think.

Third, do simple things when editing like add contrast. Bump up saturation. Make image black and white. Just these little adjustments will go a long way.

BEFORE AND AFTER

Allow me to show you some of my images before they were edited and then the finished look.  These first two images were edited using both Lightroom and the Photoshop.

And the next one was edited in just Lightroom. No Photoshop.

And the last image was edited in IPHOTO which is a program that comes on a MAC.

Well I hope this post has given your some ideas about post processing. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and let me know. I would love to know what program you use to edit your pictures and I am sure my readers who too! So share your knowledge and leave a comment. HAPPY EDITING!

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November 17, 2010 - 12:17 pm

Tori (http://FIToriBLOG NULL.com) - Love this post!!! iPhoto really does work well for a lot of things!
What did you adjust on in lightroom and PS on those 2? did you turn up the exposure? add saturation? Anything else to get that “brightness” or “shininess”?

November 17, 2010 - 3:33 pm

Renee - I ran some actions that I use on all my photos. But basically the actions sharpen, clarify, and add contrast. Love the Totally Rad Actions. Do you have that set?

February 4, 2014 - 1:37 pm

Divine - Hi – was wondering if you offer photography classes/lessons for newbies?

Hoping to hear from you.

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