Of course, I am a self-proclaimed preset queen so photo editing is something I take very seriously haha! I joke however I do love to talk about editing because it can truly make or break your photos. Now don’t get me wrong I have made some terrible mistakes along the way, hello 2018 when everything was a little toooo bright, but right now I’m truly happy with my style and I think it’s a classic rather than a trend, so when I look back on my photographs many years in the future I don’t go “ohhhhh what is that!!!”
So first of all you need to find your style (I do offer preset consultations where I can help you find your style if that’s something you struggle with!). There’s no point having bright, light and airy photos if your photos are darker-toned or colourful. So think about what kind of photos you take mainly. For example, I am drawn to pastel colours. So my editing needs to suit that. But you may love all the things right and colourful or you might be into dark and moody images. It’s all down to personal preference. A great way to find your colours is to use a website like Colorkuler make sure you use the free version! It can give your palette and help work out the kind of photos you take.
Then it’s down to editing. Of course, there are presets available (ohhh where could you get those I hear you cry (hahahah)? ) But the main things you are going to want to edit will be light and colours. Lightroom is the best editing tool, you can get the free version on your phone.
So if you are after a light and bright image then you want to take out the shadows by putting the bar up to 100. If you want a moodier image you would bring them down. The same goes for whites, the higher the number the brighter the whites in the images will appear. For blacks, it’s slightly different the lower the number the more black the blacks in your image will be. Contrast is also another tool we can use to control the light. Personally, I am a fan of less contrast as it keeps images much softer. You then of course have exposure which simply makes the image brighter or darker.
As for colour, you can get super technical if you like but to keep things simple the best tool are saturation, vibrance, white balance and tint. So for white balance, this controls how blue or yellow toned your image is. The higher the number the warmer toned it will be and the lower the number the cooler-toned it will be. Then with tint the higher the number, the more pink tones you have and the lower the number will be greener toned. It’s all about finding the right balance for your editing style and for your image.
And finally saturation and vibrance. Saturation controls how saturated the colour is in your images. Again the higher the number the more saturated it will be. Be careful with saturation as it is quite easy to overdo it and you’ll end up ruining skin tones. Vibrance is great as it’s less harsh and brings out the colour without the saturation so the more vibrance you add in the brighter those colours will appear. Again use with caution but you can be a little bit more generous with it.
Now you can get super technical into colour grading and curves but those tools I’ve talked about will help you on your way. Of course, if all of this makes no sense what so ever you can use my presets to help with editing. My biggest piece of advice is to just play around and see what works for you. Everyone is different and you can find your own unique style. You can always use presets as a starting point for your images and make tweaks and alternations along the way.
I hope that makes some sense and gives a small insight into what goes into editing photographs. If you would like to learn more things with me you can sign up to my Patreon where I share weekly tutorials, mini podcasts and BTS of my images.