This post was totally meant to go up on Sunday, but as I’m currently battling the hulking beast that is my seminar paper it got a little bit delayed. Statistics are fun everyone! But only sometimes, I’ll to do a post about blog optimisation in the future, and bring my number crunching skills to the front. I’ve got more to me than just pretty photos yeah? Today though I’d like to share my editing process. I’ve already talked about how to how to shoot the things so this will just seal the deal.
I shoot RAW, if that doesn’t mean anything to you then I’ll assume you’re not using a DSLR. If you are using a DSLR and don’t know what RAW is… I advise you to keep reading.
RAW files (basically, very not detailed explanation a head) are files that have not gone under any compression or change by the camera’s processor. It’s exactly what was registered onto the camera’s sensor, no manipulation or colour alteration – other than those made by a lens. It’ll mean your files will be bigger and that they’ll require some editing – the colours won’t be rendered as vibrant. This is an image straight out of the camera:
It’s nice, I’ve nothing against it but it’s a little… anaemic? It’s missing that joie de vivre of a good photo. It was shot in perfect conditions – notice the light reflecting on the compacts and the ceramic brush holder, but needs some help. Because I shot in RAW there’s a lot of data there so I can manipulate the shadows and highlights without introducing “grain” which may happen with a .jpeg file.
First, I crop. For a More detailed explanation of cropping and composition check out my previous Sunday Tips post. Since I was shooting this without a tripod the horizon was a little off, I adjusted that and cropped the image in a little bit to bring focus to my subject the gorgeous Chanel Charming Palette from last winter.
ahhhh much better. I’m a firm believer that a crop can make an image that much better, you should consider a shot before taking it always (that’s my film photographer roots there) but today you can also save an image with a crop. It’s still looking a little… dank, dark and dreary. Not the vibe I’m going for here. Let’s make some adjustments, I’m using Lightroom to edit but most of the tools I’m using are available with free software too.
So what did I do?
I played around mostly, first I always up the exposure for a brighter look.
Then to preserve the contrast I up that a little, I like to darken the shadows and lighten the highlights. If that’s not enough I’ll bump up the whites and down the blacks. Lastly I’ll play with the saturation and temperature of the image to make sure there’s still good colour and that it isn’t too cool or warm.
That’s all, it takes about a minute to complete and adjusting is easy.
This is a thing that gets easier with time and practice.
Unless you’re going for a very specific effect the most you’ll need to do is play around with exposure, contrast and saturation. There’s automatic filters/plugins available to use as well, some cost money and others are free.
Here’s the before and after with the adjustments made; it really does make a difference to the image.
I can already hear you saying “But Dar, I don’t have these programs! It’s too complicated!” and so I’ve got a solution for you. I call it edit on your phone, I like VSCO for this too. Simply import the image to your phone – I use dropbox for all blog stuff so it’s easy to just download to the phone via that.
Upload the image, adjust the exposure and the contrast (like before). It’s pretty much the same as working with a desktop program, just on your phone. I also find the user interface easier since you’re just sliding things around and seeing the results. Yes you’ve got less control but it’s all good.
Then I’ll adjust the temperature, saturation and sharpen things. Because I just like to sharpen all my images when I can. This is the final result:
It’s always amazing to me how much just those minor adjustments can change an image, to have a very clear “editing style” I’d suggest always making the same kind of adjustments (like using the same filter on all your images) so they’ll easily be recognisable as yours. Otherwise, just have fun until your happy with what you’ve got!
That’s it for me, I’m back to pounding at the keyboard to finish up my last University hand in and to official finish off my BA. If you’ve any questions about editing or photography feel free to ask away in the comments, I’ll do my best to answer them.