Photographers are always sharing photos (duh, right?), but what you see is almost always the finished product. I want to share a little of the process, the work, the blood sweat and tears (ok maybe its not that dramatic as that) that goes into each image I share with you, the world wide web, and the artwork I deliver to my clients.
It took me several years to develop my current editing style and perfect the workflow and process I go through with each image. My editing software of choice is Lightroom. I do use Photoshop when I need to get down and dirty, but for everyday post processing Lightroom is where its at! I use the same basic process for each photograph to ensure the color and lighting is perfect (after culling and weeding out the blurry, closed eyes, sneezing face pictures of course!), then go back through and add additional enhancements such as brightening eyes, reducing under eye circles, smoothing skin, removing imperfections from the backgrounds, enhancing the sky, etc. Today I’m going to share the base process I use in Lightroom on each photograph I edit and a couple of before and after pictures to give you a better idea of the artistic process each image goes through.
So here we go!
In Lightroom, with the image selected, on the right side bar under ‘lens corrections’ I first check the box to enable lens corrections. This, as you may have guessed, corrects any distortion the curvature of the lens may have caused (the wider the lens the more curvature to the glass and the more distortion and vignetting you will see on the edges of the photograph).
Next, I make sure the white balance is right. Under ‘basic’ I select the eye dropper and find a spot on the image where the ‘r’, ‘g’, and ‘b’ all have the closest number possible and click (usually a gray or neutral colored spot works best). This adjusts the image so the white balance is even and the colors are true keeping, for instance, the photograph from being too cool or too warm.
Then, still under basic, I typically bump the exposure up a little bit and move the ‘shadows’ slider up to (you guessed it!) pull out some of the shadows. I like my photographs to be light and airy while still keeping dimension.
The last thing I look at is the sharpness and the level of “grain” in the picture. To do this, I zoom in and look at the details. If I think it needs a little sharpening or smoothing I go under the ‘details’ drop down and move the sliders under ‘sharpness’ (‘amount’ and ‘masking’ sliders) and ‘noise reduction’ (‘luminance’ slider). With these tools, less is often more. I like to be conservative and start slowly – an over sharpened photograph is just as bad as a blurry one. For example, here is a screen shot of my settings for the sharpening and noise reduction for the image above.
Thanks so reading ya’ll, and I hope this post was helpful and gave you a little insight into my process! I’d love to answer questions or hear about you’re favorite editing process, so don’t be shy!