Editing on your photo actually makes your editing color accurate because most people consume photos on their phones anyway.
Three parts of a photo
- Light - exposure of a photo, dark or light
- Color - white balance, colors
- Detail - sharpness, grain or noise, overall texture
Exercise: Take one photo and edit it in 10 different ways. Then choose which one represents your style better.
.JPG is most common, digitally compressed, smaller file size, more difficult to edit -> best for simple edits RAW captures as much data as possible, not compressed (sot takes up a lot of space), greater flexibility in editing, more detail in bright/dark areas (dynamic range) -> for more complicated edits
If you are a mobile shooter, shoot your photos through the Adobe Lightroom App because it has its own RAW file (dng).
Exposure and emotion
Exposure has a huge impact on mood. Dark photos are moody, mysterious (hide info), ominous, scary, powerful, refined, intense, sad, calm, and relaxed. Light photos are optimistic, upbeat, happy, airy, ethereal, and gentle. Light photos can also be sad like dark photos (via contrast).
Contrast is the difference between the dark and bright areas of a photograph. Photos can be high/low contrast regardless of their overall exposure.
A dark image with very low contrast (image is more gray instead of huge difference between light and dark) can be a sad, sombre, or relaxed photo.
A dark image with a high contrast is refined, polished, or intense.
High contrast images (regardless of whether light or dark) are dramatic, intense, loud, vibrant, punchy, and sharp.
Contrast is one of the most abused functions in the editing process. Avoid using too much contrast.
Low contrast images may not standout that much. They are relaxed but not so bold. They are subdued, gentle, soft, quiet, muted.
Good light doesn’t need high contrast to stand out.
Color and Emotion
Three aspects of color:
- Hue - is the actual color and their shades in between
- Saturation - is the purity of the color; the purer the color, the more saturated it is; the less saturated the closer it is to gray
- Luminance - the brighter the color, the more luminant it is; less luminant is darker (dark blue vs light blue)
In the color wheel, the middle is pure white, the edges are the pure hues of color.
Color harmony is color combination that look good together.
Go to color.adobe.com
- Compound (complementary + analogous)
The base color is the color that is most prominent in your image. Explore the colors in other people’s photos on the app.
You can use this app before you go editing just to help you in a subconscious level to know which colors work together.
Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe was one of the first to experiment on color and its effect on emotion.
- Published The Theory of Colors
Red: passionate, aggressive, sexy, intense Orange: playful, energetic, exciting Yellow: happy, friendly, warming, calm, caution Green: natural, prosperous, trusting Blue: serene, trustworthy, inviting Purple: luxurious, mysterious, romantic Pink: Young, innocent, calm, feminine Brown: natural, earthy, rustic Black: powerful, sophisticated, mysterious, scary White: clean, virtuous, bright, hopeful Gray: neutral, sofy, gloomy, moody
Storytelling and Editing
The content tells the story.
Realism - Trying to achieve the most realistic look possible (photojournalists) Stylized - Editing for aesthetics without regard for realism.
You can aim to balance the two. Create a stylized photo that is not overly stylized.
Stylized: cyan + blue, cyan + pink, green + pink
Question: Are you going for more realistic or stylized?
There is no right and wrong in editing. Editing is an artistic process. Certain ways of editing is right for the majority of people, but it doesn’t mean that you are wrong.
Don’t worry about creating something that is right or wrong. Worry about creating something that you care about.
Finding Your Editing Style
Find inspiration. Search for beautiful things on Pinterest or IG.
- Analyze color, exposure.
Mimic others. Try to achieve the same look or edit.
- Take a similar photo and edit it similarly.
Edit as often as you can.
- Edit one photo differently, then ask people what edit they like.
- Practice editing at wesaturate.com
- VSCO (A6)
- RNI Films (dust and grain filters)
- Adobe Photoshop Fix (best in cleaning up skin blemishes)
Organizing in Lightroom
- 5* if you like; flag it if you really like
Create an editing workflow.
- Import your photos.
- Sort/organize photos.
- Prep the photo (cropping, remove blemishes, simple pre-edits)
- Edit exposure/light, contrast, higlights, and shadows.
- You can opt not to use contrast and adjust contrast manually through whites and blacks
- Ansel Adams said that a photograph must have some areas where totally devoid of detail in the whites and blacks, which creates an aesthetically beautiful contrast.
- Edit color. When you edit color, this will affect exposure, so you will go back in forth to the two.
- Edit effects or details (vignetting, clarity, sharpening).
- Selective edits
You can only achieve really good photos by editing. A lot of CM’s photos were focused well using selective editing.
How to import photos to lightroom
- From phone to lightroom
- From DSLR or mirrorless camera to phone
- Via wifi (Sony A73)
- Organize by date
- Adapter SD card to iPhone
- Upload to computer first then collection then sync to lightroom CC
- Via wifi (Sony A73)
Preset is a saved edit. You can use preset first then just adjust.
Common editing mistakes
- Over-editing - To avoid over-editing, edit a photo then step-back, then return later.
- Not stepping away
- Not cropping your photo - Cropping helps with composition.
- Too much contrast and clarity - If you use contrast, use some haze to calm it.
- Using odd colors - colors that don’t go together. To avoid this, check that you white balance is correct before editing.
Greens are distracting if they are too vivid. Desaturate them.
For cafe images add blue by lowering the first period down on the red color curve.
Then go to color mix and lower the saturation of most colors.
You can also selectively mask the food and add detail or clarity.
Export to RNI Films and add some grain or adjust warmth too.
To create more focus on a subject in black and white:
- Create a radiant filter.
- Invert it.
- And put down the clarity of everything around that subject.
How to become a better editor
- Experiment, edit as many pictures as you can, edit one photo in 10 different ways.
- Step away, come back, and do it frequently.
- Learn the color schemes that you like and figure out how to capture those colors through your camera and enhance them during editing.
- Use presets from photographers you like and implement them.
- Mimic others.