When I first started out in photography I was constantly looking at other people's work and wondering 'how in the world do they get it to look like that?' or 'I wish I could edit like this person'. So with these things in mind I totally understand the struggles a lot of photographers face when they edit their photos. Editing can be super daunting and I feel as though ALOT of people (not only those who call themselves photographers) know the importance of editing because it can totally change the mood of a particular photo and turn a super average photo into a breathtaking one. Before I start though I want to state that this isn't a step-by-step guide of how I edit my Instagram photos from beginning to end. I think one of the most important things when it comes to photography is to play with different styles. There's a huge difference between getting a guide handed to you (that's not being creative) and learning it yourself, as I said earlier, it's all a part of your creative process and finding a style that suits you. I honestly still don't know exactly what my style is and I'm sure it'll change over the next few years as I grow as a photographer by travelling to new places and experiencing new things.
Just to show you how powerful editing can be here is a side-by-side comparison of a photo that I recently posted on Instagram (if you haven't checked out my Instagram you can do so HERE).
- Lightroom Classic on PC
- Lightroom Mobile
Let's start with the programs that I personally use to edit and post all of my Instagram photos from my travel and adventures. For all of my photo editing I start on my computer where I import my photos taken on my camera to Adobe Lightroom, it's a really and easy to use program that literally does everything you need. It is a subscription based service (costing roughly $20 a month) but for me it is absolutely worth every penny.
The great thing about Adobe Lightroom is that there is also a mobile version of the program called Lightroom Mobile. You automatically gain access to Lightroom Mobile once you have a subscription. What I love about Lighroom Mobile is that whenever you import photos over to your PC onto Adobe Lightroom they automatically sync onto Lighroom Mobile meaning you gain full access to all of your photos! I have over 10000 photos currently synced as of writing this blog that I can access on my mobile phone at any time.
After they're synced onto Lightroom Mobile, I then make some adjustments to the photo. It's super important to not go over the top with the editing because it can easily turn the photo from great to something horrible to look at. The reason why I make more adjustments is because you'll find that although it's great to see the photo much better on a laptop, the colour is slightly different from your computer to your phone.
This last program that I use is called Mextures which is an app (it costs $1.99 but it's definitely worth it). I don't use it very often because as I said, it's important not to over edit, but there are times where I'd like some oldschool grain or retro vibes, so after finishing up the edit in Lightroom Mobile I then open it up in this app and can add all different types of textures that you can't get anywhere else. Also, don't just take it from me, big Instagrammers like @doyoutravel and @gypsea_lust also use this app for some of their photos.
For the editing itself, as I said earlier this isn't a post where I'm going to give a step-by-step breakdown on how I edit my photos, but I will give you some tips that I use on my photos to create something special.
Then again, this is all totally subjective, I know people might like styles that I don't like and the other way around, but here you go anyway.
Use Tone Curves
Tone curves are an essential part of the editing process, they set the mood and it's also a super visual way of looking at how you're effecting your photo.
Go Easy on the Clarity (Structure)
Clarity basically intensifies texture and detail. I would blast the clarity (structure on Instagram) when I first started editing thinking 'this looks epic!', but now I have the view that less is more. To put it simply: don't overdo it.
I feel like a lot of people don't fully understand temperature. If you want to portray a cold winters day then make sure you add a blue tint to the photo, if you want to exaggerate a sunset then add an orange or red tint to the photo. I see people (even well known photographers) all the time trying to warm up a photo taken somewhere like the snow... It just doesn't look right. You can even go more in depth - and this is what I tend to do more of these days - and add an orange tint to your highlights (lighter area of your image) and blues to your shadows (darker areas of your image) to really make your photo pop.
Ultimately, I want you to find your own style and hope you've taken something away from this. If these are topics you'd really like to hear more about then definitely let me know in the comments, I'd be super keen to write more stuff like this about the actual creative process when it comes to photo and video. To close off, learning things like this are important but in the end the only way to truly get better is by actually creating stuff.
Until next week, stay safe but not too safe.