The prospect of using editing software for the first time can be very intimidating for beginners. What are your options if you are unable to master the technology? What if the procedure is too difficult to follow? What if it takes up an unreasonable amount of time? What if the pictures come out horrifying instead?
Some people question a photographer's skill and genuineness when they use Photoshop and Lightroom to edit their photos after shooting them. People confuse "post-processing" and "image manipulation" when discussing photo editing. Both terms are different.
Image manipulation is the alteration of an image, sometimes with deceptive intent. Post-processing can adjust and correct an image to make it more realistic than a digital camera's raw image. Image manipulation isn't inevitable. Photos edited? True. YOU MUST IF YOU'RE SERIOUS ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY. Pressing the shutter button is only half of creating a good photo. Photo editing modifies, corrects, and improves images.
It can range from simple tone and colour enhancements to adding special effects and retouching photos. As a photographer, you'll mostly edit the former. Sometimes more complicated adjustments are needed. If a photographer is too busy to edit photos, they'll hire a company.
Photo editing isn't new. It existed during film photography. Photographers used different darkroom techniques to edit raw film negatives to create beautiful photos. From development time to using coloured gels or prisms to create artistic distortion.
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Even selecting the film to be used is considered to be a form of photo editing. Image quality can vary significantly depending on the type of film used. Some of them boost the saturation of colours, others convert everything to black and white, and still others produce photos with either high or low contrast. The look of the finished product will be determined by the stock film that you choose to use.
Why edit photos?
Editing photos is a required part of being a photographer in this day and age. Through the use of editing software, you are able to improve the quality of your already stunning photographs by adjusting parameters such as exposure, white balance, and colour.
Additionally, the process of editing your photos can assist in reducing the overall size of the image files. This is of the utmost significance if you intend to upload your photographs to the internet, either to your photography website or to a social media account. The loading speed of your WordPress sites will improve, which will in turn improve your rankings in the search engines, provided that you use smaller images. In addition, smaller image files upload to your social media accounts more quickly and retain their quality.
When it comes to the production of photographs, the generally acknowledged best method is to complete as much of the work as possible "in-camera." This means getting the shot as close as possible to your visions before you ever open the image file in Photoshop. Before you open the image file in Photoshop, you should get the shot.
After all, doing so will free up a sizeable portion of the time that you would have otherwise spent in front of the computer. Additionally, it results in an image that is of superior quality and cleanliness.
There are many things that are impossible to accomplish in-camera, and extenuating circumstances, such as poorly lit environments, can force a photographer to make decisions that they are aware they will need to correct in post-production.
It's possible that the post-processing stage is the only place where particularly artistic and creative edits can be made. It goes without saying that you need to know the fundamentals of photography, such as depth of field, composition, framing, and focus, but certain things, such as achieving an unnatural saturation or blending two separate objects into one, require more advanced editing techniques after the photograph has been taken.
There are a couple of additional reasons why a photographer might choose to edit their photos in addition to making creative adjustments to them.
Therefore, photo editing is a win-win situation for you in every way!
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Basic Photo Editing for Beginners
It is essential that you shoot in RAW format if you want to successfully understand the aforementioned things and make edits that relate to them. If you shoot in JPEG mode, you are giving the camera permission to process the image, which means you are accepting the colour adjustments it has made and letting the camera decide which pixels are unnecessary.
When you work with a JPEG image, you have less control, you are working with a significant loss and compression of pixels right from the beginning, and the image colour has already been compromised.
JPEGs can be shot by someone who is really good at photography, has been doing it for a long time, and has a lot of experience, and they can still get the desired image.
Second, the original images that you get will be affected by the type of camera that you use.
The 35mm sensor is what you get with a full-frame camera, which means the sensor is wider, there is more space, more light hits the camera sensor, and there are more pixels. Almost exactly the same as what you see through the lens is what you end up with. On the other hand, the operation of a crop-sensor is exactly the opposite.
Because the lens only permits you to use a portion of the sensor, a 35 mm lens that is mounted on a camera with a crop sensor will only provide you with the field of view that is equivalent to a 52 mm lens. This results in a more zoomed-in and longer focal length. You will experience a reduction in width, as well as a decrease in light and pixel count.
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Crop and Clean Up Your Images
The images should be straightened. Although it is always preferable to pay attention to ensure that your horizon is horizontal when you are shooting, straightening is an easy first step in the editing process.
Crop images: Cropping is the best way to improve minor compositional details, such as distracting elements at the edge of the frame or repositioning your subject slightly. It is best to crop images to improve compositional details like these.
Images free of any blemishes: The great outdoors is a dirty place, and the grit and grime that is found in nature have a way of getting onto the lens of your camera and then onto the photographs that you take. (The frequency with which you use a lens brush in the field is an important factor in reducing this.)
The majority of editing programmes include a tool for removing spots. There are a few variations on the name; "clone stamping" and "spot healing" are just two of them. You are also able to change the way a photo is displayed in a programme so that specific areas can be highlighted. Proceed around the photo in a methodical manner until you have an image that is free of any blemishes.
The key to achieving the correct exposure is striking the right balance between the three aspects that make up the exposure triangle. To be specific, the aperture, the shutter speed, and the ISO. Obtaining a picture with the ideal amount of exposure requires striking the right balance among all three. That means there are no blown highlights and no details that have been completely lost in the areas of the image that are darker but should still be visible to the viewer.
When you are editing your photos, looking at the histogram can be an extremely helpful tool in determining whether or not your exposure is correct. You also have the option to view the histogram immediately after taking the picture, as the histogram is typically displayed on the LCD of modern cameras. This is becoming more common. A histogram is a graphical representation of the total value distribution across an image. To put it another way, a histogram is simply a representation of the total value distribution.
Simply by looking at a histogram, which is the graph in the top right corner of the image below, you can immediately tell whether there is an even spread of tonal values on the image by judging from the troughs and crests on the graph, or whether there is a stark contrast between the tonal values.
Editing is the solution to the problem if the photograph that you shot has an incorrect exposure. If the photo is too dark, you can adjust the sliders on your editing software to increase your exposure; if the photo is too bright, you can adjust the sliders to decrease your exposure. In most cases, you will be able to salvage some of the highlights that were blown out due to overexposure.
Exposure adjustment refers to the process of making the photo exactly as bright or dark as you want it to be when it is finished. Be aware that increasing the brightness can occasionally result in the appearance of "noise," which can be described as a mottled pattern. Because of this, it is always best to get the correct exposure (one that is sufficiently bright) when you first take the picture rather than trying to fix it later.
You can tell it's a little on the bright side because the histogram depicts a tall mountain that's very close to touching the right edge. When the histogram reaches both the left and right edges of the window, this would suggest that both the dark and light areas of your images have been clipped, and as a result, the image contains both overexposure and underexposure. The fact that nothing bleeds into the surrounding space makes this an acceptable image, but I find the brightness to be off-putting.
The image on the left below shows an overexposed image with the exposure turned up, and the image on the right shows an underexposed image with the exposure turned down. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.
White balance is related to the levels of colour, not the levels of exposure. If the overall colour tone of your image is one that you find unpleasant or unnatural, you can correct it by adjusting the white balance in your image editing software. It is important to keep in mind that editing capabilities for JPG files are extremely limited in comparison to RAW files due to the fact that JPG files capture a significantly lower amount of digital data.
To put it another way, white balance is the setting on your camera that determines how the colour temperature of the light in the environment in which you are shooting compares to the colour white. There should be no colour casts that cause a distortion in the appearance of white when the white balance is perfect. White should be shown to be as white as it is perceived in reality.
Adjusting the white balance sliders, on the other hand, will allow you to choose between a warm white and a cool white. In general, you don't want the white to look too yellow or orange, or too cold, like it has a strong blue cast. Those are all undesirable appearances. Look at the difference between the two pictures below: the one on the left is too cold, and the one on the right is too warm.
Modifying the contrast: Contrast refers to the range of tones, from dark to light. When it's turned all the way up, you'll see a jarring image in which every tone, irrespective of colour, will be either extremely dark or extremely light. When it is set to an extremely low value, the image appears to be completely flat, with no parts of the frame standing out in particular. In most cases, you want to aim for a contrast that is somewhere in the middle and stays away from either of those extremes. Adjusting the contrast, however, will allow you to achieve either of those looks, should you choose to do so.
Regarding the contrast, I am of the opinion that there is nothing particularly mind-boggling about it. It has nothing to do with anything other than the darkness of the blacks in the photograph. Even after making the adjustments described above, our photo still has a very flat appearance. The blacks, shadows, highlights, and light areas just need to have a little bit of their contrast adjusted. Keep in mind that you shouldn't clip your blacks or your whites, or if you want a little more contrast, you shouldn't clip too much. In order to make adjustments to the contrast, you can also use the tab labelled "curves," which displays a grid with a curved line.
Keep in mind that your goal at this stage is only to have a clean edit. The standard profile and the colour profile both have the same edits as shown in the images above. Because of this, selecting your colour profile before beginning will give you the best results.
Colour Vibrancy and Saturation
After the white balance has been altered to your liking, you can use the saturation and vibrancy controls to further enhance the colours in your photographs. The difference between the two is difficult to pinpoint: Increasing the vibrancy of a colour increases the colour intensity in colour tones that are neutral, while keeping the colour intensity the same in colours that are brighter. Increasing the level of saturation causes all of the colours in the frame to appear more vibrant. A photograph can have a more dramatic appearance if it features vivid colours that stand out.
Noise and Sharpening
You can adjust the noise and sharpening of the image by clicking on the third tab, which has two black triangles displayed on it. This takes you to the panel where you can make those adjustments. Again, gentle adjustments are needed here.
It is essential to view your photo at its full size in order to get a clear idea of how the adjustments are affecting the final product.
The smoothness of the pixels is related to the luminosity of the image. You don't want to go too far, or else you'll lose definition of what you're doing.
Your image will either lose its colour or appear to have an excessive amount of colour if you make adjustments that are too drastic. Color is determined by the degree to which the RGB pixels are displayed.
An image can be made to appear crisper and cleaner if it is sharpened. A multitude of programmes provide a selection of different sharpening tools. First, make any necessary adjustments to the overall level of sharpness (on a scale from 0 to 100). You should begin at fifty percent, and then adjust the level either up or down to achieve the desired degree of sharpness.
Try out the various additional sharpening features offered by the editing software you're using to get a feel for how each one works. You might want to try using a tool that provides "clarity" or "structure." It gives the overall image a more vibrant and striking appearance by making the edges of the objects in the photograph stand out more clearly.
In order to properly evaluate the effect of each sharpness adjustment, you need to focus your attention on specific areas of the frame. It won't make much of a difference if you have super-fine details for posts on social media, but it will make a significant difference for any image that you intend to enlarge and print.
It is important to keep in mind that sharpening an image will not bring an image that is out of focus into focus. There is no editing tool that can accomplish that. In addition, excessive sharpening of an image can result in an unnatural halo effect being produced around the various elements contained within the frame.
How to use the photo histogram?
During the editing process, you can optimise the final exposure levels by using this graphical representation of the tonal range of a photograph. You don't always have to look at the histogram, but doing so when a shot has a significant amount of dark area or a significant amount of light area can be helpful.
It is easy to refer to because many editing programmes display it on the screen in the same location where you adjust the exposure. A photograph that has been correctly exposed will show a range of tones, from the darkest to the lightest, with the majority of the tones clustered in the middle.
Your objective is not to take pictures that always include a histogram. That is determined to a large extent by how evenly the lighting is distributed across the subject.
However, if there is a spike on the left-hand side of the histogram, this indicates that your photograph contains a significant amount of darker tones.
You can also judge exposure by eye as you edit, but a histogram can be an extremely helpful tool, particularly if you make it a habit to check it frequently.
Things to Think About Before You Begin Editing
Photo editing programs
There are numerous options available, such as advanced and pricey professional programmes, free and open-source online alternatives, and frequently, fundamental editing software is included with your camera as well. If you decide to purchase a more advanced programme, you should carefully consider whether you want a cloud-based version (which requires a recurring payment) or a standalone version (a one-time purchase price).
Cloud-based programmes always have the most recent updates available and give users the ability to save photos online (an added expense). In addition, it is possible to make edits out in the field by using a tablet or a mobile version of the software; however, this requires that you have access to the internet. When you compare prices over time, however, purchasing a standalone version of an editing programme will almost always end up being the more cost-effective option. Looking for a Mornington Peninsula wedding photographer? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Understand the difference between “non-destructive” and “destructive” editing
Some editing software, also known as non-destructive editing, will automatically save copies of your originals. Others, however, save edited versions of images over the originals, which is a form of destructive editing. When editing, there is a certain amount of trial and error involved, and if you mess up, you have to revert to the original file. Make sure you are aware of whether or not the editing programme you use creates copies of the originals. In the event that it does not, you should first create copies of every image you intend to edit before getting started.
Importing and Sorting Photos
The wonderful thing about digital photography is that it enables you to take multiple shots in quick succession, increasing your chances of capturing some truly remarkable images. After you have transferred and organised your images on your computer, the first thing you will need to do is review them to determine which ones need to be edited.
It's possible that, now that you know the tricks of photo editing, you'll view images in a different way. Some people are worried about the effects of the flawlessness of the images we see on a daily basis, while others are inspired by their beauty and precision.
All we know is this: If you want a perfect image, and you’ve got a vision in your mind of what it should be, then editing can help you get there. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.
Happy shooting, and happy editing!