Editing is an incredibly important part of digital photography. While you should try to master using composition, lighting, and your camera’s settings to controlthe outcome of the photo, post-editing is also super valuable to your toolkit as a photographer.
When photographing myself, I’m acting as both photographer and model, and I can’t always control every element of the photo. This has made me incredibly comfortable using Lightroom to achieve my desired effect.
When I was just learning to use Lightroom and Photoshop, I made a lot of mistakes that made my photos look amateur, and I wish I had someone to guide me through them. You’re always going to run into bumps along the way, but here are the biggest editing mistakes I wish I had known when I was a beginner:
1. Not editing at all. When I first started taking photos I wouldn’t edit them at all. I thought I was preserving the integrity of the photo, but I was actually just missing out on stylistic opportunities. Post-editing your photos can help you create a mood and develop a cohesive style.
2. Editing too much. After getting over my fear of editing, I went the complete opposite direction. I was using selective color and taking the saturation slider up to the maximum. I thought that intense editing and colors would make my photos more interesting. This is not always the case. Photos can easily become overwhelming if the eye doesn’t know where to land. Focus on enhancing the elements that are already present in your photo, this will keep it from becoming too busy.
3. Not using presets. This one is incredibly important, especially when posting your photos on Instagram. Purchasing or creating your own presets in Lightroom helps to create a cohesive artistic voice. It also helps cut down on editing time and gives you a place to start when editing each photo. If you’re just starting out, I definitely suggest purchasing a preset pack from a photographer you admire. This will give you a great starting point and insight into how they edit their photos. You can always make your own changes later.
I could talk about photography forever! Drop your photography and editing questions in the comments and I’ll tackle them in an upcoming post!