Friday, October 28, 2011

Editing flow...

One thing that I have changed over and over again through my journey learning photography is my editing process and styles. I think it is fairly common for most people to go through the phases I experienced. I first learned everything I could about photography and tried to get proper exposure. Then, I ventured into the editing world. I purchased CS3 and had my fair share of oompa loompa outcomes before I discovered the phenomenal world of layer masks and opacity. Those two things changed my life and I felt like that is when I truly started to get a grip on my editing. Over the years I have tried to make my photos POP with color and do all the funky, hazy, seventies looks...until I realized it wasn't my style and I needed to figure out exactly what my 'own' style was. I soon realized that I really wanted my images to just be clean, simple edits with a classic feel to them. This is when I really got down and dirty with CS3 and learned how to use it to my advantage. I learned curves and color correcting tools that worked for me. I have a good friend (Hi Larissa!) that is currently going through the beginning stages of learning her new DSLR and she is reminding me so much of myself. She is fully invested and wants to get her hands on anything and everything to help her along her own journey. She asked me to share with her my editing flow. Honestly, I don't really have one that fits all pictures that I take. Every lighting situation is different, producing different color temperatures. I thought I would just simply show how little editing I actually do to my images. 

Since I shoot in RAW format, I open my images in camera raw and do a few edits there first. I make sure my exposure looks good and depending on the individual picture and what it needs, I may do a few other things in camera raw, such as fixing white balance if needed and anything else that might be needed to the overall image I am going to edit. Next, I bring it into photoshop and decide what the picture needs. When you shoot in RAW, things are going to look flat and a bit dull. This is where I usually brighten things up and do a new layer and bump things up.

A good one to start with when you are first leaning is to create a new layer. (Ctrl-J for pc and Command-J for mac). Once you have chosen a new layer, there is a drop down menu that you can choose different blend modes. "Normal" is selected for you. Go to the drop down menu and choose "soft light". It is a great one to bump the contrast and give your picture a nice boost. I cannot stress how important the next step is when you use these features.  Next to the blending modes there is another feature called "opacity". It is NECESSARY to use this function when you are editing. It will automatically set your new layer at 100% and this is when you get images that are way over edited and makes skin tones look horrible. I usually bring the opacity down to about 25-30% on most features I choose.
This is a great place to start. Practice this method and next up on my editing flow is color correction.
We will save that for another post :)

Have fun! And remember...if you have a good, properly exposed image, there won't be a lot you need to do to it to accomplish a nice, clean, simple edit. 


jenn said...

Your blog rocks. It is so helpful and so informative!!! Love that you share the love with so many. :)

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Rabin Rocero said...

I love this blog :)

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