photo editing tips Tag

I thought I'd write a quick post on ways to improve photo editing, as I'll be spending the next day or two editing myself. Above is a live view of my screen, starting the editing process with a senior photo shoot I captured the other day. Cameras are everywhere, and more and more people are finding themselves tweaking photos on the computer. So this post isn't just for hardcore photographers. The every day, just for fun photographer can really benefit from this post as well. Some of the tips are simple and some are for the more advanced photographer. This isn't the de facto "How to Become an Amazing Photo Editor." They are just some quick tips to help you along your journey. Either way, I think you'll all pickup a little something.

Use a white balance tool at time of capture

Out of all of the edits I make to my photos in post, finding proper white balance is the one of the most important. Finding proper white balance will ensure optimal separation and vibrant color. To make this way easier on yourself, purchase a white balance card or another like color checker tool. I use the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. Hold this up in front of your subject for the first frame of every new lighting environment, and all your work is done. In post, you can simply use these test captures to calibrate your white balance with one click.

Rate photos, sort with smart collections

Most, if not all, legit photo editing software provides users with a photo rating system, and typically is a 0-5 rating range. Use this, always. The first thing I do is toss all of the photos from a single shoot into a folder or collection so they can be isolated from the remaining bulk of your photo library. I then run through a photo shoot and rate all the photos I like with "1" or a "1 star." This eliminates all the bad frames, photos with people blinking, etc. Now categorize the 1 star photos in a collection or smart collection (further isolating just 1 star photos from the pack), so all of the dud photos are not visible. Now go through all of the 1 stars and elevate the ones out of that group with a "2 star" rating. Repeat this process up to 5 times until you have a tight group of solid photos. I find the more photos I shoot the more rating stages of this process I have to go through. A standard shoot usually runs about 200 photos, and I can usually narrow them down to the top picks with two rounds of rating. A wedding event of 2000 photos on the other hand may take me all the way to 4 or 5 stars of rating to narrow it down. Do this BEFORE you even start to make any edits to your photos. Say you shot 200 photos for a family photo session. Are you going to edit and deliver all 200 photos? No, you probably will deliver around 50 max. So narrow your selection to those top 50 THEN edit, and save yourself a bunch of otherwise waisted time. Rating your photos has a few benefits. It not only saves you editing time, but every time you narrow down the photos to a smaller group you get a clearer perspective on what the collection of photos contains (rather than sorting through the whole group, making random edits, and trying to figure out which ones are the top selections).