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Learn to Edit Photographs: How I Did It.

Landscape Photography - Seascapes - Travel Ideas - How-to's - Camping

This is Fun (I Promise): Bringing your images to life.

Now you have your images (hopefully shot in RAW) it's time to bring them to life and add your own artistic interpretation. For some this is creating an image that is as close as possible to how your eye saw it. For others, it is adding your own creativity to the shot. But how do you do that?

Now, again there are a ton of videos on YouTube that cover the basics, some good, some not so good. But the way I learned was to sit down with my chosen editing software and take a step by step online class. That way you can edit your own image as you go and see what the effects are.

Choosing Which Software to Use:

So which software is best and why do I need it? The old adage is that "the best one is the one that you will use". There is a lot of truth in this. The more you use it, the more you will use and get the best out of it.

So why the need for editing software? Editing software allows users to enhance, manipulate, and change the appearance of digital images. It can be used to correct lighting and color issues, remove unwanted elements, and add creative effects. It can also be used to prepare images for various uses such as printing, publishing, or sharing on social media. In summary, photo editing software can help create better-looking images that can be used for various purposes.

To get the best from your images you should always shoot in RAW; Shooting photos in RAW format allows for greater flexibility and control in post-processing. RAW files are unprocessed image data straight from the camera's sensor and contain more information than JPEGs, which are compressed and processed by the camera. This allows for adjustments to be made to things like white balance, exposure, and color without the loss of quality that can occur with JPEGs. Additionally, shooting in RAW provides the ability to recover details and correct mistakes that may have been made while capturing the image, such as underexposure or color cast. Overall, shooting in RAW allows for greater creative control and the ability to produce higher-quality final images.

Types of Software Available:

What is the best Photo Editing Software? Well first lets look at some of the options.

Here is a list of some in no particular order.

  1. Adobe Photoshop: One of the most popular and widely used photography editing software, Adobe Photoshop offers a wide range of tools and features for editing and retouching photos. It is suitable for both professional and amateur photographers.

  2. Lightroom: Developed by Adobe, Lightroom is a powerful photo editing software that allows users to import, organize, and edit their photos. It is particularly useful for managing large numbers of photos, and it offers a wide range of tools for adjusting exposure, color, and more.

  3. GIMP: GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free, open-source software that offers many of the same features as Photoshop. It is a great option for those on a budget or who are just starting out with photography editing..

  4. Aperture: Aperture is a professional-grade photo editing software developed by Apple. It is designed for Mac users and offers a range of advanced tools and features for editing and organizing photos.

  5. Capture One: Capture One is a professional-grade photo editing software that is designed for high-end camera users. It offers a wide range of tools and features for editing and retouching photos and is especially useful for RAW image files.

  6. Luminar: Luminar is a professional-grade photo editing software that offers a wide range of tools and features for editing and retouching photos. It is suitable for both professional and amateur photographers and is a great option for those who are looking for a more affordable alternative to Photoshop.

Before and After Editing
Before and After Editing

Learning to Use it: It Gets Easier!!

In my last post I talked about the pros and cons of learning how to use a camera on YouTube, much of which applies when it comes to learning editing software.

Everyone is different, but my preferred method is to take a structured class on a learning platform such as SkillShare. For me the ability to actually follow along while editing a real image helps to get it all to sink in. Frank Minghella has a great class on Lightroom. Of course there are numerous classes you can take on the different Editing platforms. Its like anything else if you don't use it you will forget, so practice practice practice.

Choose one and stick with it. That way you will become comfortable and proficient.

I once feared editing, but now love it. It has become part of the creative process. One which I can apply my own personality to.

I Chose Adobe Lightroom: Why?

I had used some of Adobes software previously (Illustrator and Dreamweaver) so I had some level of comfort with their platforms. But my main reason for choosing Lightroom was that it seemed to be the industry standard editing software, and most of the photographers I followed use it and taught on it.

I have no regrets as the software is both intuitive (once you have taken a few lessons) and powerful. Adobe also updates and adds new features about every 6 months. For this reason an online subscription is, I believe, the best option.

There are two versions of Lightroom; Lightroom Classic and Lightroom for web. Lightroom Classic is a desktop based program whereas Lightroom for web is a truly mobile app based program you can use anywhere. The one and only drawback I see of the mobile version is that it relies on Cloud Storage which I soon burned through and would have had to pay additional fees for extra storage.

With Lightroom Classic you will use up disk space, but you can add an external hard drive to store all your images (this is the route I took).

Example of One of My Seascapes
A Snowy Visit To Yosemite

Your Editing Style.

What is "your" editing style? Well that depends on you and what you are trying to achieve. Are you a portrait photographer with a certain look? Or a wedding photographer with a theme? Or maybe a landscape photographer who wants their images to be as real as possible.

The long and short of it is that you can achieve any style you want. But don't expect it to be perfect right away. As with most artistic endeavors your style will change over time. When I look back at my early editing I can see how far I have come. Again this all happened with practice and experience. I remember being so proud of my early attempts and there is nothing wrong with them, it's simply that my style has developed over time as will yours.

So What's Next?:

Again the mantra is practice, practice, practice.

Review and choose the software that suits you best. Take an online class and start editing your images.

Take as many images, as often as you can and then practice editing them. Take a few hours or maybe the next day and come back and look at the images you had edited. See if you still like it or are there things you could change/improve.

Bounce your work off of family and friends and get some input. Maybe edit the same image in two different styles and ask which is like most. But at the end of the day it is your image and your style.

What Happens Now?

So by now you probably have enough equipment to go out, take photos and come back and edit them. Now go have fun. I took photos of virtually everything to get used to my camera. I then tried editing in various styles to see what I like.

Next time we will look at genres and styles to see what perhaps will pique your interest. I am also going to post about my recent trips and other software and equipment I have been trying out recently.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please reach out to me. I am always happy to help.

So is That It?:

No! Not even close. I am far from done learning. My journey has only just begun and I make a point of trying to learn every time I pick up my camera. I think that is part of the enjoyment, it's a never ending journey.

Thanks for reading - Get Creative


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Inspiration (I hope)

My photographic journey is ongoing and I am learning everyday. Here is an image I captured on a trip to Yosemite.

*I fund some of my traveling through sales of my work. You can check it out here

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