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How I Edit My Photos

One of the major problems I had when starting photography dealt with post processing. Namely, where to start and in what order was the best to work through a photo when editing. Thankfully, I came across a few videos by Anthony Morganti that helped me out. Using his videos as a guide I was able to figure out my own workflow.

Programs I Use

Currently I use Lightroom. For a while I used a combination of Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4(DPP) and Lightroom because I had an older version of Lightroom that didn’t support the newer raw files from my Canon RP. Which meant I had to use DPP to convert my RAW files into Tiffs that I could edit in my version of Lightroom. However, after our trip to Greece I upgraded to the newest version of Lightroom for a while so I could do all my work in one place.

My Editing Workflow

Below is an outline of my editing workflow. I divide my process into four parts. This way if I don’t have time to do all of my editing in one go I have a few of good stopping points. If you need a refresher on the basics of editing so you can better understand this post, click here.

Part One

  • Download/Import: I don’t erase the memory cards until I’m done editing.

  • Backup: I always backup my photos to a second hard drive. Before and after editing.

Part Two

  • Cull: I take a lot of photos, but I only edit the best. When culling I make multiple passes through the images looking for specific things to delete on each pass. Here is what I delete with each round of culling.

  1. Blinked

  2. Out of Focus: Sometimes these workout depending on where the focus is, but most of the time they get tossed.

  3. Stray hair: If I don’t have a good shot of this pose without the hair I’ll see if the image can be salvaged.

  4. Best of the Pose: There is no need to keep two pictures of the same pose that came out almost exactly the same.

Part Three

  • Lens Corrections: This can be done on import if you have the right software.

  • Crop & Straighten: Horizon lines that aren’t straight offend me.

  • White Balance: As I’ve gotten more experienced I find that I can use the Temperature and Tint sliders over the dropper, which is what I originally used.

  • Brightness: Since moving to mirrorless and using manual mode most of the time I rarely need to touch the brightness.

  • Presets/B&W: I use the standard presets that come with Lightroom.

  • Shadows & Highlights: This is where shooting RAW or RAW + JPEG comes in clutch.

  • Blacks & Whites: I like to lower the blacks to help add a little punch to my images.

  • Contrast: I know some people who adjust the contrast using the tone curve, but I prefer using the slider.

Part Four

  • Saturation Slider: I like a little saturation to help my colors pop.

  • Individual Colors: If a color is looking a little flat this is when I take care of it.

  • Split Toning: I mainly use this to add a little bit of that golden hour light into a photo.

  • Spot Removal: Pimples BGone!!!

  • Radial Tool: 99% of the time I use this for brightening the face.

  • Brush Tool: I use the brush tool for a few things.

    • Whiten Teeth

    • Minor Skin Softening

    • Adding Saturation to Lipstick.

  • Sharpening & Noise Reduction: To be honest I haven’t used these as much since getting a good camera that can handle higher ISOs.

Final Thoughts

I know this is a lot to look at and take in at once, but over time it will become second nature. If you are wanting to use this workflow yourself, my suggestion is to print this post out and keep it close while you are editing as a reference.

One last thing. If you are enjoying this blog and wish to support the work I do here, consider using the Buy me a Coffee button at the bottom of the page to make a one time donation to show your appreciation.

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