Whether you shoot on a DSLR, a point and shoot or even a camera phone there are some simple editing tips you can do to improve your photos.
These are my goto editing tips that I use on pretty much all of my photos unless I am using a specific preset;
- Exposure: when taking a photo there is more than the odd occasion our photos have turned out darker or lighter than we wanted but with using the exposure tool, we are able to increase or decrease the exposure and in effect darken or lighten the photo.
So if the photo is really blown out and bright we can turn down the exposure making it darker and less blown out and likewise if it is really dark and you can’t make out what you have photographed very well, you can turn up the exposure lightening up the photo and revealing what we intended to photograph.
- Contrast: By increasing the contrast it allows us to make the image more dramatic and by decreasing the contrast it allows us to flatten the image.
I only ever increase the contrast slightly (never more than 25) as too much contrast will make your image look over saturated and I rarely ever decrease the contrast unless it is a certain look and feel I am going for.
- Highlights: This allows us to control the lighter parts of the photo. In effect brightening or darkening the lighter parts of the photo and allowing us to reveal or reduce detail.
I use this tool to its fullest, sometimes the lighter part of the photo may be the part I want to stand out the most and increasing the highlights can bring it to the centre of attention and also when shooting with lights etc they can be overpowering and without wanting to touch the exposure, I can turn down the highlights bringing them in line with the rest of the photo.
- Shadows: This is the opposite of highlights. Shadows allow us to control the brightness of the darker parts of the photo which basically means we can lighten the shadows and reveal detail or deepen the shadows and further reducing detail.
I use the shadows tool a lot because I find it really has the most impact on dictating the mood of the photo. I can also hide out certain parts of the photo by darkening the darker parts and that means the focus shifts to the part of the photo of which I want to be the main focus.
- Transform/Adjust: We’ve all taken a photo and the subject hasn’t been perfectly centred or aligned with one of the thirds or is a bit wonky etc due to a number of reasons. There is no need to worry because we have the power to alter the image in post-production to get the desired outcome we initially intended. In Lightroom, there will be the heading ‘Transform’, and on Instagram, it is ‘Adjust’ and this allows us to manipulate the image to how we want it. It can be as simple as straightening the image or cropping it or you can take it a bit further by playing around with the horizontal and vertical perspective but that’s a bit more complicated and not always necessary.
With these 5 tips, you will see an improvement in any photos you take, whether they’re just for you, for Instagram, a website or anything else and start letting you take more control of the outcome of your photos.