Photo-editing: Tips and tricks to enhance your images
I recently shared my thoughts on developing your own photographic style, following a visit to Sony World Photography Awards at Somerset House. There was some truly inspiring work on display and it got me thinking about the photo-editing tools and techniques you can use to help make your own photos really stand out.
We all have different ways of thinking and responding to the world around us. It’s these unique reactions and interpretations that can define your photographic style and set you apart from other photographers. If you’re new to the game, I’d recommend taking some time to experiment; take note of your surroundings and capture a variety of different types of photographs and try not to worry about how they will turn out at first. Your photographic craft will emerge from your creativity
Adobe has some brilliant photo-editing tools which can make your photographs look amazing, the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan, which includes both Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC as well as a variety of mobile apps, will allow you to perfect your style across any device, anytime, anywhere, and give you so much freedom to be creative along the way.
Lightroom CC has the guiding principle to mimic the traditional darkroom, but provide a precise, non linear and non destructive way to enhance your images. This essentially means that Lightroom will never touch any pixels, and will give you enormous creative freedom to get your pictures ready for publishing to the web/screen or mobile device.
I wanted to share a few of my own personal tips when using Lightroom to edit your photos and really grab peoples’ attention:
The basic panel in Lightroom CC is a great way to get your image ready for the post processing work. The basic panel allows;
- Correction of the White Balance, as well as correct any Exposure issues with the picture, as well as any contrast modifications
- Recovery of any highlights and shadow information from the image, this essentially gives more tonal range from the photograph
- Setting of the white point and black point will tighten up the tonal range of the image and can deliver both drama and punch to the image
- Control of the vibrancy or final colour saturation of whole image.
Lightroom has some amazing filters and fine adjustment control of the image;
Sometimes images need to be cropped to tell the story within the frame. The Lightroom Crop tool is both highly effective and intuitive to use.
Within Lightroom – the same as in the Darkroom – it’s easy to work on very specific items within the picture. This might be enhancing the exposure of a certain part of the image, or correcting any colour issues in another part.
The Clone/Heal tool allows you to remove any annoyances from the picture that might distract the viewer, i.e. removal of litter is one case that I use on a regular basis.
Radial and Gradient Filters
The gradient filter is a wonderful way to re-create a physical gradient filter that one may use in front of the lens when out in the field. I use this filter regularly to darken skies and lighten foregrounds of scenes.
The Radial filter is a great way to quickly focus the attention of the viewer to a part of the scene. This filter is regularly used in both Portraits and Landscape photographs to get the key message of the photograph to the viewer.
The effects panel allows the Photographer to add old film grain to an image to give it more of a gritty feel. The post crop vignette allows the image to take on a slight edge burn which can be used to make the viewer really home-in on the image. The edge burn technique was highly popular in darkroom during the 50’s and was used by Ansell Adams to frame some of his landscapes. Of course, it is much easier and simpler to apply the effect in Lightroom!