How I Edit My Photos

Ah yes. The age-old Instagram question: “What filter do you use?!”

I love Instagram. I remember when I first signed up almost 6 (!!!) years ago. I was a freshman in college and it was really new, like had just been invented and not everyone was even on it yet, new. People still shared washed out photos of their food with the flash on, their pets with an absurd ~*grainy*~ filter (very Myspace) with black “film” borders and the interface was still blue. Yes, simpler times.

Things on Instagram have changed a lot over the past half decade. It’s now arguably one of the most sought-after marketing tools of the age. People can make money. Posting pictures of tea. It’s pretty incredible the behemoth that Instagram has become.

This all being said, it has created quite a competitive creativity amongst influencers, photographers, and artists, and everyone wants to display their photos like a pro. Instagram is also no longer the be-all-end-all of filters anymore either, filters have taken on a whole life of their own through third party apps such as Visual Supply Company (VSCO), Afterlight, Picsart, and many others. Editing techniques change all the time depending on who you ask and what sort of “sub” community you belong to on Instagram. But right now the trend seems to be, washed out greens and saturated oranges, people go nuts for neutrals and bright blues. While these colors sound kind of all over the place, but the Instagram community just eats it up. People post beautiful sweeping photos of their lush plants with washed out sage greens, while a felt hat sits perfectly on the wall in all its neutral glory. (Stay away from me cool tones!!)

Now, I wont get into an authenticity diatribe regarding Instagram because frankly, it’s been done. Way over done. Can we put it to rest already? We use Instagram knowing full well that everything we see and everything we “double tap” is curated and contrived. The Instagram way is here to stay. Don’t let the social media veil fool you, and you’ll be a much happier person for it.

SO. To my original point, this whole attitude on Instagram has created an influx of the question “what filter?!” over and over again for influencers, and bloggers, who have some seriously curated and seriously beautiful feeds. Who doesn’t wanna look at a pretty well thought out, well put together page? It’s like Myspace grew up and became a blogger. It’s a great creative outlet. Below is a mini tutorial for how I edit MY photos in Lightroom.

I use Lightroom for almost all my editing because I shoot mainly on my Canon 60D. I have changed my style quite a lot over the past few years but this particular one is a template that I kind of work off of for all of my photos. Hope it helps shed some light on my creative process! Have fun editing!

 

Original Photo of my poster wall:

Tip #1: Always shoot in RAW. If you’re editing DSLR photos you always want to work from a RAW image because it gives you the best “range of motion” so to speak, on how much you can manipulate the image.

Tip #2: Natural lighting is your best friend. Yes, while it can be challenging to depend on only daylight to work (especially in the PNW), natural light is the easiest lighting to alter in your post processing routine because it isn’t harsh and brings out the correct hues of everything in the shot. (This tip is of course only for those of you who don’t have the means to utilize a studio or don’t have one in your home where you can mimic natural light)

First:

  • adjust temperature to make the lighting less blue. I usually end up a little to the right on the slider.
  • adjust your tint to make it a little more magenta.
  • turn the exposure down a smidge so it’s not overly bright.
  • turn the highlights up.
  • turn the shadows up about halfway on the slider.
  • adjust whites and blacks accordingly to create a good balance.

Second:

  • adjust HSL tool.
  • HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) is where you’re going to get those special “filter” colors that all the bloggers use.
  • play around with oranges, yellows, reds, and greens, until you get your desired look.
  • the sliders above are a benchmark of where I keep my HSL tool to keep a consistent look on all my photos.

Third: Add grain, sharpness, and clarity to give the photo any kind of grain or film look that you want to top it off.

Final Product:

You can see I really pumped up the reds and left the greens a little undersaturated so they’re not competing with each other to make a nice vibrant shot. Contrary to popular belief there’s really not many steps involved in creating bright, cohesive content! The key is to know exactly how you want the final product to look and what things you want to keep consistent.

DISCLAIMER: I hope this tutorial was eye opening and informative! I would like to make a note saying that this is my way of editing, there is no right or wrong way to do it, and you should edit your work the way you want, through your own creative process. I’m not claiming that this is the “right” way to do anything, simply how I have taught myself to play with Lightroom. This is a mini tutorial so it doesn’t include every single step to my routine, but I hope it is a good template to start with. As every photo is different, every edit will look unique and different. If you have any thoughts or want to share your editing tips with me please comment below or reach out to me on Instagram! @druzyveins ?// Happy creating!

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