Since I started this blogging journey, my most frequently asked questions typically surround two things. What type of camera do we use? And how do I edit my photos. Photography is something I had never done before the blog. Brian nor I had ever shot in manual mode, nor did we understand ISO or f-stop. I’ll admit Brian got the technical side of photography faster than I did. He spends more time using the camera than I do. But for me editing is where the picture really comes to life. As a team we’ve picked up a few things that I wanted to share with you.
We are not professional photographers so we are still learning everyday. I found that the best way to improve your photos is to simply take more photos. The same goes for editing. The more time I spend in Lightroom, the better I become at editing. And when I get stuck… YouTube is my best friend!
A few things to note before we dive into using Lightroom. We use a Canon 5D Mark III with a 35mm lens. Your “gear” as photographers call it, is important, but it is not the only thing that goes into creating great photographs. Shooting in raw is the best place to start. It allows you to edit in much greater detail. The beautiful thing about Lightroom is no matter how much you edit your raw file, you can always go back to the original.
My first step after import is to apply one of my favorite VSCO presets. I have 4 or 5 from a couple of packs that I love. I rotate them based on the photo or the current feel of my feed. But as I mentioned in the post about creating a cohesive brand, it’s good to stick to a few so that your photos all have the same feel.
The next few steps will vary based on the original image. I’ll play with the brightness, adjust the shadows and highlights, and bump up the contrast. I also remove all of the grain from my presets. This is just a personal preference. Grain can be really cool but it’s not what I use personally. You can make adjustments to the presets from the bar on the left side. This is where I delete the grain.
Another trick I use on most of my photos is the color adjustments. If we’re shooting in a garden or an area that is surrounded by trees or grass, the photo will have a green tint. To balance that out I will up the pink tint. No matter what the location I typically up the pink tint because I like my photos to have a pink hue. But I’ll usually play with the temperature to make it more blue and up the pink tint.
I crop most of my photos with a custom 4:5 ratio. This seems to be the most “Instagram friendly” size for the portrait pictures. I also make sure when I’m exporting that I change the size. See below.
Settings for exporting portrait images:
Settings for exporting landscape:
These are the basic tweaks I make when editing blog photos. Landscape photos and sunsets take a few more in depth steps that I will share in part 2.