From Before to After: A Photo Editing Exploration

What all goes into making a digital photograph amazing? How does it work? You may have heard of programs like Photoshop and Lightroom and wonder what in the world they even are. Lightroom is basically the digital version of a darkroom. It's where us digital photographers develop our images. We take them from a raw format of a jumble of information to the beautiful images you receive in your galleries. 

Below is a quick and easy follow along to the steps it takes to turn the photo from my camera into the one in your hands...

Enjoy!

 

First, the photo is imported in the exact way it was taken. This particular photo is rather dark (as it was getting towards the end of the evening and we were covered by trees) so it will need some enhancing. 

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First, I will add my personal preset. This preset, is what most non photographers might refer to as a filter...but that's not what it is at all. It's a system of regular edits that are set to be applied to a large number of photographs at a time. It's basically a photographer's signature style. 

Adding my preset to this photo darkens it quite a bit. This is because my preset is set to work best on photos that were exposed perfectly when I took it. My preset adds a bit of mood into my photos so it naturally darkens this one even more. Even though it's darker, it's got the color tones that I strive, so we've just got to work on the exposure a bit.

 

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The first thing I'll do after applying my preset is adjust the exposure so I can get the amount of brightness and light back into the photo that I need. 

 

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Now if you scroll back up to the original imported photo (the first one shown), you can see the difference in the overall feel of the image. The exposure is where I want it now, so the next thing I'll do is work on the color. I want to warm this photo up a bit...so they don't look so cool and pink. It's summer time, so we want to show that. 

 

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I'm liking this so much better already, but I'm not quite done. I want to adjust the exposure, highlights and shadows a bit more now that I've added the warmth. I think I'll brighten it just a tad bit more.

 

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Finally, I'm going to go through and play with the color sliders a bit to make sure their skin tones and the colors of leaves and flowers look as much as possible like they did in person. I'll also make sure the photo is sharpened to my liking and then it will be done! Here's the final version:

 

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That's a basic run through a photo from start to finish! After it's fully edited, it gets saved as a jpeg (so that you can view it on your computer or device) and uploaded to your gallery. Magic!