Here it is. The blog post I know 99% of you have been waiting for. This post is a basic guide to editing. I figured we should ease into the process, because this takes time & practice. If you’re new to my blog, welcome! Please take a moment to subscribe by scrolling to the bottom of my blog & putting your email in. If you follow me on Instagram, subscribe to my blog, share this post on your Instagram story & tag me, I will send you a free preset!
Free Preset – “City Love”
I recently went on a shoot with this lovely lady, Abby – so I’m borrowing her photos to show you a few befores/afters! The free preset is called “City Love.” It’s a very subtle & versatile preset meant for city shoots. It makes the colours slightly bolder & pop a little more, while keeping a very warm undertone!
Lightroom is officially the only app I use to edit my photos. I used to use VSCO & enjoyed it a lot, but I find that there is not enough flexibility with individual settings. With Lightroom, it really separates & categorises each setting, so I think the pictures turned out more nuanced since you can tweak each setting. I use the Desktop version (Adobe Lightroom), but Lightroom CC is free to download from the app store.
The following tips are always applied to my photos. It’s not the same settings every time, but this is the foundation of editing any photo, assuming the photo is always taken in a well lit area (but not under harsh direct sunlight). If your photo is really dark, this exact tutorial may not be for you.
♡ Once you have downloaded the app, open it up.
♡ Click the button in the right bottom corner to add your photo(s).
♡ Once you have opened up your photo, click the Light category in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen.
♡ Once you open Light up, you’ll see: Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites & Blacks.
♡ Exposure: I rarely mess with the exposure. If anything, I turn it down slightly to create more of a “golden” tone to my photos. In this one, I increased it by a tiny bit but it’s just to make the photo ever so slightly brighter. Depending on your lighting, you have to adjust this accordingly.
♡ Contrast: I always turn up my contrast to around the 30’s. This helps your overall photo pop a little more.
♡ Highlights: I only turn my highlights down to keep the details of the pictures. For example, if there’s a sky in your picture with clouds, if you turn the exposure up, the clouds may be lost, but if you turn the highlights down, you’ll most likely see it again!
♡ Shadows: I usually turn my shadows all the way up, but if you turn it up too much, it almost creates a ‘foggy’ image, and you don’t really want that. Turning the shadows up is a better alternative than turning the exposure up because it maintains the details. It’s another way to brighten the image without it looking overexposed.
♡ Whites: I love a golden feel to my photos, so I only turn my whites down.
♡ Blacks: The blacks are an integral part of the editing process. I turn it up or down depending on the photo. If I want a more ‘contrasting’ look, I turn it slightly down. If I want it to look a little more whimsical, I turn it up for a dreamy feel. Below is if I turned my blacks up, you’ll immediately see a difference!
♡ Now let’s move on to Curves. Curves is still in the Light category, it’s just on the right corner above Exposure. Once you click it, a straight line will open up. Curves is another way of adjusting shadows/blacks/brightness. It can get really tricky because even if the ‘end curve’ looks the same, you can easily change your image entirely by the order you edit your curves.
♡ So first, make sure you’re on the multi-colour (RGB) curve setting (the colourful circle thing that looks like a Poké ball at the bottom).
♡ Click on the bottom left corner of the first square from the top right. Once you have created your dot, you want to drag that dot down slightly. This will again, give a golden feel to your pictures, which I think is lovely for pictures taken at golden hour like the one I’m currently editing.
♡ The second thing you’re going to do is drag the highest point down along the Y axis. This will lighten up the image a little bit, re-introducing the dreamy effect.
♡ There are so many different options with what you can do with curves, so if you want, feel free to experiment.
♡ Let’s move on to Colour!
♡ Temp: this is the warmth of your photos. I usually drag it up to anywhere between 10 to 30, but since this photo was taken at golden hour, it became way too yellow. I only turn it down towards the blue if the original photo is too yellow, otherwise, I love warmer filters.
♡ Tint: I only ever turn it up (towards the pink). However, I didn’t feel the need to for this picture!
♡ Vibrance: I love turning up the vibrance to at least 50 to make the colours pop.
♡ Saturation: But you must make sure if you turn your vibrance up, you want to counter balance that by turning down the Saturation at least half of what you turned up for your vibrance.
And voila! You got through my first tutorial – congrats! Editing is no easy feat. It takes a lot of patience to get the right settings for each picture. As you can see, there’s a significant difference between the before/after just by adjusting the tiniest things. This just goes to show how important these settings are in the editing foundation of any given photo. How did this tutorial go for you? Let me know if you have any questions in the comment box below!
Don’t forget that if you follow me on Instagram, subscribe to my blog, share this post on your Instagram story & tag me, I will send you a free preset!1 I Love This! ♡