I think that the topic of today’s post is clear, from its title, but the question is rhetorical. The lines below will be useful mainly to the beginners who have not yet developed habits for working with image editing software, but are familiar with the basic menus and tools. From this point of view, I’m not going into details about how to work with tools and technologies.
In today`s post I will talk about another point of view of these technologies – their sequence.
Each of us make some editing of the photos when they are downloaded from the camera. Sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes quickly with a few clicks, or sometimes we use very complicated and time consuming editing. What matters is not only what, but also in what order we do it all. Yes, exactly in what order. It is not always enough just to open a photo editing software and adjust colour, contrast, and sharpness. It is important precisely in what order we do all of these adjustments for processing quality.
It depends on you which of them you will use or not. Not all of the photos needs corrections like all mentioned, but it’s good to have them in mind.
And something very important – work always in the natural fail, with few layers added .Like that you can always move between the corrections and the steps and correct what you didn’t like. The examples are for LR and PS . And finally the steps that is good to follow:
- Make sure that the picture is worth.
Often you are going with the harsh treatments, without thinking about the value of the photo, which you made. Is there a story, for what are you going to use it, is it implemented technically? Is there any required tonality, or sharpness, where you are looking for it? And many similar issues concerning implementation. In a nutshell: is it worth the effort to keep it?
If you assume that the composition suits you and the idea of it, then its turn to look at the histogram, which will give you some more information about the performance. In general, the histogram gives you information on whether the frame is balanced in exposure aspect. The histogram shows the brightness, contrast, and highlights. Analysing this graph you will be able to decide how and where to adjust brightness and contrast in the picture. If the histogram shows that the photo is underexposed then you will have less work. Where you need to reveal elements from the darkest places of the photo is much easier than trying to rescue overexposed areas.
- Is there a need to edit framing?
In other words do we need to “’crop “and straighten. Look good around the frame – what you want and what you took? Almost no image is perfect at that moment when you did it. Sometimes you will require adjustments like straighten up the horizon or perspective correction, cutting out some annoying elements, that unintentionally you made in the frame and many more situations. The tool that most work in these situations is the Crop tool. And in the LR/PS this tool gives you the ability to simultaneously rotate the photo and „crop“ it. However, this is not all about this tool. It has two panels that allow you to control the adjustments a bit more precise:
1: Aspect ratio –or the proportions of the picture, which can be either random, or well-known as 1:1, 16:9, 3:4, etc. by putting any values here you retain overall ratio in the frame, even after you have applied the cropping.
2: Angle –. This panel allows high accuracy to set angle straightening.
The most common elements that orientate us in the direction of the adjustments are the horizon, buildings, the diagonals or other lines. As for the composition, it is a very long thread, and although we cannot exhaust we dedicated a few posts here. For the curious can throw an eye out:
- Correcting the exposure.
The methods with which we can make adjustments here are few. If you use Lightroom the easiest of these is directly working with panel Exposure. It allows you to adjust the brightness and contrast of the image by moving of 2 sliders: Exposure and Contrast. Besides them, however, LR is the analogue of Camera Raw, under these sliders you have a few more, who managed in a separate the medium-sized, brightest and darkest tones and shadows. You can may still correct it after you set the desired values of the exposure and make more precise the individual sections of the image. The other methods are Brightness/Contrast, Levels and Curves.
In the PS is good to make these settings in separate layers or correction in Adjustment layers. Way to do it is to select from the menu New Adjustment Layer and the corresponding method, or from the Panel with the palettes on the right to select the method directly with the desired adjustment –program here will set up a new correction layer. And the methods are the same Exposure, Brightness/Contrast, Levels and Curves.
Look at the histogram every time after using a correction .Always do this step before correcting the tones.
- Correcting the colour.
There’s a reason that we always advise everyone to do it when you shoot in RAW format, because even if it doesn’t match the correct settings for the white balance in the camera, Camera raw and LR will allow you to fix it from the panel White balance. After you have selected the setting that you like, you can move on to more precise colour-matching. At this point, frankly, the techniques are so much that I would’ve gotten into their detailed discussions.
Most often, however, if we have not decided to make the picture in black and white, we want to add juiciness of colours. Both programs we are talking about here have Vibrance control tool, which figuratively makes the colours „live“. It has 2 sliders Vibrance and Saturation. A good start for experiment. Try the tool if you have not used it.
From now on, you can upgrade with different methods of colour correction – Selective colour for which we have a separate topic , Colour replacement, Hue / Saturation, Colour balance, a more complex in Lab color and so on. It all depends on the idea and the mood you are looking for.
- Sharpening the photo.
We arrive at the moment that you can sharpen the image. Sharpening also has its variations, depending on for what the photograph is meant, what you’re shooting and so on. Before proceeding, , to the specific tools for sharpening , I always advise Camera Raw / LR to try an interesting tool Clarity, which makes adjustments in the microcontrast of the image , but the result is surprising.
Easier methods for sharpening are the tools of sharpening filters Menu – Filter – Sharpen, and tricks in Lab Color / High pass / Luminosity. I stop here at this point because we have a separate topic, so if you want you can read it here we mention more seriously the various methods for sharpening photos with examples.
As you can see here I mention only base adjustments without comment of the adjustments requiring little more knowledge of the tools of the programs. Such as working with masks, cloning and so on.