An intro to this post could probably win the most boring intro award, but really, when it comes to editing photos I’m not sure if I can make it sound any exciting. Yet, I’ve learned to like editing photos by shooting smart and all thanks to a few tips I’ve learned from different people along the way. Having tips doesn’t do the job for you, but it helps to do your job much easier and sometimes faster. When I first started shooting, I felt overwhelmed when I had to edit my photos. All were slightly differently exposed, different temperature . . . and so I had to adjust every.single.photo. When you don’t have the luxury of outsourcing, there are a few things you can do to ease the editing process and make it simpler and more efficient. This model below has saved me hundreds of hours and made the process of editing my photos much more enjoyable. The goal is to keep your settings identical when you’re shooting in the exact same location until you move to the next. And if I totally bored you by now, maybe I’ll have something more exciting to talk about in the next post ;). And if you’re still with me, here is what I do at shoots:
Tip 1: Shoot in Manual. Only in this setting can you lock in all of the setting. Having your shutter speed jump up and down, ISO or anything else makes it difficult to adjust afterward. In Manual mode you can choose all your settings and keep them consistent.
Tip 2: Preset your white balance. There are smart people out there who can figure out the right temperature for each photo and change it on the go, but I don’t happen to be one of those. If I’m shooting on a sunny day, I preset my white balance to the little sun icon and it stays there until I move to the shade or indoors and change the white balance accordingly. This allows me to adjust the temperature on all my photos from the same location all at once, instead of having to individually make one photo warmer or cooler.
Tip 3: DO NOT change your settings once you’ve metered the light. I expose my photos for the subject’s face, not the surroundings. Once I found the exposure that looks good to me on the back of my screen I stay with it until I move my subjects to a different location. If I have my subjects stand next to a wall, as long as I’m shooting them next to that wall, the light will not change (unless clouds roll in ;)), so my exposure shouldn’t either. Even if it looks like I should bring it up after I take a few shot, I don’t, because I’m thinking of the editing process ahead of time, how it’s much easier to edit photos that are exposed identically.
Tip 4: Shoot in RAW, but you’re probably doing that already anyway ;).
I am always tempted to break tip 3, but it’s getting much easier to stay with the same settings now. If I follow these, I then can edit each shoot much faster. I simply select all the images shot at the exact same spot, could be 20 or 100, and edit them with a few clicks in Camera Raw, by adjusting the temperature once, exposure once and contrast once on all of them. I hope this helps someone and if you have other great tips, I would love to hear all about them!
And to brighten up the mood of this post, here’s one of my favorite photos from NYC. This is the spot I really wanted to make it to in Central Park and I’m so happy to have a memory of me sitting on a bench and admiring the view. Photographer credit goes to my friend Julia!!! Thanks a million for this one shot.