February 11: #BasicEdit
Important Note: The best way to hone your editing skills is to practice, practice, practice. Go crazy. Use every effect to learn what it does.
Today I will be walking through a basic editing process. By basic editing, I mean enhancing the qualities of the photograph that are already there. No adding color, no changing the color scheme, just basic color and detail enhancement.
Firstly, open up Adobe Lightroom, and click on the "Develop" tab in the top right corner. You should already have your photographs in your Lightroom library if you imported them with yesterday's post. See image below.
Notice the photographs on the bottom left. Those are your most recent imported images. I have the very last image highlighted, and that is the image on the main portion of the screen, ready to be edited. Note how all the settings to the right in Lightroom are set at zero, with the exception of the top two, which are set based on my camera settings used to take the image. They are set at zero because I have not done any editing yet, nor have I selected a Lightroom preset (on the left side of the screen).
I recommend playing with the presets to determine which one you like best. Remember, we are doing basic editing, so I would stick to "Direct Positive" or "Old Polar". My favorite filter to use is the "Direct Positive" filter. See the image below to see how selecting this preset changes the settings to to the right of the screen.
You can already notice major color differences, eh? Now, you'll want to play with the settings for your image, based on what message you want to communicate. For my image, I want to up my clarity, and I'm going to change a few settings to do so. In the first image, you can see the changes I made from the previous image. Exposure is +0.55, Contrast +15, Highlights -100, Shadows +76, Whites -100, Blacks -40, Clarity +100, Vibrance +38, and Saturation +15. Below those settings, you'll see my menu for changing Hue. I bumped Aqua down -100, Blue up +2, and Purple down -8.
In the second image below, I scrolled down on the right hand side to reveal more settings that I decided to change. I took the first screen shot before changing more options, so you can see the difference between the two. In the second image, I switched my menu from hue to saturation: Orange +13, Yellow +23, Green +10, Aqua +50, Blue +6, Purple +25. If you look further down, you can also see that I bumped Luminance up +100. Normally, you wouldn't put Clarity AND Luminance up +100, but for this smooth water photograph, it works well.
I like how the color in my image is, now to export it to Adobe PhotoShop and clean it up a little bit. You'll want to go up to the program's menu at the top of your screen and select file > export. In this menu, you can select where you want your file to be saved on your computer, and you can choose whether or not you want the program to open the image in Adobe Photoshop. We do, so select that option from the menu, like in the image below.
Now that your image is opened in Adobe PhotoShop, one thing you're going to want to do right away is duplicate your file. Right click (or two-finger click on a Mac) your file name, and select "Duplicate Layer" from the menu that pops up, like in the image below. The reason for doing this is so that if you make any editing errors, you can always revert back to the original layer.
The first thing I'm going to do is clean up the little specks in the background. I circled them in the image below, so you can see what I am referring to.
To fix small specs like this, I am going to use the "Spot healing brush tool" located in my toolbox to the left of my PhotoShop program. It is the one that looks like a band-aid with the dotted half circle coming out of it. If you drag your mouse to the main portion of your screen, your mouse will be in the shape of a circle. It is within this circle that the tool is going to have an effect. You'll want to adjust the size of the circle accordingly, which you can do by pressing [ on your keyboard to make the circle smaller, and ] to make the circle larger. This is a pretty simple fix for this image, as all I have to do is click over the specks, and they go away. Most of the time, you aren't so lucky and you have to make the circle tiny and slowly get rid of the specks. In the image below, the flaws are gone.
Now, I find it most beneficial to open up Raw Filter, instead of editing it on the main PhotoShop screen. Go to the top menu on your computer when you have PhotoShop open, go to Filter, then down to Camera Raw Filter... and click on it. When you get the keyboard commands memorized, you can use those as well. For instance, next to "Camera Raw Filter..." you see the command where you hold Shift+Command+A, and this command would also open Camera Raw Filter.
You should now have the Camera Raw Filter screen open, like in the image below. Explore all of the options on this screen, as every tool in this filter is useful. All the settings should be set in the middle for you, or at 0, since those are the default settings.
For this photograph, I'm going to change several settings. Look at the two images below, to see what I changed from their default settings. The differences between the images are subtle, but it makes a difference as to how I feel about the photograph aesthetically and from a communication standpoint.
Click OK at the bottom of the screen to commit to the changes made. Now we are going to get our file ready to be saved and published. You will find yourself in the normal Photoshop screen after clicking OK in the Camera Raw Filter screen. First, we are going to change the file size to ensure you have amazing resolution. Go to the top menu, go to Image, and then down to Image Size. This will open it's own window (see second image below). You'll want to change Resolution to 300, then click OK.
Now it's time to save our file and then we are done with our basic editing! Go to the top menu, to File and down to Save As. This will open up a window for you. It'll automatically select .psd file, and you want to save it as that first, to ensure that you keep your Photoshop file in case you want to go back and make changes later on. Always make sure the box "Maximum Compatibility" is checked on the second box that appears.
Next, we will save it as a .jpg file. Go back to Save As and then where it says Photoshop, pull down the menu and select JPEG. After you click Save, a new window will pop up. You'll want to bump your Quality as high as it can go, so that it should say Maximum next to it. Keep it at "Baseline (Standard)" and click OK! You are now done saving your image!
Photographer, visual artist, and customer service extraordinaire.