Editing Photos

I feel like editing photos is often equated to making your photos look fake or trying to cover up "bad photography." I completely disagree with this and I actually think that, in order to really access the full potential of your photos, you have to be able to edit them. Not only can you correct errors in post-production, but if you know how to use your editing software you can change the whole mood and impact of your photos. If you're serious about photography, I think Adobe Lightroom is completely worth the $10 a month. There's nothing else that has nearly as many features as Lightroom and it can really take your photos to the next level. 

There are plenty of Lightroom tutorials made by people who understand it much better than I do so rather than walking you through how to use it, I'm just going to share my favorite features and show how I like to use it. 

With concert photography especially, basic corrections like fixing exposure can really save a photo. Here's a before and after where the first picture is just straight from the SD card, and the second is cropped with a huge boost to the clarity, whites and highlights. Even just those changes that take about 10 seconds to make make a huge difference! I also changed the tint of the second picture to make the lights pink/purple. 

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You could always just make those basic edits and leave it at that, or you could really play around with all that Lightroom has to offer. I love to change the lighting and colors of concert pictures. Right underneath the "Basic" edits section, there's a smaller rectangle labeled "HSL / Color / B & W." These are the sliders I use to help change tones and make light beams really pop. After making basic edits, I was really able to bring out the light beam behind him by bumping the luminance of the color blue. 

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Another one of my favorite features in Lightroom is the Tone Curve. I just recently learned how to use this and I'm really enjoying how it changes the feel of my photos and gives me that vintage, matte/film feel I was looking for. The following picture is one I applied the preset I made to. The preset future basically allows you to create your own filter by saving the settings you want applied to your picture. The preset I use on basically all of my photos adds some contrast, bumps the highlights a little bit, bumps the clarity a lot and adds the custom tone curve that sort of dulls the blacks and makes the picture look matte. 

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Presets are just a way to shortcut the editing process. Rather than changing each of these settings individually on each picture, I can just throw on the preset and then fine-tune the settings if needed. I like this not only because it saves time but also because it helps my pictures look similar/more cohesive and helps me create an editing style that's more uniquely mine. 

Play around with Lightroom! Watch some tutorials, go crazy with editing on a bunch of pictures and just see what all it can do. It's a really impressive program that can help you have some really impressive pictures. It not only allows you to change the style of your pictures, but it can also save pictures you may have considered unusable before editing. The rest of this post will just be a few more before and afters to show how, while the original picture is very important, editing can be just as important.

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