I get quite a few people asking me how I edit my blog photos and I thought the best way would be to make a post about the reality behind blog photography. I take a lot of pride in how my posts look and I find the imagery is the most important part in the appearance of a post. Of course the written text is the bit that holds most value, but I always find myself drawn to people’s blogs when they have nice photos. There definitely are a few tricks that I use when editing my photos and I have noticed that with more and more practice, it doesn’t take me as long anymore to get them looking how I want. I always edit with the awareness that over-editing IS A THING and can ruin your imagery just like that. Blog photos need to look real above everything else. So here is the process that I use when editing my blog photos.
Firstly I do all my editing in Adobe Lightroom. I don’t know where I would be without it and I highly recommend the software to anyone seeking more control in their editing, whilst having a fairly easy to use platform. Lightroom is the perfect in between stage; it is incredibly easy to use and gives you pretty much all the control over every aspect of the imagery that you need. I think possibly the best thing about Lightroom is the ability to change things by the slightest increment. For example, exposure can be changed by +/-0.05 increments up to +/-5.00. That is a lot of control and you can toggle all these settings to make sure the image looks just how you want it to.
When editing photos for my blog I tend to over-expose them slightly. Because of the white background I have on each page, any images that are of fairly normal exposure look really dark, so as a rule I tend to up to exposure just a little more than I usually would and it gives the images a clean and bright look. One other tip in terms of exposure, is to always shoot your images in RAW. They will come out of the camera quite dark and that is why a lot of my ‘before’ shots look very under-exposed and you are probably wondering why I had my settings like that!! But shooting in RAW gives you so much more control when editing and allows you to pull out things from the image that may have been lost. It also allows you to shoot when the lighting may not be perfect!! We all know the struggles of natural lighting and RAW gives a little bit more ability if you have to shoot when the lighting is not exactly right!
My next tip would be subtlety – as I said before, you can very easily over-edit your images and they tend to look fake and all the light looks unnatural and the colours look too strong! Sometimes, the image that comes out of your camera is great, don’t always feel you have to edit it a lot to get a good image. As you can see with this one above, it wasn’t shot in RAW so the original image is a lot lighter. We got lucky and had a really beautiful day so all that needed to be done on this photo was bring out the colours a bit more to make it look more vibrant and less flat. If you look at the original image you may notice the small yellow dot on the floor which I removed with a lovely tool called “Spot Removal”. If you select a small part of the image it will find what colours it needs to be replaced with and copies another part of the image onto that selected circle. It takes literally 2 seconds and is great to remove little imperfections.
In these photos below, you can really see the impact of RAW. Although the original photo looks way too underexposed, by shooting in RAW you can bring out the highlights without blowing the image out. It basically just allows you to play with the shadows and highlights a lot more. One tool which I love Lightroom for having is the Camera Correction Tool. It basically just pulls out any distortion that the camera created and makes all the difference when editing my blog photos. This can be seen in terms of correcting all the straight lines in the image and getting rid of any dark vignetting in the corners. It is made specifically to your camera type and lens, (which you add in for the image) and I have always felt it benefits the photos a lot.
Lastly, I felt it was important to address the topic of faking your images. It is something that is often spoken about in the realms of the online world, and of course I am against all this photoshopping and creation of perfect ideals. But when it comes to editing blog photos, although yes, we are altering the image, I don’t feel that exposure levels and bringing out some of the shadows should be frowned upon. Every photographer edits their images because, at the end of the day, it is an art form and editing I feel is part of that. I would never photoshop an image so that it becomes something it’s not (partly because I wouldn’t know how, but obviously mainly because it is wrong!). But images are a very important part of blogging so of course we want to make them look good.
I hope this helped in some way and allowed you to see how I edit photos for my blog. As I said before, Adobe Lightroom is my saviour and you really just need to play around a little with the features to find what works for you. I toggle a lot with the Tone Curve but I know that isn’t something everyone likes to do, editing is a very personal process.
If there is anything else you would like to know about the editing process, please leave a comment 😃