Photo editing, from raw to web jpg.

April 30th 2010

A couple day ago I talked about editing photos from a DSLR to finish.  I will attempt to go step by step on what I do to 90% of my photos before you guys see them on Saltyshores.  I shoot raw as the most of the magazines want them that way so their staff can do their own editing. I’ve been told that if you edit photos a bunch Raw is the best format with the most information from the camera itself.

One of the problem with shooting raw is that “every” single photos needs to be edited because there is no saturation, contrast, zero camera manipulation before it becomes the final jpg(in camera compression). All cameras has software built in that turns the raw files by adding colors, contrast, sharpness and turning them into jpg.  In raw you have to do this manually. So sometimes when you see a photo that is off, because I’m editing on my laptop(most, laptop screens are never as good as desktop screens) on the road this is why.

I know many photographers that takes hours, days, even weeks to edit a shoot. Sometimes they would spend almost an hour on a single image. Honestly, I do not have the time or the patience to do that.  Besides, if I can’t edit a photo in less than 2 minutes(on a proper screen as all screens are little different), then I did something wrong as a photographer. Unless it’s awesome photo that needs to be saved it goes into the trash bin.Yes this is still happens all the time, thank god for digital. 🙂

I edit using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. You can use the new latest greatest photoshop that sells for $700 but 99% of what I do can be done with the cheaper under $100 photoshop elements.

This is the raw image straight from the camera: no edit at all, I tend to shoot a little under expose especially if the fish is silver and tend to over expose.

I then crop it a little and straighten the horizon.

tip: Try to shoot as full frame as possible,  you will get more detail out of photos.

I then brighten the image.

finally I adjust the contrast and put my stamp on it.

tip: you can  use the curves function or the contrast slider tool for this. I like the curves as it gives me a little more control.

There you have it, from start to finish. Yes I realize I could have done a little more. I could have selective edit by dodging and burner perhaps the fish to get more detail out of it. I could have used the sharpen tool as well to make the photo appear sharper. I could have used the highlights and shadow function , add some fake vignetting .. blah.. blah blah.. I could go on forever.

Most of my photos I shoot outdoors of fishing, I want to look as real as possible so I tend to stay away from the heavy editing. When I shoot models, glamor, weddings people want that heavy edited, dreamy, everyone looks perfect look.  Everyone wants to see how great they look right? Time is spent taking out pimples, bags under eyes, wrinkles,  and so on. There are plenty filters and skin smoothing affects you can use as well. They even have filter packages so it makes your editing life as a bit easier if you shoot lots of weddings and glamor.

I guess I could use wedding filters for fishing photos.. it would look pretty strange though, a smooth no blemish skin fisherman. lol

I’m not Photoshop expert and I’m sure there’s a lot more I could have done. Sometimes if I do feel like messing around I do those things, but for the most part that’s pretty much it. Besides, I have Saltyshores to update and if I take a week to edit photos SS will never get updated! 🙂