Education

My Photo Editing Process

Each photographer develops a personal workflow that suits them. If you tend to take an absurd amount of photos, like I do,without a plan things can get out of hand pretty quickly . I will take some time to go over the process I ended up with after some trial and error. Feeling overwhelmed at times is normal, it is my hope that if you are feeling overwhelmed that this post will help ease your anxiety by sharing my workflow.

I do light photo editing. Exposure, contrast, saturation, highlight and shadow tweaks mostly. Perhaps a bit of straightening and cropping. As much as I am able to I try to get the photo as I would like it in camera to start out with. If I am feeling adventurous or if I am dealing with a sunny day landscape I may go for a virtual graduated exposure filter, but that is about the extent of my pixel meddling.

The same process applies for digital and film scans. For film scans, I may spot edit if my air canning skills fall off and some dust made it to scan. Even then, I often leave the dust in.To my eyes it makes for a more authentic film vintage look in some cases. Otherwise, they can look like the picture below taken with a Konica C35 AF2 and barely distinguishable from digital without looking closely. I like the picture, but as odd as it may sound it is almost too clean for me.

I prefer something more like this double exposure example from an Argus C3. Not as pristine, but more interesting to me.

Started out using FastStone freeware before moving to Lightroom and Capture One. I am camera brand agnostic and I also do not get into which editor is better. The software you choose depends on your own editing process and budget.

With digital, some spend a lot of time trying to decide between JPEG and RAW or arguing for one or the other. My personal choice is to shoot both RAW and JPEG.

I like to shoot JPEG in case I want to share photos on the fly. I tweak the standard JPEG contrast, sharpness, and saturation settings to my liking in case I do share pictures straight out of the camera. Also on occasion, I enjoy shooting in black and white JPEGS.

I also shoot RAW files even though I don’t do drastic edits most of the time. Shooting RAW allows me to save the occasional “whoops” exposures where the camera was not set optimally for a fleeting moment picture. Modern digital camera RAW files allow for an amazing amount of highlight and shadow recovery.

I have many photography friends and the amount and style of editing varies wildly amongst them. Rather than trying to provide an end all be all photo archival/organizational process, which may or may not be helpful, I will present a couple of workflow ideas.

Organizing My Work:

When I started out in digital photography, after years of film, I was astonished how much more quickly you could create so many images. Dumping them into a flat folder structure was fine at first, but as time marched on I quickly realized I had created quite a mess.

Regardless of the editor, I import my pictures into a tiered folder structure. Starting with a “Pictures” folder, then the year (helps me with archival later), followed by a folder with the specific date the images were taken. Under that I create the related export folder.

  • Pictures
    • 2028
      • 20180906
        • Export

When organizing my film photos, I create a folder with the camera name, then a dated folders using the date the photos were scanned and film used followed by an export folder.

  • Pictures
    • Contax 137 MA Quartz
      • 20180906 Lomography 800
        • Export

After my photos are organized I begin my editing process. As mentioned earlier, I tend to do light edits to my taste. Your mileage may vary. I try to stay current with my edits and it has become a part of my nightly ritual if at all possible. It is rare for me to go more than a day or two without completing this process. On the rare occasion I fall behind it does turn to drudgery.

Each photographer has their own style. Each has their own method of processing and organizing photos. Having shared my current flow one of my favorite things about photography is that it is a constant learning process. There is always something to learn. Please share with us any photo editing and processing tips you may have in the comments.

 

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *