How I Edit Photos {Columbus Ohio Photography}

My vision for a photograph begins before I've uploaded it into an editing software.  It starts before Ive taken the photo. The best photos are ones that speak to you because the photographer really felt something for the scene in front of them. You can have a technically perfect photo but if the photographer wasn't emotionally invested the photo falls flat. I dig deep to bring on all the feels when I pick up my camera. It's important to me to shoot with heart. For a photo session I'll arrive with specific feelings I want to convey. I'll also take time before a session to box away any distractions I have on my mind so I'm fully invested on the family in front of me. When I'm photographing a family I'll take in the scene and think about the story I want to tell and the feelings I want to convey before taking the shot. I then compose the scene and adjust my manual settings to support my vision. During an In-Home Newborn Photo Shoot I want to create images that are timeless, deeply emotive, and tell a detailed story. I do this by considering largely the light, the settings on my camera, the background, the angles, and then guiding my family into intimate poses from which I draw genuine interactions. I'll adjust my settings to capture romantic silhouettes, expose for the highlights when I want dramatic and contrasty images, and aim my focus on details I want the viewer to see in order to tell a visual story.

When I'm ready to edit I all ready have an idea of how the finished image will look. I'll start by uploading my photo in Lightroom to do a clean edit. This just means making small adjustments in exposure, white balance, saturation, clarity, contrasts and highlights, and cropping. I may just finish the photo with a simple clean edit like the above image. I cropped the image to give a more dramatic focus on her eyelashes which are the focal point of the photo. I then upped the exposure a bit and added some warmth to the white balance to make her skin glow.  In most portraits I'll decrease the clarity on the skin for smooth glowing skin and then add clarity to their eyes and hair to make them shine.

Often though I want to add more dramatic edits. For this I'll move the photo into PhotoShop. This is where I can really get creative. I adore editing and spend a lot of my free time playing in Photoshop. My education background is in Fine Art Painting and working on a photo in PS feels a lot like painting to me. You can make drastic changes to a photo in PS but I keep things pretty simple. My main objective is to enhance the color and light in a photo and remove distracting elements to make the focal point and composition stronger. Like in the image above I was able to remove distracting elements in the background so my daughter has negative space around her which makes that adorable face and big blue eyes a stronger focus.

I will also add Actions to my photo in PS. An Action is a series of tasks that you play on a photo. It adds layers of color, exposure, contrast, etc. with the press of one button. This saves time because photographers will have their own style and often apply similar tasks to photos over and over. When I want to convert a photo to black and white I apply a B&W Action to the photo and then make small adjustments to that Action to suit my photo. I could create the same edited photo without the Action but it saves me a lot of time if I use one. In the above photo I also darkened the background to remove distracting elements.

Some photos require more complex editing than others. In the above photo I knew when I took the photo I would need to add more white space around the plate in order to make it a stronger composition. In PS I used a combination of the Content Aware Fill Tool and the Stamp Tool to add more space which changes the photo drastically. I also upped the exposure, added more sharpness, upped the saturation, and adjusted the white balance.

I did the same thing with the photos above and below. I removed distracting elements and made small adjustments to brightness and color.


The last two photos I used the crop tool in Lightroom to make a stronger composition with the focal point in the center of the photo.  Centering a focal point isn't always the best option. I have found composition to be the hardest part about learning photography. You really have to train your eye to see the world as it would appear in a framed 2D format. To learn more about composition I recommend reading the book The Photographer's Eye by Michal Freeman HERE .

When you hire me to photograph your family I will spend hours editing your photos. I'll make sure everyone looks their best with glowing skin, sparkly eyes, and strong compositions for artistic family photographs. Ready to book your family or newborn photo session! Make sure you get on my summer or fall schedule.