of Adobe’s Creative Suite! I made my own logo, I taught myself how to shoot manually within a year and I created a little blog to really give my business a BOOST! (haha oh how embarrassing!) …. It seemed like I had it all together… and in some areas, I did…. kinda. But it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows. I didn’t get where I am today by floating on the clouds… it was hard. Very hard. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have a “business mentor” or ANY business training and so I learned from trial and error…. which means that I FAILED a lot. Failure is necessary for growth and I believe that wholeheartedly but that’s for another blog post! Today I just want to remind newer photographers that this takes TIME. My blogging style, my brand, my editing style…. NONE of it happened overnight….. ESPECIALLY not my EDITING STYLE!!
So many photographers ask me “Well how can I edit to make my pictures look bright like yours?” and they get frustrated when I say “Well, I mainly use Lightroom… and I’ve spent three years learning what works for me and I just repeat it over and over”. They want a quick fix and a “easy” button for editing… and while that would be nice, it would be detrimental. Why? Because finding your “style” is a process…. you can’t just make something YOUR STYLE overnight…. it’s a gradual learning curve. If I sat down with a photographer during my first year and said “show me how to edit like you edit” and then just replicated that over and over…. I would be a “mini-me” of that photographer. Instead, I learned the hard way. I went through phases of over-editing…. I went through phases of not understanding white balance… and I went through phases when I just desperately wanted to email my favorite photographers and say “Can you just teach me to do what YOU do?! Please?! I’m tired of this!!!”. But luckily, I kept going. I kept trying new things and playing with EVERY dial that Lightroom had to offer and I started to understand how certain controls would change an image. Eventually I began to notice a pattern in my editing and I liked it…. so I kept exploring.
After two years I came to a point where I knew MY STYLE and I was confident in it. Am I still learning?! Yes! Daily! But I’m learning through EXPERIENCE…. not by copying and pasting another photographer’s presets. So am I mad that new photographers have QUESTIONS and use PRESETS?! Heck no!!! I once was that photographer with questions and I started with actions before I knew what I was doing in Lightroom!! I understand that new photographers NEED advice and guidance from those that are more experienced. However, when it comes to editing and the growth of one’s business…. I just want to remind photographers that it takes TIME and PRACTICE… SO much practice!! And it would be harmful to you if you decide to just take the easy route. I can look back at weddings just one year ago and think “Oh my blacks were too heavy…. my highlights were blown…. that image is too “magenta-y”…. and today, I would know how to fix those issues because I’m learning the BASICS of editing, not throwing a bunch of actions on a image and just hoping it helps. I PROMISE you… if you learn the BASICS of editing instead of just purchasing a bunch of Actions or presets… you will save yourself TIME and FRUSTRATION down the road!
So here’s my advice to the new photographer who is struggling with editing:
- Relax, you’re in control of this and you WILL find your style and master it!
- When you get overwhelmed, walk away and start over 10 minutes later. If you stare at one image for more than 10 minutes you may start to over edit and then all of a sudden you realize “Ew! What have I done?!” . It’s ok to take a break and some back with a fresh set of eyes!
- Almost everything that you can accomplish with actions in Photoshop, you can accomplish in Lightroom. Play with the dials and sliders and LEARN how curves, contrast, shadows, highlights and blacks affect the look of your images.
- When you find an image that you LOVE and then edit it masterfully (is that a word?)… SAVE it in a “My Style” folder and study it! Why do you love that image? Is it the color that draws you in? Is it the Depth of Field? Is it the Light? Figure out what makes you love that image so much and start replicating that. Eventually, you will start to see more and more images in that Style folder and they will become more consistent!
- Remember that editing is just for ENHANCING… not SAVING. If an image in not so hott IN CAMERA… you can’t edit it to death and make it a masterpiece. Never allow editing to become a crutch! When you start to get great shots SOOC, editing will become easier and easier and easier!!