The process for editing my photos is actually pretty simple, and I'm by no means a post-production wizard so everything I do is trial and error. I don't have any saved presets or filters that I use, I just tweak little bits as I go along for each set of photos, and try and work towards a final aesthetic which I like for all of my photos - warmer tones, higher contrast, and an unashamedly enhanced tan for myself. An editing expert I am not, but I thought it might be useful for those who are new to Lightroom or are considering subscribing to it to see what changes I routinely make, and why.
Speaking of Lightroom, this is absolutely the programme I would recommend for editing your imagery. I used to use exclusively Photoshop, but the process was quite long-winded and Lightroom allows for more fine tuning in terms of colour and light in a much easier and more accessible way (in my opinion, of course). If you've never used any of the Adobe software before then you can opt in for a 7 day free trial without the need for a credit card, just to give yourself a few days to explore and get to grips with the interface. Bear in mind that whilst Photoshop and Lightroom can seem a little daunting to begin with, the possibilities they open up in terms of achieving the aesthetic you want means they're both well worth investing some time into learning. And as with everything, learning is a process. I currently use only a fraction of the available tools, so every day is a school day.
As I mentioned before, my editing is fairly minimal, and as of late I've been focusing on enhancing warmer tones, deepening shadows and sharpening the finished image. You'll see that the outfit shots I've used for this post are significantly more orange-toned and saturated than the other examples below, and that's testament to the fact that I'm always changing my mind. I don't have a pre-configured Instagram feed or set style that I adamantly stick to, which means I've been through more editing phases than a teenager on MySpace. This includes classic like (click for funsies) overexposure, dark and moody, amped up blue tones, going crazy with FaceTune's whitening tool and, who can forget, the white wall of dreams. Moral of the story: experiment with your editing and have fun with it. You'll probably end up changing your mind anyway.
(FYI, all of these images were shot on my Canon 5D Mark iii, the likes of which you can find more information on here.)
These were shot at about 2pm after it had been raining in the morning, and I just wanted to capture some quick pictures for this post and for Instagram so Keir and I didn't need to stray too far from the house. The road and pavement were damp and had that horrible green tinge that comes with mossy concrete, so I did my best to tone down the blue and green tones, and, as you can see, went hard on enhancing my tan and giving the finished result a little more vibrancy. I also patched out the blue bin in the background (albeit not well, because I was rushing), because bins in the background are never cute. Upping the orange tones in Lightroom now saved me the job of popping on a VSCO filter once I had transferred all the images across to my phone, and if you were wondering, C7 is the filter I've been relying on for those enhanced colours.
Split Toning (Highlights)
Split Toning (Shadows)
Export as JPG, open in Photoshop, Smart Sharpen and resize
This is my go-to outfit spot and my favourite location in Ipswich to shoot at. I love stonework and architectural lines in the background of photos, and the neutral colour of the building means that when the image is lightened, all of the tones seem to lift harmoniously together. Again, as you can see, I prefer to shoot a little dark and then lighten where I want to, and again with this set of photos, I've made an effort to up the overall warmth and draw out those orange and yellow tones. I've also cropped in a little closer, just to bring more attention to the outfit as opposed to the space around me.
Export as JPG, open in Photoshop, Smart Sharpen and Resize
I shot this outfit back in November, and you can see that I hadn't quite yet become so obsessed with vibrant orange tones at this point. This leans towards a more neutral style of editing, where I just wanted to brighten the exposure and deepen a few shadows, not really attempting to alter the appearance of any colours and instead trying to present them as true to real life as possible. Again, I've shot pretty dark and lifted most things in post-production. Although I don't have an Instagram "theme" as such, I do prefer more neutral backgrounds in the way of stone buildings, shop windows or streets, often because my outfits are fairly neutral, but also because then there are less competing colours in the image. I want everything to flow in a sandy-coloured whisper. I also love road markings, which is why you'll often see me standing on a curb somewhere or venturing out into the middle of the street, narrowly missing bus drivers as I chase that ever-elusive perfect walking shot.
Export as JPG, open in Photoshop, Smart Sharpen and Resize
Hopefully that was ever so slightly helpful for some of you, and if you have any questions at all, as always, pop a comment down below or come and find me over on social @chloeplumstead on Twitter and Instagram. As a second phase I'll be uploading a 'How I Edit My Instagram Photos' post, which will demonstrate in a little more detail how I use VSCO and Lightroom to amp up my iPhone photos before pushing them live on Instagram. It's a slightly more long-winded post because I cycle through different apps at different times, but if you have any specific questions you'd like me to answer, again, just give me a shout!
As a side note, I just wanted to confirm that no, you aren't going crazy - I haven't been uploading every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as I did before Christmas. Having a few weeks off over the festive period was great and all, but man, this January slump is real. I'm pushing through and getting bits done regardless, but my creativity is feeling a little stunted at the moment, so give me the weekend to meditate on it and I pinky-promise that I'll come at you on Monday with something saucy and wonderful.
Until then, have a good one lovelies. x
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