I’m hoping to start a new series based solely on editing. While I use Lightroom, what I do is usually basic editing and can be done in any program of your choosing. When I first started photo editing, I used Picasa (which is no longer a desktop app), moved to Aperture, and finally settled on Lightroom (which I love). My goal is to show you images straight from the camera vs images that have had a few edits (or major edits done) to them along with what changed.
So without further ado, I give you: Pancakes.
As you can see, one of the biggest changes I made was in the overall color of the photo. Growing up with a father who worked as a pressman, I’ve come to realize the importance of perfect color balancing. You want your photos to have a certain amount of warmth to them (sometimes I push it to the warm extreme, but it’s all about your personal style). I also tend to go warmer with my photos when I’m using a wood background, creating that homey and rustic feeling. Getting the green/magenta just right is also key- photos that look too pink or too green can look unappealing. The more you practice, the more you can pull out colors in photos and change exactly what you want (and there are more options for color balance, I’m going simple for right now.)
I also boosted the contrast to darken the left side and help pull the pancakes out just a bit more (with help also from dropping the black slider). I like to have a good amount of light/dark in photos- I think it helps bring out the content even more for a dramatic effect. I also dropped the highlight to help bring the right side of the pancakes better into view and less blown out (it’s easy for the light side to get blown out, especially if it’s a lighter color- whites can be especially tricky!)
There are, of course, more things I could do to this photo but I try and not make the photo look completely over-edited. I’m hoping this series can show that with a few key changes, your photos can really come alive. However, in order for editing to work, you need a good foundation to start with. I always think that I want to be happy with the photo that comes from my camera and I want to improve upon it just a touch when it goes into editing.