How I edit my photos!

THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END!! But you know, read this so you can learn how to photoshop your way out of the apocalypse. Well not really, but at least you'll (hopefully) learn something about editing and at the very least you'll see how I do my edits. I've posted twice in a week, don't get too attached however, who know's if it'll happen again anytime soon. Also, since quite a few people have subscribed, I may end up doing a bit of a giveaway. 

Thanks for stopping by and to those that have subscribed, GO 'HEAD WITH YA BAD SELF! 

I'm by no means a pro at post processing images. I am relatively new to it in fact, but I have found that most of my images contain a certain look/feel to them. I'm not sure what I would say that is, but if you look at my photos, they all tend to have a similar quality.

Here I'm going to talk you through my editing process of this image.

This is an image that shot a few days ago while I linked up with Amanda for brunch and to take some photos of her. For a long time now, I've been wanting to take her photo and it just so happened that this past Sunday was the day I got to shoot her.

So what I wanted to get from this image was the feel of it being an ad for the glasses. I had recently received the glasses as a gift and I thought they were cool. I didn't go into the shoot with this in mind, but it just so happened that that's what happened. 

Now I went to look at the brand's website and see some of their ads and I got the overall feeling of summer/lifestyle/warm tones. So here is the image SOOC and the parts that I've circled are the parts that I felt needed some touch ups right away.

The portions I felt needed a bit of touch up has been highlighted in red.

I felt that her hair was too "fluffy" for lack of a better term, her chin (really as per her request haha) need to be lifted a slight bit and the blemishes on her face could be smoothed out. In terms of making adjustments to her body and anything else, in my eyes, nothing else needed to be done.

Then I moved on to what I wanted to achieve and that was a more vibrant combination of tones to bring about that summery feel. 

Result after the touch ups were finished.

My workflow isn't something I've figured out 100% as of yet. For this image what I did was after importing the photo into Lightroom, I made only slight adjustments. I fiddled around with the highlights, shadows, vibrance, saturation and increased the contrast a small amount. That's it.

After that I exported to Photoshop and this is where I'd say I've developed somewhat of a workflow. The first thing I do in Photoshop after I import the image from Lightroom is to open up the curves adjustment layer, hue/saturation and colour balance. Now, before this image I would first open up the levels adjustment, but Carlton (the person I assist on shoots) informed me of something.

Levels is generally only good for black and white images. For colour images it is the worst thing you could do. The reasoning is that when you use levels you're essentially resetting what photoshop sees as black and white and you basically are throwing away data. Not only that, with levels you have only 2 options, left or right to increase or decrease the lights and darks. Curves is a far better thing to use because of the flexibility that it innately has. With curves you can manipulate all the various channels with millimetric precision.

So now I don't use levels, instead I use curves for adjust my darks and lights. That being said, this is my setting for curves and the result image it produced.

In the next image, you'll see that I went ahead and smoothed out her skin and fixed her hair. There are a few dozen ways to do this and personally, I would recommend learning all the ways because each way (in my opinion) affects each image differently. 

For this image I used a basic method and that is to get the brush tool and sample colours from her face and brush around the area. I changed my brush flow to around 5% and the opacity to around 70% so that I could get some of the texture back.

To fix her hair I used the liquify tool. There isn't much to say about this because using the liquify tool is trial and error until you get the results you want. I'd suggest learning it inside and out.

So far not a big difference, but what I did was, I added some blues into the shadows and some yellows into the highlights using the blue channel to control just those aspects. I then switched to the green channel and I added a slight bit of red into the shadows as well.

Next up, I went to the colour balance layer and since I used curves to add some blues to the shadows, I won't touch the shadows in this layer. Normally I would use this step to add a bit more blue's to the shadow. Instead, I added blues to the mid tones and a hint of red followed by adding some cyan and yellow to the highlights.

This was the resulting image after these adjustments were made.

At this point the image is pretty much set up, but I felt something was missing so I opened up the hue/saturation layer and I didn't do much. All that was done was increase the saturation a little and as far as adjustments go, that was it.

I loved the image I had just created, but I still think something was missing. So I went and looked at adverts for Carrera Sunglasses and went back to my image still trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I couldn't figure out what else I wanted to do because I didn't want to overdo it. I decided to try a variety of things and then decided to do something I always do on all my other images. I added a gradient layer. 

What I love about gradients is that I can use it for its namesake. I can make light gradually fall off in any way I feel like. I used a linear gradient and selected colours within my image as my two colours. I took blues from the dress and yellows from her skin as this was about the only yellow in the image.  

After I had my gradient I changed my blending mode to lighten and changed my opacity and fill to 31% and 71% respectively.

The last thing I did was group my adjustment layers into 1 group. I then placed the gradient layer under the adjustment layers so that those effects could affect the gradient as well. My reasoning behind this was; since the gradient had the same colours that I affected in my curves, hue/saturation and colour balance it would have a similar effect. 

Then the final image is this.

I added the branding since, well I could and I wanted to show that I was creating an ad for Carrera Eyewear.

Well, that's all folks!

I hope you liked this view into how I edited this image. It wasn't that elaborate and usually isn't that simple to achieve a certain look. The editing was relatively easy because I achieved the shot I wanted in camera and that made the editing process so much easier.