Editing matters. It will take your work from not only good but to jaw dropping. With programs like Lightroom and the knowledge on how powerful the tools really are, opening things in Photoshop can be the rarity rather than the necessity. Every image in this post was edited ONLY in Lightroom.
What are the things that separate one artist from another? In large part, it’s their vision and their craft.
Naturally, the way we see the world and the perspectives we shoot from are key elements in how we connect to our clients. Do they love a more direct approach or is it the uniqueness of your style that draws them in. For instance, standing at normal height and shooting gives a vastly different perspective from shooting from the ground or above. Or does the artist use elements of layering in the foreground to set off their story? And of course, are you documentary in nature or do you want to interact with your clients and control the story more? It’s how the artist chooses to demonstrate their vision and what makes our clients fall in love with our work.
The equipment is we choose is a huge element of our personal style. The cameras and especially the lenses we use can cause our viewer to see the world in a new and different way. Apertures and shutter speeds help to draw the viewer in to a specific action or moment. Shooting something with shutter drag creates a completely different story than, say, shooting a portrait with only the tiniest sliver of the image in focus.
And how you edit or “craft” your pieces is, in my opinion, one of the most vital parts of our art form. I recently attended a traveling exhibition of one of my favorite photographer gods, Ansel Adams. What struck me was how people reacted when they looked at each of his stunning photographs and read how much “editing” went into each of his images. It really was a shock and awe moment for a lot of people.
This quote is something I live by whether it is in my fine art work or in the weddings, portraits or commercial work I shoot. Personally, every image that I deliver to my clients meets fine art standards. Naturally that won’t work for every photographer (people tell me I’m a bit of a lunatic) but there are steps you can use to streamline your editing system so you can spend a bit more time on each image and make it breathtaking.
Here are some of the tools and systems that give me more time to craft my images and still turn around my shoots at lightning speed.
- Photomechanic: This sweet little program allows me to cull in no time flat. Then I import only the images I want to edit into Lightroom.
- Lightroom: This is the KEY program for almost everything I do.
- Lightroom Presets: I have created a highly customized Lightroom preset that does so much to my images on import that it leaves me more time to craft my images and still stay timely.
- Lightroom Tools: Vignette tools, Custom Brushes, Graduated Filters and all the other powerful tools in Lightroom give me the same flexibility I had printing in a darkroom. 90% of my images never leave this program. I even do skin retouching here.
- Solid custom export presets so my images go where they need to go. My computer is always working – even when I sleep.
I adore photography. I adore how we have this amazing capability to step into people’s lives and tell their stories, to show how beautiful and special (and for me cinematic) they really are. I want to make it easier for you tell tell your story while setting yourself apart from the pack.
If you’re interested in learning more, I am offering an intimate workshop in Black Mountain, NC just outside of Asheville on February 26-27. We’ll be deep diving into all these topics and learning the power of each of the tools and systems I used to create the images in this post. It’s coming up soon but there are still a few seats available. Check out all the information here.