Untitled photo

July 6, 2020 1:55pm

by: Jose Izquierdo New York, NY

“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” - Robert Frank

When it comes to the editing photos it can be a little bit overwhelming. During this quarantine I’ve spent a lot time learning a new techniques and ways of simplifying my workflow. You may ask what are you talking about? So I’m going to put it as simple as possible  to get your feet wet and understand editing better. First of all I must clarify that I’m a self though photographer and editor so you can disagree with me and you may be right I won't argue with you. I haven’t had a good structure of learning to begin with. I’ve picked things here and there and experimented a lot!

For me, it all started when I went to college. I was in a marketing class and we were assigned a special project. We had to create a (hypothetical) new line of products for an existing product so I came up with the idea of doing a tropical fruit flavored yogurt line from a famous yogurt brand (ends with ..non). When I was faced with creating the labels for the products of course I researched Adobe Photoshop software and how to use. I then talked to my brother and he suggested to download a trail version and experiment with it which I did. The end product was a print of 5 different labels that I glued to the yogurt containers and that got me an A+. Fast forward to a few years later when I decided to start in my photography journey I quickly realized that I needed to learn and master this overwhelming amazing software.

All of Adobe’s softwares work as a cohesive unite one exists for the other. So let’s begin with Lightroom. The first thing I learned is that Lightroom edits Raw images so after you take your SD Card out of your camera, import your photos to Lightroom (simple right??). Make albums catalogs and collections doing this helps the software run faster and more efficient. It is imperative to be organized. Start with using the Auto tool and see if you like what happened to your photo, see how that looks and if you don’t like it use one of their Presets and then modifying the Exposure and the Contrast the simplest way to manipulate light. Once you’re happy with it move one to the Highlights and Shadows. I’m a big fan of low Highlights and little touch of Shadows but it’s very up to you.

Move on to fixing the colors, saturate, desaturate, add light to the color tones, be playful. I’m a big fan of colors popping on my images but you may not be, do whatever makes you happy there's no wrong here, you're the artist. Now days we have Retina Displays and HDMI screens that do colors all the justice. You can play with the texture, clarity, dehaze bars and discover a new world of lines, textures and dimensions you can add Vignettes and Grain to finish this up, sky is the limit. The most  important thing is to experiment. Make sure to save your experiments as Presets so that you can use on a new image and fix minimal things like exposure and highlights and give them fun names.

Once you’re happy with your image, comes the fun part “Edit in Photoshop” doing this will send your image to PS to be edited at full size. This is when retouching starts. Fix blemishes and simple obvious things in the image that are distracting like gum on the floor or a hair on the face. I like to sharpen the eyes with the sharpening tool and the mouth are because those are the main focus areas as soon as you see the image. After that make a copy that first layer called Background (this is done so you can always start over if something went wrong and your image will be intact.

One thing you should know is that there are many ways of achieving the same results in Photoshop as they say: “there’s many ways to skin a cat”. Write this here and encourage you to find the best way that works for you to edit your photos. There are so many masters of PS out there making videos, selling curses online, tutoring one on one, even schools. The best way to find a method that works is to try.

One guy who I enjoy learning from is Unmesh Dinda from PiXimperfect.com this guy is funny and knowledgeable at the same time he gives you different situations and ways to fix them and always adds a twist to the process.

Something you must know is that there’s actions and plugins you can install and incorporate to your workflow to make it easier. Most of those plugins you’ll have to pay for but in the end will accelerate your process by 10 times, however I do recommend that you take the time and learn how the technique is done before you start to use them (eg: Dodge & Burn / Frequency Separation/ Luminosity). These are concepts that you’re going to be hearing a lot about and it’s best to learn them from scratch. The last tip I will share with you is to give your image layers of texture. You want to feel like reality from beginning to end. Make the background blur a little, give the image separation and realism, lights in the back. Finish with some dust or smoke. Take your time and experiment, have fun while you're doing it. You will see that it is going to be worth it at the end. If it doesn't work then you can always go back and start over. Good Luck with your editing!

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