After finishing a session (which depending on the subject, can be difficult in itself), comes the daunting task of editing my images. Also called the “digital darkroom” editing photos at my desk can be a long gruelling task. Rewarding however, when you see your final image.
When it comes to my own editing style, I like to keep things as fresh and natural as possible. With the exception of a few clients who want some extra editing attention, I don’t like to change too much of what makes them who they are.
I always start in Camera Raw, first balancing my histogram, reducing the extreme brights, and lack lustre blacks. I then do a quick check and tweak on my white balance (if needed), and send my image over to Photoshop.
Here, I start by cropping my image to where I need it. In my example photo above, I cropped it to place the girls right eye on the top right cross-hairs of the frame to adhere to the “rule of thirds” – essentially, when this rule is used, you get a more eye-appealing photo. If you keep this one thing in mind, you’ll improve even your cell-phone photos. I almost do it without thinking now. I missed the mark a tad when shooting this image, so I decided to crop it slightly.
I then apply a slight curve to my images, giving them an added brightness, richness and contrast kick. …sometimes I “paint” a little more light into some dark areas around the eyes or in shadowy areas.
Dodge and Burn baby! Dodging a photo intensifies highlights, and Burning – well, “burns” the shadows…think of this step as “selective contrasting” if that makes any sense. I specifically do this to the eyes. I dodge the catch-light and iris, and burn the pupil, the iris and the lashes. Dodging and burning also helps add extra texture to hair, and accentuates high and low lights. Dodging the background adds depth and texture.
Lastly, I add a vibrance layer to slightly boost colour, sharpen the photo, and save. 🙂